The impact of the student conflict resolution program in the Dallas Public Schools
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The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the student conflict resolution program in the Dallas Public Schools and add to the current research base in the field. The study followed guidelines established by Lam (1989). Six pilot schools in the Dallas Public Schools participated in the study. Two high schools; experimental and control, two middle schools; experimental and control, and two elementary schools; experimental and control. These schools were matched by the Research and Evaluation Department in the DPS with the At-Risk Indices, examining gender, SES, and ethnicity. There were 112 student subjects and 25 school personnel (i.e., principals, counselors and teachers). All student subjects pre-post-tested on conflict style measures, attitudinal questionnaires, school climate surveys, and a self-concept scale. School personnel pre-post-tested on a conflict style measure and a school climate survey. The experimental students received in training peer mediation and conflict resolution; the control students did not. The independent variables were: treatment with two levels; experimental and control, education with three levels; elementary, middle and high school and gender; male and female. The dependent variables were: attitude, conflict styles, school climate and self-concept. T-tests, F-tests, and chi-square measures did not reveal any significant results except for grade level in a 2 x 2 x 3 ANOVA with the dependent variable school climate. Possible reasons for this significance were developmental factors, older students being more aware of chaos and violence in their immediate environment, and the false sense of security of younger children that adults will "fix" the problem. Although, this study was not heavily weighted with significant results, this investigator like others in the field of conflict resolution, (McDaniel, 1992; Ellsworth, 1993; Bickmore, 1993 & Kmitta, 1995), continues to support its efficacy in assisting trained student mediators in resolving conflicts in their immediate environments.