Some local high school students are getting special training to help with conflict mediation among their peers.The program is designed to help keep trouble students out of the court system.
These students at Manual High School are conducting their own form of court, a peer jury with a goal of restoring young offenders.
"You're helping other students become aware of their actions and what they've done to not only harm themselves , but harm people around them," said Manual Senior Grace Figgers.
Under a MacArthur Foundation Grant Manual High school and the Children's Home want to decrease the numbers of students going to the Peoria county juvenile detention Center...and Peer Jury is one of several measures underway.
"In the past we found out that disciplinary procedures were not being followed. This is a win win situation. To become a peer juror you have to walk the walk and talk the talk, so you can't be messing around if you are giving advice to kids to make better decisions themselves," said Children's Home employee Holly Snyder.
Since the program began three years ago Snyder says 50 students have been trained and they've heard over 180 cases.
Administrators say the program has been so successful that the number of fights and suspensions are down here at the high school.
Manual Assistant Principal Taunya Jenkins says the atmosphere inside the school is different now.
"A lot of times these things are more affective, they're not always just by your numbers and our numbers for suspension overall are going down," she said.
Participation in the eight week program is voluntary and students say there are not a lot a repeat offenders.
"People do the same stuff but nobody usually comes back after they been here, "said Manual Junior Jake Stephens.
They hope the students they help come back for peer training to help provide more positive examples in and outside of school.