Restorative mediation is a successful alternative to punitive disciplinary measures such as suspension and expulsion. Mediation can be helpful in resolving disputes between students, school staff and students and families.
Conflict Resolution Center uses trained neutrals who are qualified under Minnesota law to provide services to organizations, both public and private, as well as to individuals.
A Proactive Approach
We understand that students, teachers, and administrators face increasingly complex issues in our fast-paced world. Our aim is to help participants understand and resolve relational and practical questions before conflict escalates and becomes a disciplinary or legal matter.
The Process and Promise of Mediation
Mediation provides a safe environment for students to work through sensitive issues in an open and honest way. In mediation, each person has a voice at the table, and is able to own any agreement that is reached. Our goal is to enhance self-determination and responsibility for everyone involved.
Issues Appropriate for Mediation:
Attendance Issues: Mediation is often an effective way to discuss and understand the “why” of a student’s attendance gaps, as well as a means of deciding how to formulate a plan for meeting appropriate attendance goals.
Students Facing Suspension or Expulsion:
Mediation can help arrive at alternatives to suspending or expelling students by establishing expectations and consequences that will help them stay in school.
Mediation can provide ways to discuss relationships between students, between students and staff, or among families.
Conflict Resolution Center provides peacekeeping circles for students ages 11-18. Participants develop the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual habits of peacemaking. The circle process has helped students to shift old patterns that have become reflected in interactions outside the circle. Circles are an alternative process of communication, based on traditional discussion and healing practices of aboriginal peoples throughout the world. Circles bring people together in a way that creates trust, respect, intimacy, good will, belonging, generosity, mutuality and reciprocity. While circles have been adapted for many communities and have been adapted to serve many purposes, they share essential features:
- everyone in the circle is equal and has equal opportunity to speak,
- decisions are made by consensus, and
- Everyone agrees to abide by guidelines established by the group based on shared values, in order to work toward a common goal.
Circles intentionally create a sacred space that lifts barriers between students, opening fresh possibilities for connection, collaboration and mutual understanding. Circles are culturally sensitive, open and close with words of reflection, and include activities that help people to be fully present in the circle. Circles are a way of being together that bring individual and collective empowerment. Circles generally have two “keepers.” They guide the participants and keep the circle as a safe space.
Conflict Resolution Instruction for School Staff and Teachers
Conflict Resolution Center staff and volunteer mediators offer a variety of customized training options to schools.
A sample training might include the following:
PART I: What is Conflict?
· How you view conflict
· Conflict “test”
· Five Methods People Use to Deal with Conflict
· What kinds of conflict do you encounter in your work?
PART II: Skills to resolve conflict
· Active Listening (exercise)
· Discovering Positions/Interests – The Anatomy of a Dispute
PART III: Role plays and Coaching
PART IV: Reducing anger and when you need outside help
· Strategies for Dealing with Negative Emotions
· De-escalation (handout)
— When to know that face-to-face conflict management has begun
— How do you refer someone to mediation?
— What are the components of the process?
For more information, contact CRC at 612-822-9883.