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Peer Mediation Program
Township staff has facilitated a peer mediation program at a local middle school for the past four years. The program was initially modeled after one started at Hinsdale South High School. Over time, our program and trainings have been updated, reevaluated and improved upon, based on the needs of the school and ease of delivering the program within the school day. The information provided will give residents a better understanding of the philosophy and delivery of this program.
Definition: Peer mediation is a both a program and a process where students facilitate resolving disputes between two people or small groups.
Referral: Peer mediation is voluntary for all involved. However, students are referred by teachers, other students and school staff with the understanding that they have an opportunity to resolve their own issues peacefully without initial or further punitive action on the part of administrative staff (i.e. in or out-of-school suspension, detention and phone calls home etc.)
Peer mediators do not “make decisions” but rather work toward a solution that is agreeable to both parties in their own words. It is not for them to judge, take sides, moralize, criticize, threaten, dismiss, make fun of, or advise and analyze to the point of deciding what they think is right for the students involved in the incident. They are there to facilitate, coordinate, empathize, listen and guide students toward brainstorming a solution for themselves.
Peer mediation is just a step along the road for enabling better communication and understanding between individuals. More often than not, mis- communication is the root cause of the issue resulting from a mis-understanding of the situation. Strong emotions, impulse control and teen brain development factor in heavily on how young people handle difficult situations. By telling their story and listening to others in a more controlled manner, they will usually gain a different perspective with the help of their mediators.
Goals: Once students are able to “tell their story” with the aid of mediators, they are then obliged to come up with at least three solutions. Whatever solutions coincide (or are agreed upon by both parties), are then signed into agreement. Follow-up meetings are usually assigned to check-in with the students. Contracts can be revisited if necessary.
Results: Peer mediation is just one tool added to the student toolbox for dealing with difficult situations and individuals. By promoting and teaching communication skills, problem-solving techniques, and goal setting, we are allowing students the opportunity to manage their own behavior in a more positive way. Both the mediators and those in conflict take away valuable skills in the process. We have gradually seen the numbers rise in the amount of mediations we do across the grade levels, and the number of referrals received by teachers and staff.
Qualifications: Below are some of the qualifications we look for in the program.
• Peer mediators will receive training designed to improve listening and critical thinking skills, empathy, confidentiality and facilitation without judgment.
• Peer mediators will continue to meet in groups to work on these skills, role-play and debrief mediations with adult staff.
• Peer mediators will model appropriate behavior. If a mediator is involved in any incident that compromises the confidentiality of mediation, the mediator may be dismissed from the program.
• All mediators will sign confidentiality agreements.
Types of Incidents: These are some of the situations we might typically see for mediation based on what staff deem appropriate.
• Rumors and gossip
• Relationship difficulties/harassment
• Minor assaults and fighting
• Vandalism and cheating
• Racial and cultural confrontations
Funded in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Township of Downers Grove Human Services
Phone: (630) 719-6670
4340 Prince Street
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Main (630) 719-6600
Mon - Fri, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Highway Department Hours
Effective: May 1 - October 31
Mon - Fri, 7 am - 3 pm
Mon - Fri, 9 am - 4 pm
Freedom of Information Request
Financial Audit 2013
Annual Treasurer's Report 2013
Township Budget 13-14
Highway Budget 13-14
Board Meeting Schedule 2013
Holiday Schedule 2013