CRLS Peer Mediation Team Promotes Their Work with Assembly


Photo Courtesy of: Chandra Banks

Pictured: The 2018-2019 mediation team.

Will Bavier, Opinion Editor

The peer mediation team at CRLS is one of the most well-respected and successful school mediation programs in the country, according to Chandra Banks, the district-wide mediator and coordinator of the team. The program helps CRLS community members with any individual problems through self-guided conversation. On June 3rd, the group had an assembly in hopes of sharing the positive benefits that mediation can have with the CRLS community. In an interview with the Register Forum, Ms. Banks explained her reasons for hosting the event. “The peer mediation program is … 100% reliant on advertising,” she said. “Because I am the district-wide mediator, I don’t have time to do advertising, and I feel terrible about it because I know that that’s what we need. So, I ask students: ‘What can you guys do that’s going to hit your peers right on their level?’” The students’ answer to this question was to organize an assembly.

Hoping to engage students, the team included an activity in the assembly called “Lights Up” where students would raise the flashlight on their phone if they related to certain statements. From this exercise, it was clear that an overwhelming number of students had been involved in conflicts around school. When one of the student organizers asked the crowd if they had ever been involved in escalated issues that had sprouted from drama, the auditorium filled with flashlights, as well as whispers as students talked about their own experiences. Despite the seeming prevalence of conflict in their lives though, when prompted about their knowledge of the peer mediation program itself, very few raised their phones.

We need all types of people to be able to relate and understand the different kinds of people we mediate.

— Maya Clemente '21

But the peer mediation team has found that the best way to reach students is with demonstrative replicas, so during the assembly they simulated a fight between two students and a mediation session. They then followed this activity with a statistics-filled presentation that analyzed trends in common conflicts, pointing out that school fights have notably increased over the last couple of years. The presentation also included data about the mediation program itself: the team had over seventy referrals from CRLS students this year with a 92% rate of impact, meaning that 92% of participants have found mediation sessions to be helpful. Ms. Banks and the other mediators emphasized that they would like more CRLS students to join the team to accommodate the growing number of referrals that they are getting.

To close the assembly, the mediators spoke about why they became a mediator in the first place and answered questions from the audience. Maya Clemente, a sophomore, explained that she became a mediator in order “to learn better communication skills while helping others do the same.” She told the Register Forum, “Our mission [during the assembly] was to inform people about what mediation is and what we do, in order to recruit more mediators and to let people know there’s a space they can go to solve conflicts without being worried about getting in trouble.” She also encourages anyone at CRLS to either join with their own session or by joining the peer mediation program itself. “If there was one thing I’d say about becoming a mediator, besides the fact that you should do it because it’s a great skill to have, it’s that it doesn’t take one kind of person to do it. We need all types of people to be able to relate and understand the different kinds of people we mediate. Even if you don’t want to sign up because you think you won’t be a good fit, do it anyway. I guarantee you we need people like you on our team.”