This year, M-A introduced the Conflict Mediation Center in response to frequent fights on campus over the last few years. Jaime Diaz, who works at the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, runs the center.
Diaz said, “The center is a way to remove students from a heated and unsafe space, and put them in a safe space, so they can start processing what’s going on and figure out some better solutions. It is my role to help these students understand, accept, and come to terms with the conflict, and then return to their classrooms so they can start learning again.”
The Resolution Center deals with most types of conflicts. Diaz noted, “Oftentimes it’s friends having disagreements, physical fights, or heated discussions that teachers are concerned about.” Interactions outside of school can lead to disruptions and altercations at school. “Sometimes, the intent is not to harm others, but something like online messages with sincere intent can have a very large impact, and that can lead to misunderstandings and conflict. The quicker we can resolve that the better because students being divided affects their schoolwork.”
The process starts with Diaz helping students understand what’s bothering them. He explained, “We meet in mediation, and they get to talk to each other in a safe place and in a calm manner. Then they understand each other and resolve the conflict.”
Diaz uses a variety of methods to prevent future altercations. “One thing we do is yawn because it’s a quick way to calm down,” he explained. “In order to prevent future conflicts, I meet with students several times. I’ll check on their grades to see if they start paying attention to their classes again. Following up is important because we can’t solve everything with a single 10-minute conversation. Sometimes, students have had conflicts going on for a month, or a year, or even multiple years, and we have to do more than just a quick talk.”
M-A greatly benefits from fewer conflicts. Diaz said, “It helps the teachers because they can focus on the classroom environment. At the Conflict Mediation Center, we can go over details and help the students resolve their conflicts.”
Diaz encourages students to reach out to him if they ever feel the need to address conflicts. “If a student comes to me and tells me that they want to meet because they have conflicts that they don’t know how to resolve, that’s when I can help. It’s better to address the conflict when it’s just heated words rather than a physical fight. The longer a conflict goes on, the more heated the conflicts get.”
To ask questions or schedule a meeting time in room D-17, you can email Diaz at email@example.com.