Research shows that pupils who do engage in aggressive behaviour have limited knowledge and social skills in resolving conflicts in a constructive manner. The standard response of these pupils to conflict is either withdrawing or forcing a situation.
A well conducted peer mediation program teaches children and young people alternative strategies to aggression and withdrawal that instead promote constructive communication and a safe school environment (Stomfay-Stitz, 1994; Sim, Whiteside, Dittner, & Mellon, 2006; Smith- Sanders & Harter, 2007)
Extensive research (incl. review papers) on peer mediation programs show that they are indeed successful in improving school climate by teaching students to constructively deal with conflict. This in turn reduces student-to-student conflict as well as suspensions and discipline referrals, and further improves relationships between peers as well as between pupils and teachers – creating a healthy school climate.
Results from peer mediation programs show that when conflict arises and is dealt with by a peer mediator, there is around a 90% agreement rate and satisfaction of outcome by pupils.
Similarly, teachers and parents are also highly satisfied with the outcomes of mediation sessions (Johnson & Johnson, 1996; Cardells & Van Slyck, 1999; McHenry, 2000: Burrell et al. 2003, Harris, 2005).