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Wakefield starts peer mediation program

POSTED September 4, 2009 11:34 p.m.
Playing handball, climbing the jungle gym and jumping in the hopscotch squares is all a part of the fun at recess. Sometimes though, there can be a little rough housing or miscommunication on the playground that can lead to a conflict. This is where the Wildcat Rangers step in to help solve the problems.  
The Wildcat Rangers program is a new way to help build character offered at Wakefield Elementary through peer-mediation. The program is starting up next week.  
“The goal is to try to help the students be problem solvers and figure things out on their own without fighting,” said Luisa Salinas, assistant principal of Wakefield Elementary.  
The idea for this program was brought by Salinas from her previous school, with some minor adjustments for Wakefield. The program is also a part of the curriculum for character building to help the students make right choices, be honest and be respectful.   
To become a Wildcat Ranger, the students must be nominated by their teacher, Salinas said. The students must show great responsibility and must be in fourth, fifth or sixth grade.  
After being nominated, parents are asked permission for their children to be a part of this program, she said. Then they go through a week of training to learn how to not be biased, only listen to the facts and create a win-win situation for all students in the conflict.  
The Wildcat Rangers went through training last week and then they decide if they want to be committed to this program, Salinas said. There are about 35 students in the program for this tri-mester, 15 in fourth grade and 20 in fifth and sixth grades.  
“They will be role models for the other students to make good decisions,” she said.  
Every week there will be different Wildcat Rangers patrolling during recess time. They will have a rotating schedule so only four Wildcat Rangers will be on duty for each week. This will give the chance for the students in the program to enjoy recess when they aren’t on duty.  
“I am very excited because the kids need to learn to approach different situations they encounter every day and learn to solve their own problems,” she said.  
To contact Maegan Martens e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015. 
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