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Empowering Change: Peer Mediation Groups at Eagle Rock School

Empowering Change: Peer Mediation Groups at Eagle Rock School

At Eagle Rock School, the transformative power of Restorative Practices is not limited to the guidance of educators and administrators. In a quest to foster personal growth and community building, students are actively engaging in peer mediation groups where they are not only learning to hold each other accountable but also gaining practical skills to navigate low-level conflicts and, eventually, life's everyday challenges.

Students Leading the Way

Peer mediation groups at Eagle Rock School were founded on the principle of Restorative Practices, which serve as a powerful lens through which we manage conflicts and heal harm. These practices intersect with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) to create profound impacts. At Eagle Rock School, the concept of peer mediation groups extends beyond just mediating conflicts between students. Here, students themselves take the reins in training their peers on how to hold each other accountable. This approach not only empowers students but also creates a sense of ownership and responsibility within the school community.

Peer mediation groups offer an invaluable opportunity to dive into the nitty-gritty of accountability. Instead of solely relying on faculty or administrators to manage conflicts, students are actively engaged in the process. They ask the fundamental question, "How do we actually hold each other accountable?" This approach shifts the paradigm from punitive measures to a more understanding and supportive model of conflict resolution.

Addressing Low-Level Harms

One of the primary focuses of peer mediation groups at Eagle Rock School is to address low-level harms that occur within the community. These may range from roommate conflicts and gossip circulating among peers to someone not fulfilling their responsibilities, like failing to show up for Kitchen Patrol (KP). While these may appear trivial to some, they can significantly affect the atmosphere and dynamics within the community.

Students at Eagle Rock School have long been eager for more opportunities to actively participate and engage in practical, hands-on experiences. Peer mediation groups provide an ideal outlet for directing this energy and utilizing the wealth of experiences within the student body. Importantly, there are no restrictions for students to apply for participation, ensuring that diverse perspectives and voices have a seat at the table.

The overarching goal is to empower students to handle these low-level conflicts effectively, helping them develop a better understanding of Restorative Practices. This goes beyond theory; it equips them with the practical skills to mediate conflicts not just on campus but in their lives beyond Eagle Rock School. After all, conflicts and disputes are a part of everyday life, and the ability to navigate them is a crucial life skill.

Looking to the Future

The vision for peer mediation groups at Eagle Rock School extends beyond immediate conflict resolution. Ultimately, the goal is to allow students to take the lead, making the process more student-driven. The hope is for peer mediation groups to become self-sustaining, with students handling conflicts independently and with confidence.

As students become more adept at mediating conflicts, they not only gain practical skills but also experience personal growth and empowerment. They learn not only to manage conflicts but to learn from them. This transformative process fosters a sense of accountability, self-awareness, and empathy within the community. It lays the foundation for a future where students feel empowered to handle conflicts, not just on campus but throughout their lives.

Peer mediation groups at Eagle Rock School represent a powerful shift in how conflicts are managed and how students are engaged in their own growth and development. By embracing this approach, Eagle Rock School not only empowers its students but also contributes to a more empathetic and accountable generation prepared to handle the complexities of life beyond the classroom.