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  • Topics Addressed in the Interview - [Stephen Thom Interview]
    File H Did key issues ever involve factual disagreements How did you deal with such problems Interview Bookmarks 1 1 2 Go to Full Topic File Tell me about your meetings with the parties when you were helping them to resolve their differences Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File A How did you decide when to meet separately with the parties and when to bring them together Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File B When you brought the parties together how did you decide where to convene the meeting Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File C How did you assist in opening communications between the parties to get them talking and listening to one another Interview Bookmarks 1 2 3 Go to Full Topic File D Were there situations when a party came to the table but gave only lip service or refused to negotiate in good faith Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File E Were you able to increase trust levels between parties How did you do this Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File F How would you respond when you were called upon to carry messages between the parties Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File What did you do to diminish tension between the parties Interview Bookmarks 1 2 3 4 5 6 Go to Full Topic File A Did the situation ever become violent or potentially violent What did you do to diminish that Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File B Did a party ever threaten to walk out of a mediation What did you do then Interview Bookmarks 1 2 3 4 5 Go to Full Topic File Did you find yourself helping the parties strengthen their own capacity to deal with conflict Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File A Did you provide technical assistance to the parties Can you give some examples Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File B Did you provide training for the parties What types of training Who did it Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File C Did you help the parties prepare for mediation or any joint meetings Interview Bookmarks 1 2 3 4 5 Go to Full Topic File D Did you assist groups with community organizing Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File Did you try to analyze or address power disparities between the parties How did power differentials effect the process Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File A When you perceived a significant power imbalance did you try to level the playing field How did you do this Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File B Did anyone ever ask you to become an advocate or to tilt the table in their favor How did you respond Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File C Did you ever try to use the power of the

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/interviews_tc/Stephen_Thom-tc.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Topics Addressed in the Interview - [Martin Walsh Interview]
    to participate because of a lack of trust in you or the process Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File How did you identify underlying issues Interview Bookmarks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Go to Full Topic File A Did you find it necessary at times to help the parties define or prioritize their issues How did you do this Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File B Did you find yourself assisting one party to understand the other party s perspective Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File C How did you deal with seemingly intractable demands on a party s agenda for negotiations Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File D How did you decide when to meet separately with the parties and when to bring them together Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File E Were there situations when a party came to the table but gave only lip service or refused to negotiate in good faith Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File F Were you able to increase trust levels between parties How did you do this Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File What did you do to diminish tension between the parties Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File A Did the situation ever become violent or potentially violent What did you do to diminish that Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File B Did a party ever threaten to walk out of a mediation What did you do then Interview Bookmarks 1 2 2 Go to Full Topic File C How did you initiate de escalation Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File Did you find yourself helping the parties strengthen their own capacity to deal with conflict Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File A Did you provide training for the parties What types of training Who did it Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File B Did you help the parties prepare for mediation or any joint meetings Interview Bookmarks 1 2 3 4 Go to Full Topic File C Did you assist groups with community organizing Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File D Did you try to influence coalition formation Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File E When you perceived a significant power imbalance did you try to level the playing field How did you do this Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File F Did you ever try to use the power of the Justice Department to influence the situation or level the playing field Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File G What is your attitude toward ending community protest Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File H Did you have a problem retaining your impartiality while trying to level the playing field prior to negotiations Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File Are there other aspects of the process

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/interviews_tc/Martin_Walsh-tc.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Topics Addressed in the Interview - [Wallace Warfield Interview]
    factor in your ability to build trust with the disputants Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File How did you identify underlying issues Interview Bookmarks 1 2 3 Go to Full Topic File A Did you find yourself assisting one party to understand the other party s perspective Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File B Did you ever deal with a conflict that seemed to be truly intractable Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File Tell me about your meetings with the parties when you were helping them to resolve their differences Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File A How did you assist in opening communications between the parties to get them talking and listening to one another Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File What did you do to diminish tension between the parties Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File A Did you provide technical assistance to the parties Can you give some examples Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File B Did you provide training for the parties What types of training Who did it Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File Did you try to analyze or address power disparities between the parties How did power differentials effect the process Interview Bookmarks 1 2 Go to Full Topic File A When you perceived a significant power imbalance did you try to level the playing field How did you do this Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File How would you describe your work in terms of your neutrality impartiality and objectivity in a case Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to Full Topic File A Did you ever intentionally act as an advocate for one side Did you ever do this unintentionally Interview Bookmarks 1 Go to

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/interviews_tc/Wally_Warfield-tc.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Ana's Scenario
