CITY OF ARVADA, CO
Mayor Robert G. Frie

PEER MEDIATION PROGRAM

1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.

The basic structure of the program was established after several conflicts between students led to physical violence. When these incidents were presented to the school administration, counselors, teachers, and the School Resource Officer, they established the need for peer mediation as a way to resolve the conflict. Their recommendation for peer mediation went to a department chairperson, Sue McCabe, for coordination of the mediation process between student mediators and the students with the conflict. The mediation was then arranged with the "disputants," the coordinator, and the mediator(s). The results would provide the disputants with a signed agreement they both would follow, with a scheduled review to see if the agreement was working or if adjustments needed to be made. If no agreement was reached between the disputants, the conflict was referred back to the school administration for resolution.

Mediators were chosen to represent all aspects of the student body - males, females, and all grade levels. Twelve students received training to learn about successful and unsuccessful negotiations. The students have formed a bond and have taken leadership roles in the school. Because of their skills and experience, they were contacted by an elementary school in the community to help facilitate a program for their fourth through sixth grade students.

2. When was the program created and why?

During the Spring Semester (January ‘96 through May ‘96), the student body at Pomona High School was involved in multiple confrontations and shouting matches in the hallways of the school, many of which resulted in physical violence.

As the School Resource Officer, Officer Jim Glasmann spent numerous hours mediating between students and issuing numerous summons for battery and disorderly conduct.

3. How do you measure the program’s effectiveness?

The mediators have received numerous accolades from the schools’ administration as well as being positive role models for the elementary students.

Since the inception of the program, the School Resource Officer has been able to free up numerous hours to handle more serious problems as the peer mediators have taken over most of the students’ conflicts.

Many of the Pomona High students recognize mediation as their first option and seek out school administrators to assign mediation before a violent act takes place. It has become an effective tool that the administrators use to correct problems they are confronted with between students.

The effectiveness of the program is measured by the students or disputants who no longer get into trouble with the school administration, resulting in suspensions or criminal citations by the School Resource Officer. Incidents of violence and shouting matches in the halls have significantly decreased the last few semesters.

Several faculty members teach peer mediation in their classes as well as cultural diversity. The faculty also took roles in instructing the peer mediators.

4. How is the program financed?

The Peer Mediation Program was presented to the school administration as a possible method for reducing the violence in and around the school. The administration agreed that peer mediation was a viable option and School Resource Officer Glasmann applied for and received a line grant for $1,900 through the Colorado Consortium for Community Policing (which was authorized from the Comprehensive Community Program Grant from the Department of Justice).

5. Contact person:

Lead coordinator is Sue McCabe, Department Chair, Pomona High School, (303) 982-0678, fax (303) 982-0709. Pomona High School is located at 8101 Pomona Drive, Arvada, CO 80005.

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