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Project PEACE Training Conference Held

CAMP HILL (February 22, 2002) - Attorney General Mike Fisher and Pennsylvania Bar Association President H. Reginald Belden Jr. hosted participants from 12 state elementary schools as part of the third annual Project PEACE (Peaceful Endings through Attorneys, Children and Educators) training Feb. 21-23, 2002. Pennsylvania is the second state to feature this program in an effort to reduce school violence.

Project PEACE was developed by the LEAP Kids program to teach elementary school children to peacefully resolve conflicts with fellow students. During the three-day training session, teams of principals, educators, parents, counselors and attorneys took part in role-playing activities to teach conflict resolution skills and to develop mediation programs at their individual schools.

“Project PEACE has been a success in schools throughout the Commonwealth,” Fisher said during an announcement at the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel and Convention Center in Camp Hill. “Conflict with peers can cause children to fear school. This program eliminates those anxieties and restores a safe and healthy learning environment.”

“The PBA is pleased to join with Attorney General Fisher in offering this peer mediation program to elementary schools again this year,” said PBA President Belden. “Over the past two years we have seen how Project PEACE can make a difference in Pennsylvania schools. The schools had a reduction in violence and conflict, and their students were empowered with important life-skills that promote self-esteem and problem-solving. We are anxious for this year’s group of schools to gain the same opportunities.”

Highlights of this year’s program included mock mediations by students from Shaull Elementary School in Enola and Steele Elementary School in Harrisburg. The students demonstrated actual mediations that they performed as part of the Project PEACE program adopted in their schools. The training session also included exercises in constructive conflict communication, problem solving and critical thinking.

“These mock mediations are important because students in these schools will use this form of conflict resolution to discuss problems peacefully,” Fisher said.

By the end of the training session schools wrote their own mediation plans and to be introduced to their school boards and student bodies. Since Project PEACE was brought to Pennsylvania two years ago, dozens of elementary schools have utilized the program to resolve conflict situations in their schools.

The elementary schools participating in this year’s training session are located in: Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Jefferson, Lancaster, Monroe, Montgomery, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Snyder and Westmoreland counties. For more information about Project PEACE, visit the PBA Web site at www.pabar.org.