In the News: Students learn to talk through their troubles
Posted on 05/08/2017
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Students learn to talk through their troubles

“What is said in here stays in here,” Schenectady High School junior Shanteesh Stewart told the two young women sitting on either side of a round table with her, ready to mediate their differences. “And we don’t take sides.”

Stewart laid out the ground rules for a student mediation, which at Schenectady High and the district’s three middle schools is used to resolve conflicts, mend friendships, transition suspended students back to school and improve a classroom’s culture.

Stewart and Samantha Torres, a senior and president of the student mediation club, have joined Schenectady High graduates Erin Thiessen, class of 2012, and TeAna Taylor, class of 2012 in the room. Thiessen and Taylor became mediators while in school and now coordinate programs at Oneida and Mont Pleasant middle schools, respectively.

Together, the four mediators put on a mock mediation for the Daily Gazette to observe last week. While in training, prospective mediators work through similar mock scenarios to develop the proper process and reactionary skills used in mediation.

The four sat at a round table in a small room. The two students in ostensible conflict sign “consent to mediate” forms before participating. What they say stays in that room unless it involves drug, alcohol or sexual abuse. Everyone puts their cellphones in a plastic bin that sits away from the table.

“Welcome to peer mediation… Who wants to start?” one of the mediators asked, launching into the unknown.


Click here to read the Daily Gazette article published on May 07, 2017.

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