Everyone deals with conflicts at some point in their life. Their consequences, whether positive or negative, can affect your personal relationship between peers, friends, and even family. With the abundance of students here at North Point High School, conflict is inevitable.
Luckily, the Peer Mediation program is being offered to North Point students this year. The program helps students find peaceful ways to solve their problems before they can get any bigger. Dr. Ford is the Peer Mediation Coordinator. She sponsored the club at other schools before she came to North Point. “It was very valuable in my other schools. I’ve been a sponsor for over 10 years and I’ve seen how valuable it has become. I believe that this can make a difference at North Point.”
A mediator is a person who is trained to help disputants solve their problems. In order to become a peer mediator, North Point students in grades 10- 12 had to apply for mediator positions. Once the applicants are accepted into positions, they begin an extensive training workshop that qualifies them to become peer mediators.
“I decided to join peer mediation because it is something that I have always wanted to do. I like giving advice and being someone that people can go to for advice”, says Erica Adedeji (’12). “Peer mediation can help students by giving them a chance to make peaceful resolutions, and by showing them that life is too short to waste time and energy over things that can be solved peacefully.”
Joshua Looney (’13), expressed his interest in joining peer mediation as well. “I’ve always liked to help people. It makes me feel good to know that people aren’t fighting.” Andrew Wallace (’11), who is also a peer mediator, says that it is important to have peer mediators because “they can settle disputes, and allow students to have a peaceful learning environment.”
Amber Johnson (’12) has her own advice for students dealing with a conflict. “Look at the conflict from the perspective of the other person, and try to understand how the person feels, and why they feel the way that they do.
Some North Point students have already shown optimism for the new organization. “I think that the new peer mediation club is a great idea! Students have so much going on in school, not only with education, but personal conflicts and it’s nice to be able to have somebody to talk to, somebody you can trust,” says Irene Nolan (’11). “Other students can be there to help cheer you up. It’s nice to be encouraged, so I’m pretty sure this club will be very effective.”
Songheng Hong (’13), believes that North Point should have peer mediation because “whether they be big or small, everyone has problems and some people need help getting through them. Peer mediation allows students with problems to get the help they need. Fewer problems equal happier students.” Hong also said, “I would consider [going to] peer mediation if I had a conflict so that I could see the different perspectives of a story. In most cases, not everyone gets to share their side of the story and nothing gets solved, yet in peer mediation, everyone gets heard and you get an outside perspective which you may have never even considered.”