    idiots They in no way represent the majority of the white kids at this school Still I don t really know what the big deal is about the photos I like Sara but I think she and the dance team are being too politically correct Now everybody is in a big uproar over nothing I hate going to school because it s gotten so tense We can t even have a discussion in class without things getting out of control We ve always had cliques but now the racial lines are much stronger and hostile I wish Sara hadn t made this into such a big issue The rest of the council agrees with him You say that you have spoken to Sara and the other members of CARA and that they are very angry and have been for a long time They are going to start discussions with Principal Edwards on how to address their concerns However you say that you think it s very important that the white students at Agnew also have a say in the discussions You ask them whether they or anyone else they know would like to be involved Brian volunteers along with two of the other kids on the council Brian also suggests some friends of his who have voiced an interest in doing something about the conflict You suggest that some of the parents be invited too In addition Brian suggests that you talk to Matt and Jeff the boys responsible for the blackface photos But I doubt they ll agree to participate Brian says They still think that this is all a ridiculous over reaction They aren t sorry about it at all I don t think You meet with Jeff and Matt a few days later They are both popular at Agnew because they are outspoken class clowns This is by far your least productive meeting Both Jeff and Matt are incredibly polite during the meeting They say that they had no idea what kind of trouble they would cause with those photos and they want to do everything in their power to fix it But during the meeting they keep mumbling under their breath to each other and laughing As they walk out you overhear Jeff say This is going to be so lame Questions to Think About How do you decide who s going to participate in the mediation Click here for advice Do you think it s a good idea for Matt and Jeff to be involved Why or why not If so how do you think you can get them to take it seriously Click here for some stories about this kind of problem What are you going to do to prepare for the mediation For suggestions click here What are your goals for this intervention Click here for stories about how other mediators set goals Part Five Preparing for Mediation To prepare for the mediation you start with shuttle diplomacy talking to each group separately finding out what they think the issues are in this conflict You run into your first problem when you tell Sara that Matt and Jeff are going to be involved in the mediation Well if they are involved Sara says count me out Anything they are involved in will be a total waste of time It takes a while but you are eventually able to convince Sara that for the mediation to be effective it will be necessary to have as many different viewpoints represented as possible You assure her that you will control the situation and that Matt and Jeff will not misbehave You help each group put together a list of issues and suggested ways of responding to those issues You also ask them to plan an opening statement that summarizes these issues and suggested solutions clearly and succinctly You urge them to be open about their concerns and frustrations but to frame them in a constructive way as much as possible Questions to consider Given what you know now what would you say are the issues of concern to each of the parties Click here for information on identifying issues Sara CARA Principal Edwards Brian Matt and Jeff You Do you see any areas of common ground How would you suggest that each of these parties reframe their concerns to make them most constructive To learn more about reframing see this reframing essay and these comments by experienced civil rights mediators Sara CARA Principal Edwards Brian Matt and Jeff You What else do you think you need to do with the parties to prepare them for mediation For information about what other civil rights mediators do click here Are there other preparations that you yourself need to make What are your goals for this mediation For more information on goal setting see this article Is power an issue in this mediation If so do you need to address it in any way Click here to read about how experienced civil rights mediators deal with power disparities How are you going to structure the mediation Part Six Mediation Begins You bring everyone together the following week After thanking everyone for coming you again explain what mediation is and how it works You then ask the parties to help draft some ground rules for the process Things to think about What things do you want to be sure to cover in your opening statement What ground rules do you think are important Click here for advice Also see the Ground Rules essay on BeyondIntractability org What will you do if they do not come up with these on their own They do pretty well setting reasonable ground rules which is good for two reasons First they have some good ground rules in place and those ground rules will have more credibility because the parties developed them themselves instead of them being imposed by you second they have learned early on that they can work together and agree on something You then explain that the next step in the process is for each group to present what they believe are the issues in the conflict You ask Sara to speak first She presented a slightly modified version of what she told you earlier explaining that the blackface pictures were extremely offensive but were only the tip of the iceberg She tells of other racial incidents that she and her friends have experienced and says that neither the teachers nor the administration at Agnew seem to care In addition she says she feels like a nobody in this school All the history is white history all the literature is white literature It s like people of color don t even exist here she said You then ask Sara what changes she would like to see made in order to address these problems She answers that she and other CARA members would like complaints about racism to be taken more seriously and the perpetrators to be harshly punished She also wants black and Latino history to take a much more prominent role in history classes Finally she says a much higher number of minority students are being suspended than white students and students of color are being punished more often and more harshly overall than are white students This discrimination must stop she asserts When Sara is finished other members of CARA get up and speak People talk about a history of racism at Agnew beginning when the school was integrated in the 60s and continuing to the present After awhile the discussion begins to stray onto racism in the wider city things like racial profiling and police brutality You begin to get worried when you catch a glimpse of Principal Edwards He looks noticeably irritated and is tapping his fingers on the table Can we move on These comments are irrelevant Principal Edwards suddenly blurts out You cringe This is not going well Sara s mom quickly stands up You see this is exactly the problem she says You won t listen to a word we say Even now that we ve finally gotten your attention you re trying to shut us up There is a problem in this school and in this city and you need to face up to it Look I m sorry I said that he answers Of course I want to deal with anything that s bothering you that s my job But the things you re bringing up happened before I became principal at Agnew and the issue of racism in the police department is nothing I have control over I want to make changes but I do not want to endlessly rehash past events There s nothing anyone can do to change those things Plus how can we know how much of what you re saying is true There is no way to verify these stories Sara stands up and begins yelling Soon more people are standing and yelling The students and parents of color say that they need to be heard The white students and parents say that they just want to get on with things You let this go on for a few minutes and then call a recess You ask everyone to come back in 30 minutes Questions to consider What is the role of emotion in conflict Should you have allowed this much anger to be expressed during the mediation Click here for information on dealing with anger in the mediation process and click here for information on anger and anger management more generally Would it have helped if the principal had suppressed his anger more than he did Could you have done anything to improve the situation or was that not your role While the group is on break you meet separately with Principal Edwards and Sara s family To Principal Edwards you explain that the members of CARA have been frustrated for a long time and that they need a chance to express that frustration You tell him that you ll limit how long they can talk but you also caution him that only if they feel heard will they be ready to move on to the problem solving stage of the process Principal Edwards says that he is willing to try again and that he didn t realize that this was part of the process You tell Sara s parents that Principal Edwards is willing to continue the dialogue if CARA is You explain to them that Principal Edwards is so used to trying to solve problems quickly that he was frustrated with just listening They say that they are willing to try the dialogue but only if they are really listened to When everybody reconvenes CARA says that they are done speaking You then ask Brian the student body president to explain his view of the situation He says We strongly disagree with the photos that were taken on Halloween Those photos in no way represent how the majority of the students or parents at the school feel Still I feel that we need to let that incident go It was a one time thing The boys who did it have apologized and now it is time to move forward The tension at Agnew has gotten out of control We ve always had cliques but now the racial lines are much stronger and hostile I think it s time to do something about this When you ask him what he thinks should be done to improve the situation he says that he doesn t know but that he thinks maybe some more multi racial activities might be good He also says that he is open to any other ideas that come up during the discussion but that he doesn t have anything more to add at this point You then ask Principal Edwards to explain his view of the situation I realize how wrong it was for those students to dress up in blackface but my hands are tied I can t punish students for incidents that occur off of school grounds Ultimately I agree with the sentiments that the dance team expressed but I can t allow students to cause disturbances The pep rally could have gotten out of control and someone could have gotten hurt If they wanted to protest they could have used another means such as writing an article in the school newspaper or picketing Although I understand