Should a teacher break up a fight?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jlaney22, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Jlaney22

    Jlaney22 Rookie

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    Sep 5, 2012

    Are we legally obliged to break up a physical fight? If not, what do we need to do? Have you ever been in this position? What did you do?
     
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  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I don't know about the legalities, but I broke up a lot of fights when I taught high school. I was probably young and stupid, but I just waded in there and they backed off. The scariest one was a knife fight outside my room. I ran out when I heard screaming and there was a girl on the ground with two boys above her with knives. I was lucky - they turned and ran. Second scariest was a baseball bat fight but I have had a good teacher voice from the beginning and they dropped the bats when I demanded it. Thirty years later, I might not do it again....
     
  4. Jlaney22

    Jlaney22 Rookie

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    Everyone seems to hold a different view on this topic, and that is probably why I had so much trouble finding a single definitive answer. A knife fight?! Yikes! You are very lucky that they responded to your presence and stopped! Do you think you being a male/female played a role in the reaction given by students? I am a young female teacher at the high school level and doubt I would get that lucky! Thank you for your response!
     
  5. treefrogs

    treefrogs Rookie

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    I know of teachers (a while back while I was doing my internships) who were bitten or had blood from a student get on them. They had to go through HIV/Hepatitis screening. It's easy to just let your peacemaker/protective instinct kick in and break-up a fight, however that can be pretty dangerous. I would ask what the procedures are in your district.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  7. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I have--even though they were at the elementary and both were in hs. I feel that it is my job to protect students, even if it means stepping between two stupid ones.
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Fanatic

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    It is our policy not to unless we are specifically trained to do so. We just tell them to stop (repeatedly) and call for security while ensuring other students are at a safe distance.
     
  9. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    Check with your district, but most likely you are legally protected in your right to NOT break up a fight, especially in older grades where the kids are likely yo be bigger/stronger than you.

    In my district, unless you are trained to do it, then you aren't protected from any repercussions. So if you get hurt, it's your own fault. If you pull a student back and they fall anf crack their head, you're liable.

    That said, I don't have the ability to just stand by, so I've jumped in to break up a few fights. The kids always stopped, but I always knew the kids involved and trusted them to not hit me. If I didn't know the kids, I'd probably just call for help from our response team.
     
  10. McParadigm

    McParadigm Companion

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    I worked in at least one place where, if we didn't break up fights, there'd never have been any school. They had this big idea about desegregating the city...all the north-east schools were black, the south-east schools were Latino, and the west side schools were white. The problem was, this meant bussing the north gangs (offshoots of Bloods and Crips and all that) down into the schools populated by the south gangs (Latin Kings, mostly). Crimminy, what a couple of years! A fight a day almost, many involving four or more people. There were a few massive cafeteria rumbles, lots of after school problems, two students expelled for bringing guns to school, three kids suspended for knives, and two fires.

    A lot of real quality learning went on, I'll tell you. (...)
     
  11. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    This is a tough question with a varying answer. I think it depends on a lot of things. How violent is the fight? Are you, the teacher, a male or female? (I say that because in regards to certain situations a male has to be a lot more careful because any amount of force used to restrain could be seen as over-doing it. Not to mention a male teacher restraining a female student, I wouldn't touch that in a million years.)

    So in my opinion it would be a case by case basis. If I saw two kids having a fist fight, probably, unless it was extremely vicious. In all likely-hood I wouldn't step into group fights, I would call for help, and I wouldn't touch fights with weapons. However, if I had the opportunity and one kid had a weapon and was going for an unarmed student - I may - in the spur of the moment consider some extreme force to take out the weapon-wielding student.
     
  12. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I don't break up fights. The last school where I worked I would call security, then go across the hall to get the 6'4'' male teacher who would come in and handle it.
     
  13. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    Like the PP, it depends on how violent the fight is. If they are just shoving and mouthing then yes. A few years ago, a kid came in between classes and said there's a fight in the other room. I walked over there and one boy was beating the crap out of the other kid. I walked out of the room and called for the coach down the hall.
     
  14. blazer

    blazer Groupie

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    Yes I have been in that position. Obout 3 weeks into my first teaching post. Walked into the changing rooms for the Gym to find two year 10 boys (9th grade in your money) fighting whilst the rest of the class urged them on. Insyinctivly I grabbed both boys by the hair and pulled them apart then held them (still by the hair) at arms length until they stopped swinging. However that was 23 years ago.
     
  15. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    In my little world of Pre-Kindergartners, I have stopped a lot of fights. I had to stop two little girls from a hair pulling one, some boys from throwing stuff at each other, a kid hitting their parent; :eek:hmy:and he just stood there, and some other ones that were hilarious.
    In the High School situation, I think that you, as the teacher has to stop any fights by all means. You are the one in charge, SO you have to stop it before it gets worse. You need to show that you have the class under control, and you are cool, calm, and collected. Taking an extra course to learn how to handle fights, would be an extra effort on your part, and you will be prepared. Do the extra, and you'll be happier.
    What are your obligations as stated by your handbook?
    Rebel1
     
  16. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    For a standard fight, I would not get physically involved until I had back up, but I would yell at them to stop and get the other students to move away. I remember being told that if you have to get kids to stop fighting, yell to the kid that appears to be losing to end it - he or she is going to be more likely to want to get out of there.

    However, if I saw someone getting seriously hurt, I would have to jump in. I wouldn't even think about it.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't break up physical fights. Period.
     
  18. linswin23

    linswin23 Comrade

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    Part of my wants to dive right in and break it up, but I'm kind of small and don't want to get hurt/involved, so I don't. Luckily my school doesn't have many fights.
     
  19. treefrogs

    treefrogs Rookie

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    Again, I know of secondary teachers who have sustained serious injuries from breaking up fights. Ask your admin, and union. I have a friend who sustained spinal cord injuries and her school claimed she was liable because it's against policy for a teacher to break-up a fight. I'm pretty tiny, so I know that I would be in a dangerous situation if I got in the middle of a fight.
     
  20. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Aficionado

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    I can easily see breaking up a fight between K-4 grade. Those kids seem tiny, I feel that I could break it up to save some injuries.
    However in middle school or high school I wouldn't. First of all it's a great way to lose your job. You would have to go through lengthy explanations of how the child's safety was your concern, and they could still come back and say that you put your hands on them, and caused more injury.
    Kinda crazy, but could happen.

    We have fights quite a lot. (10-12 grade). But luckily they never involve guns, knives or any kinda weapons (the kids have no possessions), they're the old fashioned fist fights. The teachers are supposed to yell 'cover' and the kids are trained to drop on their knees, face on floor, arms over head. Because that's all we need to do, if a teacher tried to break one up, they'd get in even bigger trouble. (if students could be trained to do this in regular schools, a lot of problems could be solved)

    I actually diffuse fights by moving closer, and slightly raise my voice, telling them to sit down. It's just a reaction, not a good one, but always works.
     
  21. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    I wouldn't even break up fights between some of my elemetary students.
     

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