It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.
1 in 7 students in grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
Bullying and cyberbullying have been high profile stories in recent years. There isn’t evidence that points to bullying being on the rise, but rather that awareness is on the rise due to a combination of variants like bullying getting more dangerous, new forms of digital bullying emerging, and too much/lack of parental vision, according to education.com.
Many companies, schools, and organizations have rallied behind the movement to raise awareness and end bullying using a variety of methods. Charles Maclay Middle School decided to take the approach of ending problems before they really begin.
Maclay was a school known for student conflicts until they implemented the peer mediation program, funded by the Center for Civic Mediation, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles, according to the article “Settling School Disputes Before They Escalate.” In the peer mediation program, a group of students are trained to be mediators who their peers can confide in, instead of having to go to the principal or another authority figure when a problem arises. Mediators don’t pick sides or offer advice. They sit with students who are having a dispute and extinguish the problem by opening the problem up to conversation before it escalates to a full-blown altercation.
In the 2007-08 school year, before the school implemented the peer mediation program, the school had 418 days of suspensions. This last year the school cut it down to 152. “Peer mediation models for them the appropriate way to speak when you have a conflict,” the principal said in the article. “That’s why it works.”
LifeBound’s books People Smarts and Success in Middle School were adopted by the Cheyenne Mountain District to use in their elementary classes. After using the books for four years, the district saw a decrease in principal referrals and an increase in their test scores as students were learning more about themselves emotionally as well as how to plan, read, and anticipate what is ahead in middle school.
How could peer mediating be adopted in your school or class? How about peer mentoring? Can you use the influence of peers to positively influence your class and student community? What can you teach students about Academic Coaching that could help them help their peers?