New Mediation Program at Loy Norrix Helps Students Talk Things Out

meelahwilliams

Photo Credit / Breonna Burnside  Mr. Burnside (right) and Mr. Barry (left) discuss previous mediations.
Photo Credit / Breonna Burnside
Mr. Burnside (right) and Mr. Barry (left) discuss previous mediations.

“We don’t tell students how to resolve their problems, they come up with solutions and write up a mediation agreement themselves,” said Barry Burnside, the head of the mediation program. The mediation program is a program here at Loy Norrix High School that helps students and their peers build better relationships and learn how to communicate better with each other instead of resorting to physical altercation.

This mediation program has been in Kalamazoo since 1998 and its run out of Gryphon Place which is a place in Kalamazoo where you can go for help with problems ranging from suicide prevention services to mediation. This program is also in local middle schools such as Milwood Middle School.

“When I was growing up, I didn’t talk things out with other students, I just punched them in the nose,” said Burnside with a laugh, “but all the talking, texting, and the things people post on the internet these days causes more problems than we had back then, and with the program we’re trying to build a culture and community of sympathy and peace.”

Burnside is assisted in the program by Clifford Barry, Mary Fazzini, and Richard Brunson, together they make up a team to help kids solve their issues with each other. Burnside makes sure to check up on students 2 to 3 weeks later and 95 percent of the students so far have stuck to their agreements.

You can easily make an appointment if you feel like you need mediation by going down to the A wing office and setting up a date, and if you aren’t sure where the A wing office is, you can stop by the main office and fill out a mediation request form.  Burnside and the mediation team are excited to get more cases and help students get their issues solved the right way.