Fostering friendships, not fights, at Forest

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Tia Walker said that being a mediator requires a lot of patience. In her role, she must listen carefully to both sides, while making sure that the two students in conflict don’t interrupt each other.

Sophie Longid noted that the two students often come in to a conflict resolution session blaming each other for the fight, so as a mediator she has to help them work past those feelings.

Jackson said that she and other staff members in the building still intervene in situations when necessary, especially if a student is unresponsive to the solutions offered in a peer mediation session.

She said the overall goal of the program is promote District 30’s emphasis on social and emotional health, where students learn to regulate their emotions and solve their own problems, while also recognizing when they need a third party to step in. These are valuable skills to have, she said, as they head off to junior high school.

“I believe it’s been a success,” she said of the program. “It’s creating a safer environment and a supportive environment. We like to talk about treating each other with respect.”

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