that the blackface photos were entirely unacceptable it was only one incident caused by a couple of misguided kids I appreciate the concerns of the students and parents of color but I do not believe that their assertions are correct We take great care in handing out discipline fairly While it is true that students of color are suspended more often than others that is because they violate school rules more often than others We do cover black and Latino history in our history classes as much as we have time for given all of the other requirements and we take racism very seriously in this school That is why we are doing this mediation as a matter of fact The CARA parents sigh loudly in disgust with that statement but don t start yelling again Once everyone is finished talking you thank them again for coming and for hanging in when the going got difficult It is always hard to listen to things you don t agree with you say but we need to do that in order to be able to work together Over time hopefully we ll begin to see things in more similar ways Since it is late you suggest that the meeting be adjourned and commence again the following week Things to think about Can you suggest ways in which CARA and or Principal Edwards could reframe their statements to make them better received and or understood by the others Is this something you should encourage them to do To learn more about reframing see this essay and these comments by experienced civil rights mediators In the following week s meeting the parties will begin to address everyone s concerns Do you have any ideas about how they should do that Part Seven Fact Finding A week later you all meet again in the same room People still seem on edge but you take control quickly You review the key concerns of each group reframing some of them to make them more palatable and understandable to the other side Each time you go over one side s list you ask whether they agree with your restatement of their concerns and suggestions and they discuss each one until everyone is in agreement The only issue that cannot be agreed upon is the one dealing with unequal discipline The administration insists that discipline is handled fairly while CARA is certain that it is not So you suggest hiring an outside neutral expert to investigate the question There is considerable discussion about who to get to do the research You suggest a consultant who has worked with you on other cases and everyone agrees that person would be acceptable to them You say that you will give her a call Usually she can get started pretty soon you assure them Questions to consider What does a fact finding consultant need to do to make his or her findings credible to both sides See this set of essays for more general information on fact finding Are there other approaches to fact finding besides hiring an outside consultant What are they Are there other facts in this case that ought to be investigated further by a consultant or other fact finding method If so what How might you design a fact finding effort on that those topic s Part Eight Brainstorming Options The outside expert comes back with the results of her research and says that discipline does seem to be pretty evenly distributed between racial groups at the school Nevertheless she suggests more might be done to involve students and parents in the disciplinary process perhaps thereby giving it more credibility You suggest that the group consider that option along with others Now that the problems have been identified and analyzed the next step is to consider options for resolving the identified problems There are two ways we can do this you explain We can all work together taking each issue one at a time Or we could break into subgroups and have each subgroup work intensely on one set of issues You discuss the pros and cons of each approach and pretty quickly decide that the subgroup approach would be more efficient You suggest that they divide into working groups to develop options for a variety of problems These problems include Discipline How discipline can be carried out in both a fair way and in a way that is viewed as fair by all of the parties involved Understanding How inter racial understanding can be improved at the school Curriculum How the curriculum can be modified so that students of color feel as if they are included in the curriculum Response How the school should respond to future racial incidents if and when they occur Everyone agrees and chooses working groups Questions to consider What options can you identify for each one of these questions think of as many options as possible without making value judgments For help see Option Identification Discipline Understanding Curriculum Response Part Nine Assessing Options After the working groups brainstorm lists of options you ask each group to discuss the costs and benefits of each option and to come up with a preferred option along with a second choice to present to the larger group This proves to be a difficult task as people assess the likely costs and benefits of the options very differently For example one option suggested by people in the curriculum subgroup is to greatly decrease the emphasis on white migration to and expansion

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/simulations/racial_conflict/ana.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Principal Edwards' Scenario
    information on ground rules You agree on things like not interrupting speaking respectfully and keeping the mediation proceeding confidential Ana writes the ground rules down on a big flip chart and posts them on the wall She then asks the dance team students to explain the problem as they see it focusing on their interests not just their positions Sara stands up to speak When I saw those pictures I felt sick It would have been one thing if it were just one incident but we ve put up with a lot I ve been called a nigger several times but when I tell a teacher about it nothing happens A couple of guys on the football team think its funny to make racist jokes and pinch black girls butts When they do stuff like that in class nobody stands up to them including the teachers They just tell them to settle down Plus the curriculum at this school is a joke We spent months talking about the Holocaust but they just glossed over slavery I feel like nobody will listen to me or cares about my history or my concerns Principal Edwards told me to write a letter to the school newspaper but that was just a way to shut me up nobody reads that thing I m not sorry for what I did even if I did get suspended It was the only way I could get people to pay attention to what I had to say Ana asks Sara what changes she would like to see made to address these problems She answers that she and other CARA members would like complaints about racism to be taken more seriously and the perpetrators to be harshly punished She also wants Black and Latino history to take a much more prominent role in history classes Finally she says a much higher number of minority students are being suspended than white students and students of color are being punished more often and more harshly overall than are white students This discrimination must stop she asserts Sara s last request makes you furious You know Agnew s administration is extremely careful about who you punish and how You also feel as if racial problems are being taken seriously Her request for more consideration of minority history might be possible to meet but the curriculum is awfully full already and if material is added that isn t related to standardized tests test scores are likely to go down the repercussions for everyone at the school would be severe Nice idea but the costs are too high you think After Sara speaks other CARA members augment her statement They talk about a history of racism at Agnew beginning when the school was integrated in the 60s and continuing to the present After a while the discussion begins to stray onto racism in the wider city things like racial profiling and police brutality While you admit you weren t aware of any of this you are becoming frustrated because most of these incidents occurred either before you became principal two years ago or in the wider city where you have no jurisdiction As the comments go on and on you begin to seethe These people are living in the past You could be home with your wife and daughter right now if these people would just stop talking Plus a lot of this stuff seems like hearsay to you You wonder how much of it is true Can we move on These comments are irrelevant you blurt out You didn t really mean to say it out loud or so bluntly and you are sorry the moment it comes out of your mouth Sara s mother stands up You see this is exactly the problem she says You won t listen to a word we say Even now that we ve finally gotten your attention you re trying to shut us up There is a problem in this school and in this city and you need to face up to it Look I m sorry I said that you say Of course I want to deal with anything that s bothering you that s my job But the things you re bringing up happened before I became principal at Agnew and the issue of racism in the police department is nothing I have control over I want to make changes but I do not want to endlessly rehash past events There s nothing anyone can do to change those things Plus how can we know how much of what you re saying is true These stories are not verifiable To you your comment sounds calm and rational but it sparks a furious exchange between the white people in the room and CARA Sara stands up and yells at you for calling CARA liars Soon other people are standing