Student Fights!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Math, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. Math

    Math Cohort

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    If you were in your classroom and a fight broke out.. what would you do?

    Would you buzz the main office to get a Hall Monitor?
    Or
    Would you go out and try to stop it?

    The reason I ask last year when I was in 8th Grade.. my Social Studies teacher said he would not break up a fight if he saw one. He said he would buzz the office and watch it. :confused: he said he would only attempt to break it up if the student was in danger or another staff member was in danger.

    Also do you agree?
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Hey Math - it would depend on a couple of things. First, there are often pretty strict rules about that sort of thing, especially if breaking up the fight meant a teacher having to pull students away from each other or otherwise get in the middle of it physically. Sometimes administrators are specially trained to get involved in situations like this to make sure that the students are safe.

    Most of the time, an adult should not simply stand by and watch it, but try to help - whether that meant moving other students out of the classroom, trying to talk to the students to help them calm down, or something like that.

    Do you think you teacher meant that he would wait for help because it would not be appropriate for him to physically separate the kids?
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I yell for them to stop, and that's typically enough to stop it. I send a kid to get someone from the office. I've only had a couple of fights in my room, and in each instance the assistant principal (next door) heard me yell and came over.

    I never touch kids in a fight. We're told not to.
     
  5. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Like Ima, I would yell for them to stop and call security. We are told to not try to break it up for our own safety. This past October one of my coworkers was accidentally punched by a girl when she went closer to them to try to get them to stop fighting. She now has issues with her jaw which is causing her pain and causing the school costs in workers compensation for time off for doctor's appointments.

    I personally haven't had a classroom fight in the past two years. The fights tend to be in the hallway and if I hear one I go to the closest classroom and call security and then focus mainly on getting the spectators to go to class.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We don't have hall moniters.

    I would send a kid flying to the office, another for other teachers, while I started breaking up the fight.

    Knock wood, it's been about 20 years since that was necessary. But, boy, one or two really stand out in my mind.
     
  7. Math

    Math Cohort

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    No not wait for help he just would buzz the main office tell them and watch... he wouldn't go help the hall monitor if that's what your saying.
     
  8. Math

    Math Cohort

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    He also said that he wouldn't because if he physically pulled student A away from student B and the student A got hit by student B then it would be his fault.
     
  9. Math

    Math Cohort

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    Two years ago when I was in 7th grade an older teacher like in her 50's was breaking up a fight she was pushed and hit her head on the floor and that floor was HARD!! I remember stomping on the floor and I was like I'm glad she didn't fall to her death. She had to be carried out on a stretcher
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2011
  10. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    I would NEVER try to break up a fight by myself....NEVER! Too many accusations against teachers nowadays. You need a witness. One should call the office to get assistance if this happens.
     
  11. MissAbbeyMarie

    MissAbbeyMarie Rookie

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    Oh my!! That certainly is not good math. I would call the administrators and go into the hall and yell. That usually breaks it up and I order other students back to their classroom. The coaches usually jump in and pull the students away from each other, and we have a coach classroom in every hall, so it works well. We only have one full-time cop, but he is good at staying on top of things and always appears at the right moment. We have four administrators who are also trained for this sort of thing. So, again, I would yell at them and call an administrator. I will not physically get in the fight though, I am too little for that.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've never seen a fight that lacked witnesses.
     
  13. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    I once gently pulled away a girl from the fight. I stood behind her and just streched out my arm to grab hers and gently pushed her rapidly away from the other girl. Once I had her attention I asked her to calm down.

    It was a miracle that this worked. This happened 6 years ago during my first year of teaching. The girls were pulling each other's hair and security was far away from us.

    I would never do it though. I would try to tell the students to stop and then call the office and ask a student to get someone right away.

    I wonder what would happen if security takes too long to get to your classroom? What do you do in the meantime?
     
  14. Math

    Math Cohort

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    I would suppose if it were happening right in the classroom you would have no choice but to intervene.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Teachers open themselves up to personal injury or legal ramifications when intervening in physical fights between students. teachers have faced assault and battery charges from students for merely trying to break up fights...not offering advice on stepping in...it would be hard to stand idly by and watch violence while waiting for help, but most teachers are not trained in proper restraint techniques...schools should set policy regarding fights and intervention, as well as provide professional training on such issues.
     
