A new program that CYS offers is called, Mediation Office Hours or MOH. MOH is a weekly mediation service, which is provided to select schools, to resolve student-student and student-staff conflict. The program was initially started to reduce fights on campus as well as suspensions and/or arrests. It allows our team to cut response times significantly by addressing conflict not too long after it happens.
Through positive feedback from both our case managers as well as participating school sites, the program's success has proven to make a strong impact.
MOH in Action: As this previous school year ended, MOH was able to create a space for a student and school-staff member to hear one another’s perspective and build a relationship in the process, effectively building trust along the way. After an altercation, which started among students at the local 7-Eleven and ended with a school-staff person being grabbed by one of the students, the MOH process was recommended as an alternative to suspension. As the student and school-staff person spoke in the safe space of the mediation, they were both able to express how they were feeling in the moment and what led them to the altercation that took place. The student, according to the CYS Case Manager, “mentioned how upset and disrespected he felt”, when the school-staff person got involved. During the mediation, the school-staff person explained that he was trying to help the student and his friend, since they appeared to be injured. The student was able to express that he misunderstood the situation-- he thought that the school-staff person was trying to get them in trouble. As both of their intentions became clearer, a relationship began to form. The CYS Case Manager reflected that, “the school-staff person had a heartfelt moment with the youth. He encouraged him to do better and not let situations like these define him and his academics. Towards the end of the mediation, they were both talking and laughing. It was a nice way to end the school year.” Going forward, this student, due to a restorative MOH process, will have one additional adult within his school community that he trusts and feels comfortable talking to. Hopefully this adult will be someone he can lean on and feel supported by both day-to-day and in those sticky situations that first brought him to MOH.