and yelling The students and parents of color say they need to be heard The white students and parents say they just want to get on with things Ana lets this go on for a bit but then calls a recess She asks everyone to try to calm down and to come back in 30 minutes Questions to consider What is the role of emotion in conflict Should Ana the mediator allow this much anger to be expressed during the mediation Click here for information on dealing with anger in the mediation process and click here for information on anger and anger management more generally Would it have helped if you had suppressed your anger more than you did See the links above on anger How might you be able to get CARA to understand your point of view or better yet to believe your statement During the break Ana pulls you aside and says that the parents and students from CARA are very angry and have been for a long time and that they ve never gotten a chance to express that anger She assures you that after they get a chance to speak and they feel listened to then you ll be able to move on to problem solving Question How do you feel about this response Is it reasonable Why or why not What do you say to Ana For some biased advice click here You say that that makes sense to you and that you ll be willing to listen if that s part of the total process When everybody reconvenes CARA says that they are done speaking Ana then asks Brian who is representing the white students to speak He says We strongly disagree with the photos that were taken on Halloween Those photos in no way represent how the majority of the students or parents at the school feel Still I feel we need to let that incident go It was a one time thing The boys who did it have apologized and now it is time to move forward The tension at Agnew has gotten out of control We ve always had cliques but now the racial lines are much stronger and hostile I think it s time to do something about this When Ana asks what he thinks should be done he says that he doesn t know but he thinks that maybe some more multi racial activities might be good He says that he is open to any other ideas that come up during the discussion but that he doesn t have anything more to add at this point Next it is your turn to speak You give a quick speech outlining the notes you wrote up the night before You say I realize how wrong it was for those students to dress up in blackface but my hands are tied I can t punish students for incidents that occur off of school grounds Ultimately I agree with the sentiments that the dance team expressed but I can t allow students to cause disturbances The pep rally could have gotten out of control and someone could have gotten hurt If they wanted to protest they could have used another means such as writing an article in the school newspaper or picketing Although I understand that the blackface photos were entirely unacceptable it was only one incident caused by a couple of misguided kids I appreciate the concerns of the students and parents of color but I do not believe that their assertions are correct We take great care in handing out discipline fairly While it is true that students of color are suspended more often than others that is because they violate school rules more often than others We do cover black and Latino history in our history classes as much as we have time for given all of the other requirements and we take racism very seriously in this school That is why we are doing this mediation as a matter of fact The CARA parents sigh loudly in disgust with that statement but don t start yelling again You realize they don t believe you but you are telling the truth What can you do you wonder to get them to understand your point of view Questions to consider In the following week s meeting you will need to begin to address CARA s concerns How are you going to do that For suggestions click here Are there ways in which you could reframe your interests in order to make them more palatable to CARA To learn more about reframing see this essay and these comments by experienced civil rights mediators How might CARA reframe their interests to make them more acceptable to you See these suggestions as well as the links up above on reframing Once everyone is finished talking Ana thanks them again for coming and for hanging in when the going got difficult It is always hard to listen to things you don t agree with Ana says but we need to do that in order to be able to work together Over time hopefully we ll begin to see things in more similar ways Since it is late let s adjourn the meeting and commence again next week Okay Everyone agrees Part Seven Fact Finding A week later you all meet again in the same room People still seem on edge but Ana takes control quickly She reviews the key concerns of each group reframing some of them to make them more palatable and understandable to the other side Each time she goes over one side s list she asks if they agree with her restatement of their concerns and suggestions and they discuss each one until everyone is in agreement The only one that cannot be agreed upon is the unequal discipline question CARA is certain that discipline at Agnew is racially biased while you are certain that it is not The mediator suggests that an outside expert be brought in to study the situation and report to the group This will cost money of course but you agree to pay it as you know that statistics will support your side There is considerable discussion about who to get to do the research The mediator suggests a consultant who has worked with her on other cases and everyone agrees that that person would be acceptable to them Ana says she ll give her a call Usually she can get started pretty soon Ana offers Questions to consider For general information on fact finding in racial conflicts see experts comments on factual disputes and neutral experts The following essays might also provide assistance Fact Finding Factual Disputes Distinguishing Facts from Values and Obtaining Trustworthy Information What does a fact finding consultant need to do to make his or her findings credible to both sides See essays on communicating facts and uncertainty Are there other approaches to fact finding besides hiring an outside consultant What are they For advice see the essay on fact finding Are there other facts in this case that ought to be investigated further by a consultant or other fact finding method If so what are they How might you design a fact finding effort on that those topic s See links above for help Part Eight Brainstorming Options The outside consultant comes back with the results of her research Discipline does seem to be pretty evenly distributed between racial groups at the school she reports Nevertheless the consultant suggests more might be done to involve students and parents in the disciplinary process thereby giving it more credibility and decreasing suspicions Ana suggests that the group consider that option along with others and explains that now that the problems have been identified and analyzed the next step for the group is to consider multiple options for resolving the identified problems There are two ways we can do this Ana says We can all work together taking each issue one at a time Ana says Or we could break into subgroups and have each subgroup work intensely on one set of issues You discuss the pros and cons of each approach and pretty quickly decide that the subgroup approach would be more efficient Ana suggests that you divide into four working groups These include Discipline How discipline can be carried out in both a fair way and in a way that is viewed as fair by all the parties involved Understanding How inter racial understanding can be improved at the school Curriculum How the curriculum can be modified so that students of color feel as if they are included in the curriculum Response How the school should respond to future racial incidents if and when they occur Questions to answer What options can you identify for each one of these questions Think of as many options as possible without yet making value judgments For help see Option Identification Discipline Understanding Curriculum Response Part Nine Assessing Options After the working groups brainstorm lists of options Ana asks each group to discuss the costs and benefits of each option and to come up with a preferred option along with a second choice to present to the larger group This proves to be a difficult task as people assess the likely costs and benefits of the options very differently For example one option suggested by people in the curriculum subgroup is to greatly decrease the emphasis on White migration to and expansion through America in U S history and literature courses and spend much more time focusing on Native American Hispanic and African American history and the role of heroes and writers of color in shaping the United States and its literature White parents oppose this suggestion saying that it would cost a lot of money because it would require the purchase of new books and additional training for teachers The white parents also fear that emphasis would come at the expense of teaching the material that would be tested on standardized tests therefore jeopardizing their students chances of getting into top colleges and or getting advanced placement credit from standardized AP or IB tests After several weeks however and some consultations with district financial officers all of the groups are able to come up with a list of preferred and secondary options to bring forward to the whole group Do your best to assess the costs and benefits of each of the options you listed above For