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Suggested Activities: Violence Prevention

Activity Peer Mediation Role-plays

Time of Year
  • April – SADD Calendar
  • April – National Youth Violence Prevention Week
  • Any time of year

Summary The mediation process provides a way for people to resolve their disagreements before either party resorts to violence.

Objective

To provide students with the skills to avoid resorting to violence by using mediation instead


Suggested Activities Violence Prevention


Ever since you wouldn’t let your classmate copy the answers to your math test, she has been writing threatening e-mails to you and spreading rumors about you to your friends. It’s been two weeks and you’re tired of putting up with it. You start spreading rumors about her and pranking her cell phone. The next day, she’s waiting for you after school, ready to fight.

Did the situation have to come to this? Will fighting solve anything? What could have happened instead?

Unfortunately, every day people choose to use violence as an answer to their anger and frustration. But there are plenty of alternatives to solving problems that do not require violence. They require talking, listening, understanding, and mediation.

Mediation involves solving a dispute through peaceful means. This can be done between the two people (or two groups of people) faced with the conflict, or a mediator can handle the mediation. A mediator is a neutral person who can help both sides resolve their differences fairly and peacefully.

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, mediation has helped to reduce violence in neighborhoods and schools. Using peers as mediators – a process known as peer mediation – is a popular way to handle conflicts and prevent violence in middle schools and high schools. Schools recruit and train students interested in peer mediation. Guidance counselors or other trained professionals teach the young mediators how to listen to both sides of an argument, offer unbiased impressions, and help students in conflict find a workable solution to their problem.

For more information about becoming a peer mediator and mediator training, visit the National Association of Peer Programs Web site at www.peerhelping.org or the National Crime Prevention Council at www.ncpc.org.

SADD encourages you to establish a peer mediation group at your school to help deal with conflicts before they escalate into violence. Use the tips and scenarios in the following pages to help classmates see what it takes to be peer mediators.

What to Do

  1. Photocopy and distribute the Six Steps to Mediation.
  2. Read with the group and discuss.
  3. Once the group is comfortable, divide students into small groups of three.
  4. Distribute the role-plays and have students present their skits to the group once they have practiced.

Six Steps to Mediation

Mediation can be divided into a six-step process.

  1. Introduction
    • The mediator should make the parties feel at ease and explain the ground rules.

    • The mediator’s role is not to make a decision but to help the parties reach agreement.

    • The mediator explains that he or she will not take sides.

  2. Telling the Story
    • Each party is given an opportunity to tell his or her version of what happened. No interruptions are allowed.

    • The other party then explains his or her version of the facts. Again, no interruptions are allowed.

    • Any of the participants may take notes during the process.

    • The mediator’s notes are destroyed at the end of the process to ensure confidentiality.

  3. Identifying Facts, Issues, and Interests
    • Next the mediator attempts to identify any agreed upon facts and issues and the items that are important to each person.

    • The mediator listens to each side, summarizes each party’s view, and checks to make sure that each party understands the other’s view. This is a key element. Understanding is the key to resolving conflict.

  4. Identifying Alternative Solutions
    • During this step, the participants (with help from the mediator) think of all the possible solutions to their problem. Because the opposing sides of the dispute probably arrived at the mediation session with a desired outcome in mind, it is often difficult for them to consider other options.

    • The mediator makes a list of solutions and asks each party to explain his or her feelings about each one.

  5. Revising and Discussing Solutions
    On the basis of feelings expressed by each party, the mediator revises the list of possible solutions and tries to identify a solution that both parties agree to.

  6. Reaching an Agreement
    • The mediator helps the parties reach an agreement by choosing a solution that has been discussed and that both parties accept.

    • The agreement should be put in writing.

    • The written agreement should be as specific as possible, stating exactly what each party has agreed to do and when he or she will do it.

    • The agreement should also explain what will happen if either disputant breaks the agreement.

    • Once it is finalized, the agreement is signed by both parties.

Ready to put the information from the six steps to the test?

Work with at least two other classmates to peacefully mediate solutions. One student plays the role of mediator and the other two are the students in conflict. Use the six-step mediation process for the following scenarios.

  1. That’s my girlfriend/boyfriend!
    Two teenagers found out they are both dating the same person. Both are angry and upset at the other person and demand that the other break up with the boyfriend/girlfriend. Neither one wants to budge. How can this conflict be resolved peacefully?

  2. Give that back!
    Lisa lets Carly borrow money to buy lunch, but Carly refuses to pay Lisa back. In retaliation, Lisa steals Carly’s cell phone out of her locker. How can Lisa and Carly reach a peaceful end to their problem?

  3. I’m the starting quarterback!
    Shawn was the starting quarterback for his football team, but he was benched for a game after he was caught drinking at a party. Anthony, the backup quarterback, played a great game in Shawn’s place and is now the starting quarterback. Shawn has turned the entire team against Anthony and has threatened to fight Anthony unless he quits the team. What can be done to end this conflict before it turns violent?

  4. The class president is going to be me!
    Robert is running for class president against Stephanie, who has been class president for the past two years. Robert is more of a competitive threat than Stephanie thought, so she rips down his posters. Robert retaliates by starting rumors about Stephanie. The election is getting out of control. How can this situation be resolved?

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