February 19, 1998

WSU's middle school, University Public School, promotes ways to resolve students' disputes

Peace Week March 2-6

Wayne State University's middle school, the University Public School (UPS), will be observing its third annual Peace Week March 2-6.

An assembly for all grades will be held 12:30 p.m.-3:15 p.m. Friday, March 6, and will feature guest speaker Lewis Colson, a former Detroit Police officer. Colson works with youth in Detroit public schools to teach skills needed for conflict mediation.
The school is using a positive approach to resolve student conflict by rewarding peaceful management of disputes. During Peace Week, students will elect Peace Makers for their grades, create original peace messages and participate in an ice cream social if they have "kept the peace" during the week.

Teachers will plan activities that focus on appropriate ways to deal with peace and conflict. The Conflict Resolution subcommittee, developed by the student services team, sponsors other activities during the school year to promote the concept of peace. In December Lewis Colson provided in-service training for the faculty, followed by meetings with each grade level to solve particular conflict problems.

Some of the issues he addressed were what ways can lessen children's interest in joining gangs; how can teachers help children save face without fighting; how to handle students who have difficulty seeing female teachers as authority figures; and what can teachers do to help children become more responsible. Sixth-grade student Bryan Latta was last year's peace message winner. His message was, "Before you use humor, be sure it's not a rumor."

Roxanne Barzone Clover, chairwoman of the Conflict Resolution sub-committee, says, "We hope to reach everyone in the UPS community with our activities. Ideally, all of us are always in the process of learning new and more effective ways to manage conflict. As adults, the more skillful we become at keeping the peace, the more resources we have available to teach our children. If we don't do it, who is going to?"

Other committee members include Anne Marszalek, certified pediatric nurse practitioner, and Professor Hertha Gast, both of the WSU College of Nursing, and Karen Saunders, UPS sixth-grade social studies teacher.
For more information call the school office at (313) 964-1400.

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