assistance see Costing Discipline Understanding Curriculum Response Part Ten Another Incident It is now the week before the state football game The mediation seems to be going well but it has not come up with firm recommendations yet Student emotions are still high and you are nervous about a possible repeat of the earlier pep rally disturbance After school on Thursday when most of the students have left for the day a group of white students and a group of Latino students start yelling at each other in the halls As the fight escalates one of the Latino students flashes a knife The school police officers have left for the day but a security guard sees the exchange on the security cameras and rushes in With the help of a janitor he breaks up the fight quickly but due to his inexperience he uses too much force He maces several of the students and the janitor manhandles several others No one is seriously hurt but many suffer minor injuries some from the fight itself and others from the security guard s and the janitor s actions When news of the fight gets out parents and students on both sides are outraged White parents say the school isn t doing enough to protect students from dangerous gangs They point out that this is the second weapon found in the school this year On the other hand the Latino parents say that white students are repeatedly ambushing and attacking their children They complain that when fights break out the authorities either treat both sides as if they had an equal part in starting the fight or they treat the Latinos like the aggressors The Latino parents have been unaware of the mediation Most of them speak only Spanish and aren t well connected with the school or aware of school events When Ana reconvenes the mediation group the next day everyone is angry The white parents are angry because they feel like their students are no longer safe at school The minority parents are angry because they feel like their students were never safe at school The students are angry because they feel that the school is getting more and more dangerous yet they are required to attend You feel stuck in the middle which makes you angry Whenever the group tries to start a discussion it breaks down into yelling Soon several people are crying Ana calls a break Questions to Consider What can Ana do to regain control Click here for advice Does mediation still make sense now Do you want to continue the

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/simulations/racial_conflict/principal.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Sara's Scenario
    complaints They tend to treat complaints as if the students are just trying to get attention The administration is willing to make superficial changes like that assembly and a corny diversity day but they are unwilling to make any deep changes Ana listens for more than an hour as people voice their frustrations She records what they say on a big flip chart and posts the list on the wall After all the complaints are listed Ana asks you to decide how you want the problems fixed Although some people still want Edwards fired others agree with Ana s suggestion that the problem is likely not Edwards himself but the system It won t do any good to fire Edwards if the next person is the same or worse it would be better to focus on systemic changes that could be implemented to make the school a safer and more inviting place for all students regardless of who the principal is She encourages you to reconsider your goals reframing them to make them better correspond with your true underlying interests To learn more about reframing see this reframing essay and these comments by experienced civil rights mediators After a lot of discussion the group agrees to make four concrete requests You want the administration to be more responsive to complaints of racism You want the administration to investigate violent incidents more thoroughly and make changes in addition to discipline to assure that all students feel safe at school and to the extent possible in the community You want to include more information about race relations in the United States in the history and literature curricula at Agnew You want to investigate the number of kids being suspended to find out if punishments are being handed out equitably and if they are not make sure the disciplinary system is changed so that it is fair from now on Ana writes down your requests and asks whether she can share them with the other groups Why not you say They re going to hear them soon enough Ana then tells you that Principal Edwards would like CARA to be able to understand his perspective and he wants the dance team and other students of color to agree to stop disrupting school He would also like to change Agnew s reputation as a racist school That will work you say when it stops being a racist school And how about asking the white kids to stop disrupting things by harassing us Well that actually suggests some areas of common ground says Ana You both want disruptions to stop and you want racist actions and attitudes to stop The white students and parents want to reduce the tension and fights at school also which overlaps with your interests as well This is a good basis to start with Ana offers Questions to consider What are the underlying issues in this conflict at this time Have they changed from before Click here for information on identifying issues Do you think the other groups goals for the mediation are reasonable Why or why not Click here for information on analyzing goals Do you see any areas of common ground beyond those already suggested Click here for ideas on commonalities Ana told you that mediation makes everyone at the table equal but it seems to you that the school administration still has much more power than you do Is there anything you can do to even the playing field What Click here for suggestions from mediators about leveling the playing field and or read this essay on empowerment Ana has asked you to prepare an opening statement in which you describe your view of the problem and what you would like to see done to correct it Draft that opening statement below What can you do to make the mediation successful What do you expect Ana to do For a wonderful list of ways people do themselves in in mediation and how to avoid such mistakes click here Part Six Mediation Begins Ana brings all of the parties together the following week after school She thanks everyone for coming and again explains what mediation is and how it works She then asks the participants to help her establish some ground rules for the discussion Question to Consider What ground rules would you suggest Click here for advice Also see the Ground Rules essay on BeyondIntractability org You agree on things like not interrupting speaking respectfully and keeping the mediation proceeding confidential Ana writes the ground rules down on a big flip chart and posts them on the wall Next each group is supposed to state their perspective of the conflict Ana asks you to speak first When I saw those pictures I felt sick It would have been one thing if it were just one incident but we ve put up with a lot I ve been called a nigger several times but when I tell a teacher about it nothing happens A couple of guys on the football team think its funny to make racist jokes and pinch black girls butts When they do stuff like that in class nobody stands up to them including the teachers They just tell them to settle down Plus the curriculum at this school is a joke We spent months talking about the Holocaust but they just glossed over slavery I feel like nobody will listen to me or cares about my history or my concerns Principal Edwards told me to write a letter to the school newspaper but that was just a way to shut me up nobody reads that thing I m not sorry for what I did even if I did get suspended It was the only way I could get people to pay attention to what I had to say Ana asks you what changes you would like to see made in order to address these problems You answer that you and other CARA members would like for complaints about racism to be taken more seriously and for the perpetrators to be harshly punished You also want black and Latino history to take a much more prominent role in history classes Finally you say a much higher number of minority students are being suspended than white students and students of color are being punished more often and more harshly overall than are white students This discrimination must stop you assert When you are finished other members of CARA speak as well You had decided to do it this way at the last meeting You had been afraid that if only one person had the chance to speak that some members of CARA wouldn t have their concerns addressed so you decided to let anyone who wanted to speak do so People talk about a history of racism at Agnew beginning when the school was integrated in the 60s and continuing to the present After awhile the discussion begins to stray onto racism in the wider city things like racial profiling and police brutality You feel proud of your group They re making their points eloquently and you feel pretty sure that most of the people in the room weren t aware of these incidents before now Then you catch a glimpse of Principal Edwards He looks noticeably irritated and is tapping his fingers on the table as if he is impatient or completely disinterested You feared this would happen He never listened to your perspective before why should he now You elbow your mother and point out Principal Edwards expression She shakes her head and tries to figure out something to say Before she says anything though Principal