WEST PLAINS -- Approximately 145 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students and their sponsors from the south-central region of Missouri, including students from Couch School, attended a peer mediation training workshop in early June at Southwest Missouri State University in West Plains.The workshop in its third year is designed to teach students how to help their fellow students resolve conflicts without violence."In response to the present concern about teenage violence, many schools are implementing peer mediation programs, which teach resolution of conflicts through good communication techniques," explained Kay Garrett, assistant professor of communications at SMSU-WP and one of the workshop's organizers. "At the camp students were trained to mediate their peers when conflicts arise. Students involved in conflicts at school may request mediation by one of these trained students or may be referred to mediation by another student. Together with their peer mediators the students work to find a solution they can accept in order to resolve their conflict," Garrett said.Garrett pointed out that peer mediation programs have been started throughout the country and reports indicate these programs have significantly reduced the number of physical fights on school grounds she added.The three-day workshop was hosted by SMSU-WP and the 37th Judicial Circuit Juvenile Office. It was led by Gary Hillebrand, a certified peer program educator from Kansas City.