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Attorney General Fisher & State Bar Association Bring “Peace” to Pennsylvania Schools

HARRISBURG (January 10, 2000) -- Attorney General Mike Fisher and Pennsylvania Bar President Louis N. Teti today launched Pennsylvania’s first Project PEACE program, which works to bring “peace” to Pennsylvania elementary schools, during a two-day school training conference held at the Harrisburg Hilton & Towers, Harrisburg, PA.

“A more peaceful school environment is a more educational school environment,” said Attorney General Fisher. “The ultimate goal of this program is to provide increased learning opportunities for students, thus enabling them to become productive members of our communities and our commonwealth.”

Sponsored through a partnership of the Attorney General’s Office and the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings Through Attorneys, Children and Educators) works to reduce conflict and violence in Pennsylvania’s elementary schools by teaching students how to discuss and mediate disagreements peacefully. Teams of principals, educators, parents and attorneys representing 12 elementary schools from across the commonwealth are part of the Project PEACE training.

“The PBA is pleased to join with the Attorney General in offering this peer mediation program to elementary schools,” said Teti. “We believe that in order for schools to see a significant and lasting reduction in violence and conflict, students must be empowered with the life-skills that promote constructive communication, problem-solving, critical-thinking and self-esteem. Project PEACE offers them such an opportunity.”

The Project PEACE training model was developed by the Temple-LEAP program of the Temple University Beasley School of Law. It initially was created for a program in Indiana and has since been modified to meet the needs of Pennsylvania’s schools. Pennsylvania is the second state in the country to offer this type of peer mediation training to elementary schools.

During the training conference, school teams composed of one administrator, two educators/counselors, one parent and one attorney will be introduced to the peer mediation process through hands-on learning activities. They will receive instruction in such areas as adjudication versus mediation, diffusing conflict situations and the necessary skills of conflict resolution.

By the end of the training, the schools will write their own mediation plans, which are to be introduced to their local schools. Typically, the mediation plan will be presented to key members of the school and at-large communities, including students, educators, central administration members and parents, to gain support. Following the presentation, the school will select and train its student mediators, who are chosen through a nomination/application and interview process. The student mediators then will begin to help fellow students resolve disputes peacefully. Law school students will work with the school throughout the implementation process.

The instructors conducting the Project PEACE training conference are experts in mediation within the courts and schools. The trainers include Dr. Morris Jenkins, Pennsylvania State University Abington campus professor; Mary Ellen Schaffer, principal at Bromberek Elementary School in Lamont, IL; Karla Taylor-Temple, a mediation trainer, Indianapolis, IN; and David Keller Trevaskis, executive director of Temple-LEAP program in Philadelphia.

For more information about the Project PEACE program, see the Pennsylvania Bar Association Web site at [www.pabar.org].


Allegheny County
McKeesport Area School District
Centennial Elementary School

Berks County
Reading School District
12th & Marion Elementary School

Chester County
Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Saints Philip & James School

Clearfield County
Clearfield Area School District
Centre Elementary School

Columbia County
Berwick Area School District
Orange Street Elementary School

Cumberland County
Cumberland Valley School District
Shaull Elementary School

Erie County
Erie School District
Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary School

Luzerne County
Wyoming Valley School District
Dana Elementary Center

Mercer County
Sharon City School District
West Hill Elementary School

Philadelphia School District
George W. Sharswood Elementary School

Westmoreland County
Hempfield Area School District
Maxwell Elementary School