Peer Mediation: A Talk with Mr. Pisa


Here at MMS, we know that relationships are not always perfect. All the time, friends are fighting, laughing, reconciling, etc. That’s why Mr. Pisa and CORE Peer Leaders have come up with the Peer Mediation program. Last Monday, we interviewed Mr. Pisa to understand the Peer Mediation program better.

What exactly is the Peer Mediation? Can you elaborate on this? 

Peer Mediation has been something going in MMS for quite a while now, about 25 years. The kids managing Peer Mediation are now part of CORE 8, but in 7th grade, they were trained for Peer Mediation. So, when kids have conflicts, Peer Mediation is often referred to by some teachers, the counselor, or even the vice principal. In Peer Mediation, kids with conflicts sit down with the CORE 8 students and talk about their issue. This is an opportunity for each side to state their case.

Which grade do you think you will be targeting the most/ the best? 

Sixth and seventh graders come for most of the peer mediation options.

Which grade do you feel will face the most problems? 

Most problems? (laughs) Most probably sixth graders would have the most issues because they are new here.

What kind of problems are you expecting to face? 

Conflicts between friends, maybe when there’s an abrupt end in the friendship–usually, we talk with both sides, then they apologize, and then we come up with a solution to the problem, often a compromise. Sometimes, the answer may be that two people are not going to remain friends and avoid each other and when, that’s the case, we move their lockers, classes, and give both sides tactics to talk to each other when mandatory. What we are looking for is a solution that both sides are going to agree too and something that we can live with.

How do these conflicts reach the state when it needs peer mediation? 

One student might come to the guidance office. Sometimes, the conflict will escalate to the point where the vice principal gets involved, and they might recommend Peer Mediation. Sometimes students themselves might come as well because they’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be working out.

How do you think that Peer Mediation will help the students in MMS and make it a better community?

I think that it teaches people to learn to work out their problems and find ways to compromise with one another and talk things over rather than ending friendships with minor issues.

We also interviewed two CORE peer leaders, Elizabeth Connant and Annalyn Justice.

How do you feel about Peer Mediation? 

Annalyn and Elizabeth both said that they thought that this was a great idea and really because sometimes, students aren’t able to solve their problems. It may be harder to talk out some of the issues with an older adult because they might not have gone through the same experiences when they were the student’s age, but they believe that CORE peer leaders can understand more of what these kids are going through because of the smaller age gap. They can better understand the problem and maybe even relate to it. Sometimes, there isn’t even a real problem, but kids need to turn to someone they can trust to clear the air.

Do you think it’s going well so far?  

Both of them said yes. Annalyn told that she has so far done two mediations, and both of them ended well, and Elizabeth said that she had done one mediation and it went smoothly and successfully. All three situations either had a problem or a misunderstanding, but Annalyn and Elizabeth were able to help the kids to come up with a reasonable solution for each of the cases.

What exactly do you do as Peer Leaders? 

Both said that they first ask questions and ask the students involved to describe the situation. Then, making sure that they are on the same page, they think about solutions and then choose the best solution and approach to resolve the conflict.

How will students contact you? 

Both weren’t sure, but they said that if anyone has problems, they usually go to guidance, and then the counselor recommends Peer Mediation. Sometimes kids themselves come to them, and they set up an appointment.

How do you, in your own opinion, think this will make MMS a better place? 

Elizabeth and Annalyn both said that it teaches kids about dealing with their problems. They might be the mediators, but it’s the kids that are pretty much solving their problems, and they facilitate. They just ask the kids questions and help them come up with solutions on their own.

Mr. Pisa and the CORE Peer Leaders are always available, so don’t hesitate to approach them if you need help with anything!