“Adrianna” was a new student at Morse High School in Southeastern San Diego. Being the new girl is always difficult, and Adrianna had an even tougher time because she did not understand the social norms on the new campus. Adrianna stood out and soon became the target of bullying.
“Melissa,” a student at Morse known to stir up trouble, had a large group of friends. These friends noticed that Adrianna did not fit in, and began targeting her. Known for being a good fighter, Melissa felt pressured and compelled by the other girls to fight Adrianna.
Melissa did initiate a fight with Adrianna and as a result, both girls ended up injured and in trouble.
That’s when they received a referral from the school to work with the National Conflict Resolution Center (NCRC) to talk about the incident and work to fix the harm they had caused. Through a restorative process, led by the NCRC, Adrianna and Melissa met to resolve their conflict and determine how to move ahead in a positive, forward-looking manner. Their families, school faculty and community members were invited to be a part of the process.
Ultimately, Melissa took responsibility for the fight and apologized to Adrianna and her family. She opened up, saying that she did not have an adult at home to talk to and that her friends encouraged her to misbehave. To work to fix the harm she had caused, Melissa decided that she could volunteer in the community and help develop a bullying awareness training for schools. Melissa also stopped spending time with her former friends.
Through the process, the two girls managed to over-come the challenges of bullying, even in the face of violence and pressure from peers. Both Adrianna and Melissa reported that the meeting was a positive experience. Neither girl felt blamed for the fight and both felt their voices had been heard. Melissa is now spending time with a healthier group of friends, and Adrianna has moved on to a new school for a fresh start.
The National Conflict Resolution Center is a San Diego based non-profit agency that is founded on and grounded in community empowered solutions. Through capacity building trainings, community mediation services, collaborative partnerships and restorative justice, NCRC is supporting residents in finding grass-roots solutions to public safety issues.
This summer a cohort of students from Lincoln, Crawford and Hoover High Schools will participate in advanced restorative practices training and implementation, learn community organizing and advocacy through a series of trainings with the Mid City Community Action Network, practice restorative community building circles to create safe and supportive communities, and be trained as Restorative Student Trainers. Then, in early August, these Restorative Student Trainers will lead a 2 day restorative workshop for Knox Middle School students so that they can create a restorative program on their campus, as well. Sponsorship opportunities are available to support the youth leaders in this intensive restorative summer program.
Another strategy for decreasing crime and recidivism is learning how to manage conflict before it escalates into violence. Join us for a free, two-day “hands-on” training in communication and conflict management strategies called The Exchange, Strategies for Managing Conflict in the Community.
The Exchange, Strategies for Managing Conflict in the Community
August 16th and 17th
Center for Community Cohesion
220 Euclid, Suite 110
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Article submitted by Ashley Virtue, Director of External Relations for the National Conflict Resolution Center