Edwards speaks Can we move on These comments are irrelevant he blurts out Your mother stands up furious You see this is exactly the problem she says You won t listen to a word we say Even now that we ve finally gotten your attention you re trying to shut us up There is a problem in this school and in this city and you need to face up to it Look I m sorry I said that he answers Of course I want to deal with anything that s bothering you that s my job But the things you re bringing up happened before I became principal at Agnew and the issue of racism in the police department is nothing I have control over I want to make changes but I do not want to endlessly rehash past events There s nothing anyone can do to change those things Plus how can we know how much of what you re saying is true There is no way to verify these stories You re so angry that you stand up and begin yelling How dare he accuse CARA of lying Soon more people are standing and yelling The students and parents of color say they need to be heard The white students and parents say they just want to get on with things Finally Ana calls a recess She asks everyone to try to calm down and to come back in 30 minutes Questions to consider What is the role of emotion in conflict Should strong emotions be expressed Why or why not What do you want a mediator to do to control emotions in the room Click here for information on dealing with anger in the mediation process and click here for information on anger and anger management more generally Would it have helped if the principal had suppressed his anger more than he did Could you have done anything to improve the situation or was that not your role During the break Ana pulls your family aside and asks you to tell the rest of CARA that she has spoken with Principal Edwards and that he is willing to hear you out She explains that Principal Edwards is so used to trying to solve problems quickly that he was frustrated with just listening However he understands now that listening is important and is part of the process You doubt that he really understands that but after talking things over with the other CARA participants you decide that you should continue to try We don t want to be blamed for this process falling apart If it is going to fall apart let it be because the administration didn t want to work with us you all agree When everybody reconvenes you say that CARA is done speaking Ana then asks Brian who is representing the white students and parents at Agnew to speak He says We strongly disagree with the photos that were taken on Halloween Those photos in no way represent how the majority of the students or parents at the school feel Still I feel that we need to let that incident go It was a one time thing The boys who did it have apologized and I think that now is the time to move forward instead of dwelling on the past The tension at Agnew has gotten out of control I think it s time to do something about this When Ana asks what he thinks should be done he says that he doesn t know but he thinks that maybe some more multi racial activities might be good He says that he is open to any other ideas that come up during the discussion but that he doesn t have anything more to add at this point Next it is Principal Edwards turn He says I realize how wrong it was for those students to dress up in blackface but my hands are tied I can t punish students for incidents that occur off of school grounds Ultimately I agree with the sentiments that the dance team expressed but I can t allow students to cause disturbances The pep rally could have gotten out of control and someone could have gotten hurt If they wanted to protest they could have used another means such as writing an article in the school newspaper or picketing Although I understand that the blackface photos were entirely unacceptable it was only one incident caused by a couple of misguided kids I appreciate the concerns of the students and parents of color but I do not believe that their assertions are correct We take great care in handing out discipline fairly While it is true that students of color are suspended more often than others that is because they violate school rules more often than others We do cover black and Latino history in our history classes as much as we have time for given all of the other requirements and we take racism very seriously in this school That is why we are doing this mediation as a matter of fact What a bogus answer you think Didn t he hear anything we said You are discouraged but still don t want to be blamed for blocking the process So you wait to see what Ana is going to do next Questions to consider How might you be able to get Principal Edwards to better understand your concerns Are you going to do anything about the situation before the next meeting If so what Are you going to do anything differently during the next meeting If so what Part Seven Fact Finding A week later you all meet again in the same room People still seem on edge but Ana takes control quickly She reviews the key concerns of each group reframing some of them to make them more palatable and understandable to the other side Each time she goes over one side s list she asks if they agree with her restatement of their concerns and suggestions and they discuss each one until everyone is in agreement The only issue that cannot be agreed upon is the one dealing with unequal discipline The administration insists that discipline is handled fairly while CARA is certain it is not Ana suggests hiring an outside neutral expert to investigate the question There is considerable discussion about who to get to do the research Ana suggests a consultant who has worked with her on other cases and everyone agrees to inquire as to whether that person would be willing to help in this case Questions to consider Click here for advice on fact finding from civil rights mediators What does a fact finding consultant need to do to make his or her findings credible to both sides See this set of essays for more general information on fact finding Are there other approaches to fact finding besides hiring an outside consultant What are they Are there other facts in this case that ought to be investigated further by a consultant or other fact finding method If so what are they How might you design a fact finding effort on that those topic s Part Eight Brainstorming Options The outside expert comes back with the results of her research and says that discipline does seem to be pretty evenly distributed between racial groups at the school Nevertheless she suggests more might be done to involve students and parents in the disciplinary process perhaps thereby giving it more credibility Ana suggests that you consider that option along with others and explains that now that the problems have been identified and analyzed the next step for the group is to consider options for resolving the identified problems There are two ways we can do this Ana says We can all work together taking each issue one at a time Ana says Or we could break into subgroups and have each subgroup work intensely on one set of issues You discuss the pros and cons of each approach and pretty quickly decide that the subgroup approach would be more efficient She suggests that you divide into four working groups These include groups looking at Discipline How discipline can be carried out in both a fair way and in a way that is viewed as fair by all of the parties involved Understanding How inter racial understanding can be improved at the school Curriculum How the curriculum can be modified so that students of color feel as if they are included in the curriculum Response How the school should respond to future racial incidents if and when they occur What options can you identify for each one of these questions Think of as many options as possible without yet making value judgments For help see Option Identification Discipline Understanding Curriculum Response Part Nine Assessing Options After the working groups brainstorm lists of options Ana asks each group to discuss the costs and benefits of each option and to come up with a preferred option along with a second choice to present to the larger group This proves to be a difficult task as people assess the likely costs and benefits of the options very differently For example one option suggested by people in the curriculum subgroup is to greatly decrease the emphasis on white migration to and expansion through America in U S history and literature courses and spend much more time focusing on Native American Hispanic and African American history and the role of heroes and writers of color in shaping the United States and its literature White parents oppose this suggestion saying that it would cost a lot of money because it would require the purchase of new books and additional training for teachers The white parents also fear that emphasis would come at the expense of teaching the material that would be tested on standardized tests therefore jeopardizing their students chances of getting into top colleges and or getting advanced placement credit from standardized AP or IB tests After several weeks however and some consultations with district financial officers all of the groups are able to come up with a list of preferred and secondary options to bring forward to the whole group Do your best to assess the costs

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/simulations/racial_conflict/sara.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  • Brian's Scenario
