It’s responsible for a drop in disciplinary referral rates at Duncanville High School, and now the campus Peer Mediation program is being recognized nationally by paxUnited. The national mediation center’s Peers Making Peace program recognized DHS as one of two Model School award winners on May 17. “The selection of model schools is based upon energy, enthusiasm, and commitment of the school to maintain a high-quality program that can serve as a model for other campuses,” explained paxUnited Executive Director Susan Armoni. “Under the guidance of [teacher] Lesley Hash, the students on your campus are working to make the world a safer and better place. We see infinite potential in these student leaders, and are forever grateful for the hard work of Ms. Hash.”
Duncanville High School’s Peer Mediation program began five years ago as an elective. Now two classes teach students how to assist campus counselors and conduct conflict resolution. “I’ve been the sponsor for the past three years, which means that I select the mediators and facilitate their training,” explained Hash. “When I took over the program, we had eight mediators and about 200 referrals a year. Through mentoring, we continue to see a decrease in student conflict, and those who go through the mediation learn how to mediate themselves. We’ve also grown to 22 mediators.” Hash plans to extend the Peer Mediation program to Duncanville ISD elementary schools in the fall. Her goal is to eventually see the program spread district-wide.