Dear Judy,

I'm a parent who'd like to introduce a Peer Mediation Program to my daughter's principal.  Can you provide information on any services that might provide training to staff members and students alike and are approved by the NYC DOE.  

PSP (Problem solving parent)

Dear PSP,

If your principal doesn't already know about peer mediation, it's a good job for you to introduce  it to him. But principals should know, peer mediation is among several recommended steps under the city's Discipline Code to solve programs without resorting to the most exteme punishments.

With peer mediation, kids work with each other to figure out why a specific problem occurred and how students can solve it. The program not only avoids violence, it develops leadership skills in the children who attend peer mediation training. There are programs which are apt for elementary, middle and high schools.

Like other great additions to a school, it won't  just spring into action.  If you really want peer mediation in your school,  you need to start preparing now. Contact not-for-profit organizations that do peer mediation training, find out what staff they use and how much your school may have to pay. Contact schools with successful programs, to find out what school staff is needed and how they keep the program going.

At the same time you'll want to develop a supportive constituency among  parents and school staff to join you in fighting for the program and sustaining it. As soon as school opens , take your research to the Parents Association,  the School Leadership Team and the guidance department. And, make sure to keep the keep the principal informed and onboard with the idea. 

Here are a few of the organizations that work with NYC schools.

Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility 

Community Mediation Services 

Partnership with Children

A search for "peer mediation" on Insideschools turned up many schools all over the city that have programs. A similar search on the DOE's website turned up many programs as well.

Good luck!