    parties goals She tells you that Principal Edwards would like CARA to be able to understand his perspective and that he wants them to agree to stop disrupting school He would also like to change Agnew s reputation as a racist school CARA has three goals They would like the school administration to take complaints about racism more seriously They also feel that if students at Agnew had a better understanding of the history of slavery in the United States that they would understand why dressing up in blackface with nooses and the KKK was so offensive Finally they believe that a higher number of minority students are being suspended than white students and they would like to make sure that punishments are being handed out fairly Questions to consider What are the underlying issues in this conflict at this time Have they changed from before Click here for information on identifying issues Do you think the other groups goals for the mediation are reasonable Why or why not Click here for information on goals Do you see any areas of common ground Click here for ideas on commonalities Ana told you that mediation makes everyone at the table equal but it seems to you that the school administration still has much more power than anyone else Do you care Is there anything you can do to even the playing field What Click here for suggestions from mediators about leveling the playing field and or read this essay on empowerment Ana has asked you to prepare an opening statement in which you describe your view of the problem and what you would like to see done to correct it Draft that opening statement below What can you do to make the mediation successful What do you expect Ana to do For a wonderful list of ways people do themselves in in mediation and how to avoid such mistakes click here Part Six Mediation Begins Ana brings all of the parties together the following week after school She thanks everyone for coming and again explains what mediation is and how it works She then asks the participants to help her establish some ground rules for the discussion Question to Consider What ground rules would you suggest Click here for advice Also see the Ground Rules essay on BeyondIntractability org You agree on things like speaking respectfully and keeping the mediation proceedings confidential Ana then asks the dance team students to explain the problem as they see it focusing on their interests not just their positions Sara stands up to speak When I saw those pictures I felt sick It would have been one thing if it were just one incident but we ve put up with a lot I ve been called a nigger several times but when I tell a teacher about it nothing happens A couple of guys on the football team think its funny to make racist jokes and pinch black girls butts When they do stuff like that in class nobody stands up to them including the teachers They just tell them to settle down Plus the curriculum at this school is a joke We spent months talking about the Holocaust but they just glossed over slavery I feel like nobody will listen to me or cares about my history or my concerns Principal Edwards told me to write a letter to the school newspaper but that was just a way to shut me up nobody reads that thing I m not sorry for what I did even if I did get suspended It was the only way I could get people to pay attention to what I had to say Ana asks Sara what changes she would like to see made in order to address these problems She answers that she and other CARA members would like complaints about racism to be taken more seriously and the perpetrators to be harshly punished She also wants black and Latino history to take a much more prominent role in history classes Finally she says a much higher number of minority students are being suspended than white students and students of color are being punished more often and more harshly overall than are white students This discrimination must stop she asserts When she is finished other members of CARA get up and speak People talk about a history of racism at Agnew beginning when the school was integrated in the 60s and continuing to the present After awhile the discussion begins to stray onto racism in the wider city things like racial profiling and police brutality You are surprised to hear what they re saying When you think about it you do remember people telling racist jokes in class At the time you had just blown it off You are beginning to see that Sara s and CARA s concerns run much deeper than you thought Then you catch a glimpse of Principal Edwards He looks noticeably irritated and is tapping his fingers on the table Again you are surprised You don t understand why he s angry Can we move on These comments are irrelevant Principal Edwards suddenly blurts out Sara s mother stands up You see this is exactly the problem she says You won t listen to a word we say Even now that we ve finally gotten your attention you re trying to shut us up There is a problem in this school and in this city and you need to face up to it Look I m sorry I said that Principal Edwards says Of course I want to deal with anything that s bothering you that s my job But the things you re bringing up happened before I became principal at Agnew and the issue of racism in the police department is nothing I have control over I want to make changes but I do not want to endlessly rehash past events There s nothing anyone can do to change those things Plus how can we know how much of what you re saying is true These stories are not verifiable Sara stands up and begins yelling Soon more people are standing and yelling The students and parents of color say they need to be heard The other white students and parents in your group say they just want to get on with things Finally Ana calls a recess She asks everyone to try to calm down and to come back in 30 minutes Questions to consider What is the role of emotion in conflict Should Ana the mediator have allowed this much anger to be expressed during the mediation Click here for information on dealing with anger in the mediation process and click here for information on anger and anger management more generally Would it have helped if the principal had suppressed his anger more than he did Could you have done anything to improve the situation or was that not your role During the break Ana pulls you aside and says that the parents and students from CARA are very angry and have been for a long time and that they ve never gotten a chance to express that anger She assures you that after they get a chance to speak and they feel listened to then you ll be able to have your turn That is okay with you though you hope that this process speeds up pretty soon Questions to consider When it is your turn to speak are you going to respond to some of these issues or go on with your planned statement Are there ways that you could reframe your interests to make them more palatable to CARA To learn more about reframing see this essay and these comments by experienced civil rights mediators How might CARA reframe their interests to make them more acceptable to you When everybody reconvenes CARA says that they are done speaking Ana then asks you to speak You say We strongly disagree with the photos that were taken on Halloween Those photos in no way represent how the majority of the students or parents at the school feel Still I feel that we need to let that incident go It was a one time thing The boys who did it have apologized and now it is time to move forward The tension at Agnew has gotten out of control We ve always had cliques but now the racial lines are much stronger and hostile I think it s time to do something about this When Ana asks what you think should be done you say that you don t know but that you think maybe some more multi racial activities might be good You say that you are open to any other ideas that come up during the discussion but that you don t have anything more to add at this point Then it is Principal Edwards turn He says I realize how wrong it was for those students to dress up in blackface but my hands are tied I can t punish students for incidents that occur off of school grounds Ultimately I agree with the sentiments that the dance team expressed but I can t allow students to cause disturbances The pep rally could have gotten out of control and someone could have gotten hurt If they wanted to protest they could have used another means such as writing an article in the school newspaper or picketing Although I understand that the blackface photos were entirely unacceptable it was only one incident caused by a couple of misguided kids I appreciate the concerns of the students and parents of color but I do not believe that their assertions are correct We take great care in handing out discipline fairly While it is true that students of color are suspended more often than others that is because they violate school rules more often than others We do cover black and Latino history in our history classes as much as we have time for given all of the other requirements and we take racism very seriously in this school That is why we are doing this mediation as a matter of fact Part Seven Fact Finding A week later you all meet again in the same room People still seem on edge but Ana takes control quickly She reviews the key concerns of each group reframing some of them to make them more palatable and understandable to the other side Each time she goes over one side s list she asks whether they agree with her restatement of their concerns and suggestions and they discuss each one until everyone is in agreement The only issue that cannot be agreed upon is the one dealing with unequal discipline The administration insists that discipline is handled fairly while CARA is certain that it is not Ana suggests hiring