CrimeStoppers Peer Mediation Program teaches conflict resolution skills

CrimeStoppers Peer Mediation Program teaches conflict resolution skills

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Central Alabama CrimeStoppers is standing up against crime in Montgomery by teaching students conflict resolution skills.

It's a part of their peer mediation program.

"For these kids, they're learning how to solve problems, how to mediate, so we're hoping that they'll become young adults and be able to take this and teach someone else," said Tony Garrett, executive director of Central Alabama CrimeStoppers. "They'll be able to see something and they might be able to intervene in that problem or in that violent situation and get people to actually solve their problems by talking it out."

Kayla Brown is in fifth grade at Morningview Elementary School. When she's not in class, she can be found resolving conflicts in a peaceful manner, thanks to peer mediation.

"They taught us how to be calm and to be clear and to keep everything safe that we talked about in peer mediation," Brown said.

"These kids are capable of solving their own problems and we've given them the resources and the tools and the education to actually do that. To actually fulfill that, and they're going to be able to take this to the next level, to the next grade, all the way throughout life," Garrett said.

According to Morningview's school counselor, the program has already been a success.

"It has brought forth relationships throughout the different races in our schools and it is also as I mentioned before, diffused the disciplinary infractions that we've had here at our school," said Shaundalyn Elliott, the school counselor at Morningview.

Because of the impact the peer mediation program has had on Morningview, she hopes to see it implemented in all Montgomery county schools.

"I think overall it will help all of our students to not only become more accountable and to demonstrate leadership but I know for a fact that it will help us to build our relationships interpersonally and I really would like for all of our schools to consider taking this on," Elliott said.

Garrett said this training is critical because many students aren't learning about conflict resolution at home.

"With the separation of families that we're seeing in this day and age with a lot single parent homes, a lot of times the basic things are not being taught, and so we're going to go back and start teaching those basic things such as conflict resolution, how to solve problems, how to talk things out," Garrett said.

Talking things out instead of turning to violence.

"We don't want the average adult male or average young teen to just start pulling out a gun or pulling out a knife. We want them to go ahead and have resources that they can use in the back of their mind where if something does occur, they can actually talk it out amongst each other and find ways to solve their problems," Garrett said.

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