School Seeks to Prevent Bullying Through Peer Mediation

Students at Will Rogers Middle School in Miami, Oklahoma are preventing bullying through peer mediation. The new program is helpingstudents learn how to talk issues out before things get out of hand.

Caroline Harkins participatedin a scaled-down peer mediation pilot program offered at Will Rogers Middle School last school year. Now that the program, entitled Peaceful Resolution for Oklahoma Students (or PROS) has the green light for fullimplementation this year, she hopes to continue to help resolve her peer’sissues before they turn into bullying.

“It helps show that there is drama and if it doesn’t getresolved it can start to bullying,” Harkins said.

The eighth grader went on to say that sitting down and having the option to sitface to face and discuss a situation before it becomes harmful, reallyhelps.

“Most bullying, I think comes from friends that got into a bigfight and stopped,” Harkins said.

And her principal Justin Chase agrees. He says his kids are particularly susceptible to bullying, simplydue to their age (ranging mostly from age 11 to 14). And if they can learn how to resolve issues now withoutdisciplinary action or adult intervention, Chase says it will be a better learning tool fortheir future.

“Sometimes the conflict resolution or just thesocial skills, they’re learning and sometimes it’s a hard learn, and so we alsolook at it as teaching kids appropriate social skills,” Chase said.

Also new to campusthis year is a new School Resource Officer from the Miami Police Department, paid for thanks to a grant from the Miami Nation. The officer hopes his presence willalso help keep these kids on track.

“My presence in being here is hopefully going todeter some things, and the fact that people want to try and do things, maybethis will deter it,” said Officer Travis Salkil.

Though Principal Chase says bullying never has been a big problem at his school hesays thanks to this program, and kids like Caroline Harkins, it will continuethat way.

Principal Chase says theapplication process for the program is still in the beginning phases withschool just starting on Thursday, but the school hopes tohave the students trained and chosen in the next few weeks.