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September 10th, 2019 - 11:00 AM
Blanche, Liza, Jasper and the mediator spent half an hour in Blanche's office prior to the mediation.
Liza began, A heads up, mediators: we musn't force them to talk--rather there should be a way to urge out of them exactly what...
...Blanche interrupted. This group of kids is not anxious to tell us anything. I've been dealing with these youngsters for 20 years now. I say good luck. We tried to get some of the parents in, but they rarely show, you know. Lives are in too much chaos.
They do trust me, said Liza.
And trust is like gold, Jasper added. Let's build on that.
We do have specific steps we can take, said Nana Price, the mediator, and Liza wondered why her parents gave her a grandmother's name. She was all of 25, Liza guessed.
Yes, said Blanche, and we thank you for printing them out for us. We can keep these in front of us and roughly try to follow them. But there will be two new people--to them--in the room, so introductions will be crucial. Liza, you can show them you trust the Reverend and Ms. Price. Liza knew it would be easy to show them her trust of Jas, but of young Nana? She was an unknown entity.
Let's review the steps, said Jasper. While I don't know these kids, I think my blackness will help them trust me. And I thought to ditch the collar, since I don't want to intimidate. Let's see. Here they are: 1) introductory remarks, 2) statement of the problem by the parties, 3) information gathering time, 4) identification of the problems, 5) bargaining and generating options, and 6) reaching an agreement. So at the end of the day, we want to agree to no more weapons, no more fussing in the classroom. Yes?
Yes, said Liza, and hopefully this event will be a pebble in the lake that'll ripple out to their families and into the neighborhood.
Don't get your expectations up too high, Blanche said. This is a violent place.