New Peer Mediation Program at RB

Quinn Palermo, Copy Editor

This year at Riverside Brookfield High School has seen many new programs implemented to encourage school unity after not being able to see one another for a year and a half. At the school level, there’s the restorative justice program; students and teachers spend time in class to establish treatment agreements and suggest ways to make this year easier for everyone. At the student-to-student level, there’s the peer mediation program.

“We did a training course about how to mediate situations that students have with each other, and we learned how to be neutral and help students come to conclusions by themselves,” senior Madeline Janis said.

The program is designed to help students settle small disputes and give them the ability to resolve it without involving deans. 

“It’s more of a student-to-student thing, it’s more of ‘let’s just let the student solve it and have another student help guide them’ but it’s not something that you would do for really big stuff. The deans step in for that; it’s more just everyday name calling and not quite bullying but harassment,” Matt Agnew said, a senior participant.  

Students are called down to the counselors office in order to help mediate using skills they had learned during their training.

“When students have a disagreement, counselors ask them if they both want to work out the situation and then one of the mediators will get called into the counselors office and then we basically have both parties state their side of the story. We come to an agreement on how they should work it out. We’re supposed to stay neutral in that situation though, and we just let them work out their situation,” Janis said. 

Students were chosen to participate in this program last year by Ms. Tappert.

“I was actually contacted through email. So I got an email like last year, probably around April. I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into since there were only like 13 other people who did it, But it seemed interesting so I agreed to do it,” Agnew said.

Training took place at the beginning of the school year during the school day.

“We did some roleplay and stuff, and pretty much talked about what peer mediation really is. I honestly didn’t know much about what it was until I actually went to the course they gave us this booklet about it. I thought it was a pretty good way to solve conflict without having to actually tell them what’s going to happen and let them solve it themselves,” Agnew said. 

Ideally, these skills won’t have to be put into practice anytime soon; but it is nice to know that students are prepared to deal with it.

“I think I’ll have to use my peer mediation skills once or twice at most, I don’t think it’s a too common occurrence where the fights get that bad,” Janis said. 

Agnew shares Janis’s sentiments. 

“I haven’t had to use [my skills] yet, but hopefully soon in the future,” Agnew said.