On October 23rd, twenty-four Greer Middle IB School students attended a five-hour training session in basic peer mediation skills conducted by volunteer mediators from the Upstate Mediation Center (UMC). The training took place at the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.
The students are members of the school’s IB Ambassador Council, which consists of carefully selected 6th-8th grade students that exhibit strong academic integrity, positive character and the will to lead. Many of the students had taken part in peer mediation in elementary school through the Fuss Busters Program. Allison Rosemond, a UMC volunteer mediator and counselor at Greer Middle, organized the training with the help of Jennifer Olmert, the Executive Director at UMC. The trainers this year were experienced mediators from UMC: Jamie Ackermann, Hilda Barton, Jean Blank, Jennifer Harvey, Richard Kahn, and Lawson Wetli.
Peer mediation teaches students an alternative set of skills they can apply in conflict situations. In mediation, third-party student mediators help other students to come to a resolution without taking sides. Student mediators are taught a process of communication and problem-solving that they apply to help their peers reach settlements of their disagreements without confrontation or violence. Students also learn that conflict can be constructive and positive. The entire process is carried out by students for students. Mrs. Rosemond will serve as the program’s faculty advisor and coordinator. The student mediators will mediate in pairs under Mrs. Rosemond’s supervision, and the trainers from UMC will provide ongoing support throughout the school year.
The goal of this program is violence prevention at Greer Middle IB School, as well as, an overall reduction in discipline problems/suspensions, increased agreements, improved academic success, improved attitude toward conflict, and increased self-reliance in dealing with differences. Moreover, the program will teach valuable life skills that will help students become better citizens in the community.
Thank you to Greer State Bank and Citizens, Building & Loan of Greer for their support in funding this training!