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Conflict Resolution for Schools and Youth


Does your school or after-school organization yearn for better ways to handle incidents and create a respectful environment? Join our network of schools and youth-serving organizations which use restorative practices. These practices include mediation, facilitated dialogue, talking circles and more.  DSC can help your organization get started by providing training for students and staff. DSC also assists schools in developing procedures for bringing the participants in an incident together with the appropriate mediators. Sponsors and two private foundations help to fund this program.

A mediator or facilitator assists all participants, whether students, parents, or school staff, in listening to each other and in finding new ways to reach common ground and/or prevent conflicts from happening in the future. The power of dialogue is often seen during direct dialogue between students, when roots of a long-standing conflict can finally come to light´╗┐ and can be resolved. The benefits of these restorative practices include reduced suspensions and expulsions, improved school climate, increased sense of safety thus leading to higher academic achievement. Download our highlights of recent studies showing all the benefits.

Our network

girls lockerWe have over a dozen middle and high schools already in our Schools & Youth network. DSC provides the network ongoing support by:
  • Coaching and feedback for staff mediators post-training
  • Regional workshops to learn from other schools and youth-serving organizations
  • Tips on building awareness within your facility or school on who and how someone can help those in conflict
  • Special techniques to help with bullying
  • Experienced DSC mediators and facilitators to help with large group, complex dialogue or when the issues extend beyond the school into neighborhoods.
  • Data collection and analysis of the impact of the use of restorative techniques at specific network schools
  • Advice and support for managing peer mediators, including eligibility to have your student mediators apply for DSC's annual Young Mediator of the Year Award.

Restorative dialogue is particularly helpful for:

  • Name-calling, rumors and cyber incidents
  • Relationship triangles
  • Physical fights
  • Disputes over personal belongings
  • Sports disputes
  • Bus incidents
  • Special education cases
  • Parent-involved conflicts

DSC active in stemming school-to-prison pipeline 

DSC also assists youth-serving organizations such as schools, after-school facilities, Juvenile Review Boards, and police departments by mediating incidents involving young people. By using restorative victim-offender dialogue, all those involved have an opportunity to express how the incident affected them and take responsibility for repairing the damage. Unlike arrest and court-involvement, this alternative means the issues are truly resolved and tensions need not re-occur. See also our Crime Prevention page. We also facilitate group dialog among police and community members, including youth.

Incidents involving urban or at-risk youth can be referred to DSC for mediation. Please contact our office for more information. In the mean time, you may find this flyer helpful to hand to those involved.  

How to get your school or youth-serving organization started?

Thanks to several foundations, such as Edward S. Moore, we receive sufficient grant funding to include more schools and youth-serving organizations in our network for only a nominal committment fee for initial training of school staff. Student or peer training can be added after completion of the staff training. The training is done in modules tailored to the needs of your school or after-school facility. We focus a portion of the work on designing procedures to ensure restorative techniques are part of the daily routine with conflicts brought to the right mediators. Contact us for more details.


Why choose DSC?

Our mediators and trainers are all experienced professionals who regularly practice and hone their facilitation skills. We also have staff trained by Connecticut Department of Education in Improving School Climate.

Over the past two decades, we have provided training to a number of Connecticut public and private middle, and high schools, with evaluations showing a high satisfaction rate.

Joining our network means you will be learning from other practitioners as well as DSC experts, sharing best practices as well as pitfalls. Our network includes:

  • Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk
  • Broadview Middle School in Danbury
  • Danbury High School
  • Derby Intermediate
  • Harding High School in Bridgeport
  • Opportunity High School in Hartford
  • Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury
  • Roton Middle School in Norwalk
  • Stamford Academy
  • Trumbull High School

Other helpful links are:

  • Jane Bluestein PhD - a national expert on creating a safe and productive learning environment.
  • JoAnn Freiberg PhD - an Educational Consultant with the Connecticut Department of Education.