Bobcat Peer Mediators is a proactive group of fourth-grade students at Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary who underwent a month-long training program with School Counselor Lisa Blackmore to learn about confidential processes for resolving conflicts among their peers. Peer Mediation is a voluntary process in which students train as neutral third parties. This helps prepare them to peaceably resolve conflicts by getting clear about their concerns, better understanding one another, and working to come to a mutual agreement about how they want to handle their issue.
Initially developed by previous school Social Worker Heather Smith, the program was revived under the encouragement of Principal Dr. Donna Henry this past summer. Peer mediation is valued because it offers significant strategies for critical thinking and productive problem-solving solving which fosters an empowered sense of self in students and promotes responsibility and leadership. Peer mediation also allows students to contribute to their overall school culture by helping to create a more respectful and safe learning environment.
Conflicts are typical among students and are an inevitable part of the human experience. Using peer mediation tactics has proven to be an effective way for schools to decrease misconduct and empower students to better deal with difficult situations. The peer mediator process can help students begin to understand conflict and to see it as an opportunity for growth and learning rather than use their frustration in unproductive ways.
“Dr. Henry and I believe that this is the kind of educational innovation and commitment from our students that promotes change and is the key to building healthy relationships,” said Blackmore. “We also think that it is important because it directly speaks to positive behavioral interventions and support (PBIS)”.
Pictured above from right to left: Demonte W. C., Raquel W., Ka Siyah O., Phoebe T., Noah F., and Makenna L.


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