Marquette Alger
Resolution Service
The path to productive dispute resolution.

Youth Programs

Marquette Alger Resolution Service is a non-profit organization servicing the communities within Marquette and Alger Counties since 1993.  We strive to meet the needs of or community in part by helping youth and students in conflict. We are dedicated to enhancing the peaceful resolution and promoting the use of appropriate alternative dispute resolution and collaborative problem solving processes that emphasize cooperation, collaboration, and communication.

Special Education

The Michigan Special Education Mediation Program (MSEMP) is a federally funded project of the Michigan Department of Education – Office of Special Education

These services are provided at no cost to families and schools

IEP Facilitation

Facilitation can help the parties involved to develop the best educational program for their circumstances. The Facilitator assists with communication so everybody can focus on resolving issues.

A facilitator can:

  • Ensure that everyone has a chance to speak
  • Ensure that all concerns and ideas are recorded and considered,
  • Help resolve differences of opinion that arise at the table

IEP team leaders can ask facilitators to manage meetings so they can concentrate on the issues and the discussion. Leaders and members alike may find a facilitator useful in keeping meetings productive and organized.

With a facilitator, IEP Team members can more effectively:

  • Focus on the issues and student benefits
  • Make better use of each others’ knowledge and expertise
  • Address conflict constructively and generate creative options
  • Manage the use of the meeting time

Mediation

Mediation is more like a conversation than a legal proceeding. It’s designed to be informal, less time consuming and less stressful that an investigation, a hearing or a trial. It also has the following advantages:

  • It’s voluntary.
    There is no requirement to use the service or reach an agreement if you do. Other means of dispute resolution are always available. Both the parents and the school must agree to mediate before the MSEMP can provide a mediator.
  • It’s free.
    The cost of the mediation service is covered by the MSEMP.
  • It’s confidential.

Training and Presentations

Workshops on conflict resolution and collaborative communication are available to parents, educators, and service providers.

For more information about Special Education Services, please visit: https://msemp.cenmi.org/about

 

To request services please visit: https://msemp.cenmi.org/node/add/request-form

 

MSEMP Statistics:

  • 80% Mediation Agreement
  • 90% User Satisfaction
  • Average Resolution Time = Less than 1 Month

Peer Mediation Program

MARS Peer Mediation program is a school wide system that addresses minor conflicts between K-12 students.  Common outcomes of a peer mediation are that students will be able to come to a deeper understanding of their peers’ feelings and needs, repair harm if needed and agree on a plan to proceed. Peer mediation participants benefit from useful skills that translate into everyday life skills such as:

  • learning to listen
  • problem solving
  • understanding and recognizing conflict
  • participating in a productive and informal meeting
  • working out differences and problems
  • developing a plan to move forward

School Truancy Program

MARS School truancy program is designed to address the core issues of students who are having truancy issues.  We do this through a school truancy conference. 

How it works:

  • The process is voluntary
  • The meeting typically involves: school staff, students, family members, involved parties and guardians. 
  • The program addresses all issues regarding truancy
  • Participants take responsibility for the issues involved, and write a clear plan that all participants agree on.  

Restorative Justice Mediation and Conferencing

Restorative Justice Mediation is a pro-active process designed to help schools address students who break the school code of conduct or are in conflict with another student or adult. In 2016, The Michigan Rethink Discipline bills were passed (Public Acts 360-366). The new laws end state-mandated expulsions for everything except firearms.

 

  • School districts must consider using restorative practices as an alternative or in addition to suspension or expulsion under this act. According to the law, restorative practices should be the first consideration to remediate offenses such as interpersonal conflicts, bullying, verbal and physical conflicts, theft, damage to property, class disruption, and harassment and cyberbullying.

 

  • School districts must consider each of the following factors before ANY suspension (even 1 day) or expulsion):
  1. The pupil’s age.
  2. The pupil’s disciplinary history.
  3. Whether the pupil is a student with a disability.
  4. The seriousness of the violation or behavior committed by the pupil.
  5. Whether the violation or behavior committed by the pupil threatened the safety of any pupil or staff member.
  6. Whether restorative practices will be used to address the violation or behavior committed by the pupil.
  7. Whether a lesser intervention would properly address the violation or behavior committed by the pupil                                                                                                                           

How it works:

  • In situations where students would typically be subject to a consequence such as expulsion/suspension, detention or other disciplinary action, students are offered an alternative way to repair the harm that has been done.
  • Students that are willing to accept their responsibility and part in the offense, are offered the opportunity to participate in a Restorative Justice Mediation.
  • At the mediation, students work together to find solutions and work out an agreement to help heal the harm. 
  • Students realize that refraining from poor decisions creates a favorable future where self-worth and value in our community can be re-established.   
  • The Restorative Justice process has been shown to help keep children in school, reduce risk, and create a positive community that moves towards peaceful conflict resolution and compassion for each other.

Common issues in Restorative Justice mediation are: 

  • Academic performance, belittling/taunting, money/theft/property damage, physical altercation, policy violation, rumor/gossip, social media/harassment/web posts, threats/harassment, truancy/school attendance and verbal altercation.