2004 Winter/Spring Edition
Chancellor Joins Commissioner to Swear-In Student Mediators
Patricia L. Gatling and the Department of Education Chancellor
Joel I. Klein swore in 17 students as Peer Mediators in a ceremony
at Washington Irving High School held in March. The Peer Mediation
graduation, one of many held by the Commission throughout the
school year, marked the completion of a rigorous ten-week after-school
training program the students voluntarily undertook to become
A $52,000 grant from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation enabled CCHR
to expand its Peer Mediation training in selected middle and high
schools. Emile St. Cyr, Program Director, reports that in less
than a year, the Peer Mediators have successfully mediated many
student conflicts. In one school, mediation has been so successful
that it expanded the meeting locations and hours within the school.
CCHR’s approach to teaching young students how to resolve
conflicts among their peers is grounded in the principals that
shape the NYC Human Rights Law – tolerance, human dignity,
empathy and understanding. The Program also teaches young students
valuable life skills such as patience, persistence, active listening
and problem solving – showing them that there are alternatives
to threats and violence.
Once the students graduate from the program and become Peer Mediators
in their schools, they mediate conflicts referred to them by teachers,
counselors, or administrators. CCHR remains in an advisory role.
The Program is offered at no cost to the schools. By the end of
the school year, CCHR certified 119 students as Peer Mediators
in eight schools.
Deputy Director Edwidge Menard guides young students during a
Peer Mediation training session at Samuel J. Tilden High School
Gatling and Schools Chancellor Klein address students at Washington
Irving High School during Peer Mediation graduation.