Mediation: Making Schools Safer For Our Kids

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Colorado recently passed legislation to address violence in public school. The Claire Davis Safety Act makes Colorado one of a few states to allow school lawsuits for cases of violence; as noted in The Denver Post, recovery is capped at $350,000 per victim or $900,000 per incident when there are serious injuries or deaths from violence and the school is accused of negligence.

The student who shot Claire Davis had made prior threats against teachers and the school. Claire’s parents argued that the school ignored these warning signs and failed to intervene when it had the chance. The Claire Davis legislation was initially made retroactive to 2013, presumably to allow Claire’s parents to sue. However, it’s been reported that the parents have agreed to use a mediator to help them determine what the school could have done to prevent the shooting.

Cases like this remind us that early intervention is crucial. One solution, while certainly not fail-safe, is mediation. When warning signs appear, mediation can help students work through their grievances, take responsibility for their part in the conflict, and, through the mediator’s facilitation, achieve a meaningful reconciliation. Many young students lack the experience and maturity to do this on their own; mediation can offer powerful tools to model conflict resolution and also calm intense emotions. Because—not surprisingly—moving from anger to reconciliation is essential when dealing with troubled kids.

Pacific ADR Consulting’s experienced mediators stand ready to assist in the resolution of your dispute. For more information, please contact us at 206.624.3388 or visit our website.

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