Counselor to teachers: Get students talking to resolve conflicts

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2000

To students, image is everything.

That’s the message Edward Brown, a clinical social worker and counselor, delivered to a a group of public school teachers Tuesday.

Brown is speaking to teachers on conflict resolution and mediating this week as the Natchez-Adams School District prepares to begin school Thursday.

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When dealing with students, teachers need to resolve the problem and also &uot;save the image of both parties,&uot; he said.

The training is funded by a grant from Adams County Families First, a local arm of youth court which is funded by the Department of Human Services.

Families First Director Mary Jane Gaudet said youth court officials have seen conflict resolution sessions help juveniles who were given a court order to attend.

So Families First wanted to offer the same training to the teachers.

&uot;Having been a classroom teacher myself, I think any help I can get from anyone is extremely valuable,&uot; Gaudet said. &uot;We can’t get the kids to learn if there’s violence in the classroom.&uot;

Talking about conflict resolution can improve the school climate, Gaudet added.

Brown told a group of McLaurin teachers Tuesday to help the students talk about the conflict.

&uot;I don’t care what it’s about – you got to get (them) talking,&uot; he said.

And for repeat offenders, teachers need to show consistency so they will know the boundaries, Brown said.

McLaurin librarian Kathy King said she thought the seminar would be useful to school staff.

&uot;It’s certainly something we need,&uot; she said &uot;We witness conflict everyday. A lot of what he’s saying makes sense. I like what he said about trying to protect and preserve the image of both parties.&uot;

Assistant Principal Lorraine Franklin said she thinks thinks seminars like this will benefit the school.

&uot;I think it’s going to be helpful because the key thing he said was consistency,&uot; Franklin said.

Gaudet said Families First wants to do more seminars dealing with students and conflict resolution in the school district this year, including a class for students on peer pressure.