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Peer Mediation
By: Erinn L., Grade 7, Abbotsford, B.C.

Are you so ticked with your best friend you could spit nails at him/her?
Could peer mediation help you?

Before you even think," No way. That's lame" - take a deep breath and find out more about it.


FriendsHere are Shane and Jamie, grade 7 students. They were best friends since grade one. They were always together working on projects. All this changed in high school.

Since Shane is outgoing, and good-looking, lots of popular guys want to hang out with him. That's not the case for Jamie; he is more of an introvert, and has made no friends since entering high school. Since the other kids don't want to hang around Jamie, Shane has to juggle between going out with the other kids and Jamie. They are still friends, but spend less and less time together.

One day Jamie found out that his parents are getting divorced. Feeling lost and sad, he called Shane and told him to come over to his house. Shane agreed. Then Shane called Jeff, an older friend, for a ride. Later Shane was in the car with Jeff and a few other friends. Once everyone found out that Shane was going to Jamie’s place, Jeff refused to drive Shane there. Shane wants to belong to this group of friends. So he did not object to their decision. They went to a friend's house instead and had a party. Shane soon forgot about the promise he made to see Jamie.

The next day a very angry Jamie confronted Shane. They had a loud shouting match, and Jamie ended the conversation by saying that the relationship is over.

Here’s one way Peer Mediation Works and could help Shane and Jamie:

Imagine you are Shane. What would you do? You've tried to talk with Shane but its not working.

Rather than do this yourself, you may consider the peer mediation program that is in schools to help students solve conflict with other students.

Unfortunately, peer mediation is a confusing subject because the word is often misused. Let me, a former peer mediator, explain what peer mediation is all about. Then decide whether it is right for your present conflict.

Peer mediation is needed for conflicts where both the relationship and the issue are important. The conflict between Jamie and Shane is a great example. They were best friends, the relationship was important to both of them. The issue was important too, as Jamie was angry at Shane for breaking a promise to see him. Unless the issue was dealt with, Jamie and Shane could not continue to be friends. Peer mediation also works well when the two parties have trouble talking to each other about the issue. It is hard to reason and listen to one another when the conversation quickly turns into a shouting match. Peer mediation can help people talk without harming each other.

Suppose Shane signed up for peer mediation. Through the program, he would get a chance to discuss the issue with Jamie. However, they would not be alone. In fact, one or two peer mediators (who are fellow students) join them in the discussion. The peer mediators are carefully chosen so the mediators don't know Jamie and Shane beforehand. Also, the peer mediators must sign a contract prohibiting them from telling anyone about it. Since the contract is legally binding, Jamie and Shane can be assured that no adults or other students will know about the discussion session.

To determine whether you should consider peer mediation for your conflicts, here are some tips:

1. If you cannot talk to the other party without getting angry or upset, peer mediation can help both sides maintain their cool

2. Both sides should voluntarily enter mediation, although that is not necessary

3. Peer mediation works best when the friendship or relationship is important

4. Peer mediation is wonderful if you want the discussion secret

5. Peer mediation works best when you don't want adults telling you what to do

If you have some comments about peer mediation, please write to us at

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