FSMN’s Conflict Resolution Program has been in operation since the school opened in 1988. Drawing on Quaker commitment to nonviolence, staff developed the program to help students and all community members learn how to make peace rather than resort to violence. The program uses three elements that are integrated into the daily life of the school.
- Conferences—meetings to address misunderstandings and conflicts between two or more individuals. One half-hour is set aside each day for conferences.
- Group gatherings—meetings to address issues affecting an entire group. Individual classrooms have regular group gatherings, which focus on community problem solving.
- Modeling by adults is integral to the program. When the entire community is using the same program, it permeates the behavioral and ethical life of the school.
Conflicts are best handled by those directly involved. For example, if your child is upset with another child, the two students need to talk. Please encourage your child to make use of this process when conflict, a natural dimension of human interactions, arises.
Conflict Resolution and Problem Solving by Adult Community Members
Quaker values and practice guide the way all of us at FSMN—students, staff and parents—practice communicating, problem solving and resolving misunderstandings and conflicts. We do so by attempting to communicate clearly, simply and respectfully.
Instead of listening only to evaluate and react, we try to listen to hear and respond appropriately. In other words, we want to ensure the process of conflict resolution we teach children at FSM also guides the way adults in our community communicate with each other.
Misunderstandings and conflicts naturally arise whenever people interact, and, given that inevitability, we want to commit ourselves to handling these kinds of issues directly at the level at which they occur and with the people directly involved in them.
For instance, if a parent/guardian has a problem or conflict with a teacher, our expectation is that the staff member and parent(s)/guardian will attempt to resolve it cooperatively.
If an issue cannot be satisfactorily resolved at that level, it may then be brought to the assistant head of school for resolution. The decision of the assistant head of school in these matters should ordinarily be considered final.
An issue of this nature, however, can be brought to the head of school if and only if the assistant head of school and the parent(s)/guardian involved mutually agree to do so and both parties agree to be part of the conference and abide by any further decision reached mutually and respectfully.