Here is one of many cases and readings found in Session Four of ATVC:
DISPUTE BECOMES BLOODY
How did mediation help?
The need for a mediation conference developed suddenly as a bloodied John pinned Ken to an unforgiving cement floor. As the disappointed crowd of boys dispersed, I escorted both Ken and John to my closet-like room at one of the dorms at an outdoor education center.
In a brief interview held separately with each boy, I discovered they had a history of misunderstandings and escalating tension. Conflicts had arisen around little things in the fall that cumulatively would erupt into war in the winter. Words had been exchanged, negative body language acted out, and a crowd's enthusiasm sparked, then lit the fuse of a knock-down-drag-out fight.
Both boys admitted that violence was not the way to settle things and apologized for their behavior. They were disappointed with themselves for losing control, especially since each boy had targeted his propensity for fighting as a flaw, not an asset. Having completed the interviews, I felt the time was ripe for settling differences together.
We sat down and recapped the fight. Long-standing negative feelings were probed and diffused as by-products of misperception. Each boy listened attentively to the other as they faced off in an exchange of hurt feelings. They admitted that a friendship between them was unlikely, but that peacefully getting along with each other was necessary.
Though it was an informal mediation conference, the outcome was impressive. The battle was over and so was the war.
Submitted by a teacher from the Talawanda Middle School, Oxford, Ohio, while taking the ALTERNATIVES TO VIOLENCE course.
This case reflects the positive outcomes of a mediation and not specifically the steps. It looks at how the parties were able to agree on civil nonviolent behavior towards each other once all information regarding misconceptions were on the table. The relationship was not completely saved, but it appears that the positive effects of this mediation will be lasting because the parties understand the issues and each other.
Submitted by Danene M Bender
Editor of Alternative to Violence Course