an outside neutral expert to investigate the question There is considerable discussion about who to get to do the research The mediator suggests a consultant who has worked with her on other cases and everyone agrees that person would be acceptable to them Ana says she ll give her a call Usually she can get started pretty soon Ana offers Questions to consider Click here for advice on fact finding from civil rights mediators What does a fact finding consultant need to do in order to make his or her findings credible to both sides See this set of essays for more general information on fact finding Are there other approaches to fact finding besides hiring an outside consultant What are they Are there other facts in this case that ought to be investigated further by a consultant or other fact finding method If so what are they How might you design a fact finding effort on that those topic s Part Eight Brainstorming Options The outside expert comes back with the results of her research and says that discipline does seem to be pretty evenly distributed between racial groups at the school Nevertheless she suggests more might be done to involve students and parents in the disciplinary process perhaps thereby giving it more credibility Ana suggests that you consider that option along with others and explains that now that the problems have been identified and analyzed the next step for the group is to consider options for resolving the identified problems There are two ways that we can do this Ana says We can all work together taking each issue one at a time Ana says Or we could break into subgroups and have each subgroup work intensely on one set of issues You discuss the pros and cons of each approach and pretty quickly decide that the subgroup approach would be more efficient Ana suggests that you divide into working groups to develop options for a variety of problems These problems include Discipline How discipline can be carried out in both a fair way and in a way that is viewed as fair by all of the parties involved Understanding How inter racial understanding can be improved at the school Curriculum How the curriculum can be modified so that students of color feel as if they are included in the curriculum Response How the school should respond to future racial incidents if and when they occur What options can you identify for each one of these questions Think of as many options as possible without making any value judgments For help see Option Identification Discipline Understanding Curriculum Response Part Nine Assessing Options After the working groups brainstorm lists of options Ana asks each group to discuss the costs and benefits of each option and to come up with a preferred option along with a second choice to present to the larger group This proves to be a difficult task as people assess the likely costs and benefits of the options very differently For example one option suggested by people in the curriculum subgroup is to greatly decrease the emphasis on white migration to and expansion through America in U S history and literature courses and spend much more time focusing on Native American Hispanic and African American history and the role of heroes and writers of color in shaping the United States and its literature White parents oppose this suggestion saying that it would cost a lot of money because it would require the purchase of new books and additional training for teachers The white parents also fear that emphasis would come at the expense of teaching the material that would be tested on standardized tests therefore jeopardizing their students chances of getting into top colleges and or getting advanced placement credit from standardized AP or IB tests After several weeks however and some consultations with district financial officers all of the groups are able to come up with a list of preferred and secondary options to bring forward to the whole group Do your best to assess the costs and benefits of each of the options you listed above For assistance see Costing Discipline Understanding Curriculum Response Part Ten Another Incident It is now the week before the state football game The mediation seems to be going well but it has not come up with firm recommendations yet Student emotions are still high and you are nervous about a possible repeat of the earlier pep rally disturbance After school on Thursday when most of the students have left for the day a group of white students and a group of Latino students start yelling at each other in the halls As the fight escalates one of the Latino students flashes a knife The school police officers have left for the day but a security guard sees the exchange on the security cameras and rushes in With the help of a janitor he breaks up the fight quickly but due to his inexperience he uses too much force He maces several of the kids and the janitor manhandles several others No one is seriously hurt but many suffer minor injuries some from the fight itself and others from the security guard s and janitor s actions When news of the fight gets out parents and students on both sides are outraged White parents say the school isn t doing enough to protect students from dangerous gangs They point out that this is the second weapon found in the school this year On the other hand the Latino parents say that white students are repeatedly ambushing and attacking their children They complain that when fights break out the authorities either treat both sides as if they had an equal part in starting the fight or they treat the Latinos like the aggressors The Latino parents have been unaware of the mediation Most of them speak only Spanish and aren t well connected with the school or aware of school events When Ana reconvenes the mediation group the next day everyone is angry The white parents are angry because they feel like their students are no longer safe at school The minority parents are angry because they feel like their students were never safe at school The students are angry because they feel that the school is getting more and more dangerous yet they are required to attend You feel stuck in the middle which makes you angry Whenever the group tries to start a discussion it breaks down into yelling Soon several people are crying Ana calls a break Questions to Consider Should the mediator try to control the anger in the room How might she do that Click here for suggestions Do you want to continue the mediation Why or why not Has yesterday s incident changed your goals at all What needs to be done differently now While everyone is on break Ana meets with some of the group members individually and tries to calm them down When the group reconvenes Ana reminds everyone why you are all there and

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  • Mediator Interview Topic -
    because it was important to tribal leadership and to those nations to establish that they had jurisdiction and that non tribal police did not Silke Hansen Full Interview Topic Top Question You mentioned at one point that the majority of cases don t go to mediation What determines whether a case is appropriate for mediation or not Answer Well for a start you need parties that are identifiable enough so you can say These are the sides Sometimes that is not clear Sometimes there is tension in the community but it is hard to define who exactly the opposing parties are Second you need specific issues that are clearly definable One of the things that s difficult to mediate is for example if there is a court case and a community believes that even bringing the case to court was an injustice or the disposition of it is not fair Usually you can t mediate that So in that case I would look for ways to bring some healing some communication some positive interaction among members of the minority and the majority community I d just try to begin to get some common interests some common goals to deal with race relations in that community in general without going through a formal mediation process Now I m one of those people who starts off every case initially by saying to myself Okay how can I bring this to mediation It helps me from day one minute one to have an agenda in my mind As I m working toward that it may become clear fairly quickly that the case is not going to go to mediation and that s fine But if I start out thinking that it might go to mediation I have a perspective to work from when I approach the parties If that doesn t work then I ask myself Is there some training we can do What other kinds of assistance can we provide Are there some documents I can give them or maybe I can just facilitate some meetings or whatever But usually unless I am asked specifically to come in for some other purpose I ll assume we re trying to initiate mediation Remember the case I was talking about earlier about tax day In that case I was asked to come to facilitate the meeting I ended up facilitating another one similar to that about a month later in the same community And there were some great things that came out of that so it was a very rewarding and beneficial event But that would be an example of where I didn t attempt to go toward mediation even though there were some pretty good outcomes that arose from that particular situation Silke Hansen Full Interview Topic Top Question This discussion brings up another question that has been raised a lot in academic circles Are there some cases that really should be litigated and not mediated For example what would have happened if

    Original URL path: http://www.civilrightsmediation.org/topics/1285.shtml (2016-02-13)
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  •