Programs to help reduce local school suspensions

Oakland Mediation Center (OMC) is excited to announce the schools selected to receive Peers Making Peace program in the upcoming school year.  They are:  Schoolcraft Elementary School in Waterford, Auburn Elementary School in Auburn Hills and Oak Park Preparatory School in Oak Park.  OMC received funding from the Joshua & Eunice Stone Foundation, The Village Club Foundation, and Staples Foundation to implement Peers Making Peace in Oakland County Schools. OMC is also contributing funds through its Fund Development Committee fundraising activities so that three schools can participate.

Peers Making Peace (PMP) is an award winning and widely recognized school based peer mediation program. OMC is the only entity credentialed in Michigan to train school staff in PMP. This program is proven to equip students with the skills to resolve their own disputes; reduce staff time spent on discipline; prevent escalation of conflict; and improve school climate.

Peer mediation programs train students as neutral third parties to intervene and assist other students in the resolution and management of interpersonal disputes. The mediators encourage their peers to explore issues systematically and to do problem solving collaboratively. The goal of mediation is to give students an opportunity to resolve the conflict at hand and strategies to handle similar problems in the future with their peers rather than to have an adult solve their problems for them. Peer mediation programs “have the potential to improve learning climates that ultimately could raise national test scores,” according to Conflict Resolution Quarterly (21/1, 7-25) 

Program outcomes include:

• Assaults decreased by 90.2% in PMP schools, while increasing by 33% in control schools.
• Discipline referrals decreased by 57.7% in PMP schools, but increased by 8.4% in control schools.
• Expulsions decreased by 73% in PMP schools, but increased by 6.2% in control schools.

All Oakland County schools were invited to apply by outlining their goals, dedicated resources, staff time and agreed to roles and responsibilities and commitments so the programs are implemented with fidelity.

“At a time when we are sadly seeing “school to prison pipelines” it is important to OMC’s mission to find ways to keep kids in school and out of jail” said Bonnie Hanes, OMC executive director. “PMP is just one of several program offerings that address this issue at OMC.”

For additional information, contact the OMC training department at 248-338-4280, ext. 216.