  16. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    :thumb:
     
  17. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    I'm in an inner city school and we have a school security guard. I could call for help, but also we as teachers are supposed to have a specific "help" pass. Mine is red it just has my classroom number and says "help required" on it. If there was an emergency or a fight I would send a student with it to the security guard, who luckily is about 20 yards down the hall from my classroom.

    I most likely would not try to break up the fight. The union strongly discourages it. I wouldn't want to risk possibly hurting a student myself (or getting hurt) and luckily the security guard is close enough that it wouldn't likely escalate too far before he arrived.

    I haven't had to deal with this yet but with the temperament of the students in my class its definitely a likely occurrence that I have thought about. Most of the 4th grade boys in my class are about my size or bigger (especially the ones who would be most likely to get into a fight) I'm not sure I'd be able to break it up if I wanted to.
     
  18. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I would do the exact same thing. That's what we are told to do.
     
  19. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    There are some pretty weighty legal risks to breaking up a fight. If a teacher touches either of the students, they could be charged with battery even if he/she doesn't injure either student. If either student is injured at any point and the teacher has touched them, the teacher could be blamed and open both themselves and the school to civil penalties (criminal penalties in such a situation are pretty unlikely, but theoretically possible depending how involved the teacher becomes). Moreover, of course, the teacher could get injured themselves.

    I think your SS teacher's response of just watching is a bit extreme, though. Simply yelling at them to stop wouldn't expose him to legal risk (I suppose they could turn on him, so he'd be running some physical risk), and would probably stop most fights. Though, if he's already told everyone he won't step in, they might be more likely to ignore any suggestions from him that they stop anyway.

    I'm not sure what he might mean by stepping in if the student were in danger. What's a non-dangerous fight? A shouting match that looks like it might potentially become violent? If that's what he means his response might be correct.
     
  20. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    I got hurt once

    As much as we're told not to intervene, i have to say, I can't help myself. I have only had to stop one fight, about 8 years ago. two boys had been verbally fighting for several weeks, and then this day, one stood up and spit on the other one. They went at it. I actually didn't intervene, really except to help a student who was trying to restrain one of them. The fighting kid through open teh door and hit me in the stomach (I was six months pregnant at the time) Luckily, everything turned out okay. I know we're not supposed to, but if it get going, of course, I'll yell, of course I'll call for help or send a student, but I can't just stand back.
     
  21. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    I call for campus security and then do what I can to stop it.

    I've had two in-class fights and have ended up breaking up both. It's kind of one of those "in the heat of the moment" things. The first, a girl attacked a boy (Lord only knows why) and was beating him to death and he wouldn't hit her back, so I grabbed her and pulled her off. The second, two boys started going at it, and one was wearing a backpack so I grabbed the backpack and pulled him out.
     
  22. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Well seeing as I work with younger students (elementary) I would break up the fight. I have had to do that twice in my teaching career, you do what you have to. I do know that I am much bigger than the kids I work with so that aides in the ability to break up a fight.
    Break up the fight first, call office after.
     
  23. kickchick2000

    kickchick2000 Rookie

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    We are not supposed to touch the students. If they start fighting we are supposed to tell them to stop and call for the admins. I would try to help a student if he or she were being jumped by trying to get the student into a nearby classroom and closing the door but I would NOT physically touch anyone including the victim while trying. I know it sounds awful I can't risk being sued by touching a student.

    This topic is interesting because last year in the district I live in there was a nasty middle school bus fight. The driver pulled over the bus and told the girls to stop but one of them would not, she just kept kicking and punching. The driver called for help but did not intervene. The story made the news and the driver was BLASTED by parents for not stepping in and helping the poor victim. The school system said the bus driver did exactly what she was supposed to do as she was not to touch the students. I don't think parents realize that no school official is to touch their child no matter what.
     
  24. Cerek

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    I would intervene. I would send someone to the office for help, tell the other students to get in the hallway (or nearest classroom), yell at the students to stop and (if necessary) step between them to stop the fight.

    I've talked with my principal and been assured that would not violate the rules of the district or the individual school.

    I also have received formal restraint training (with my principal). So I am covered if I have to step in.
     
  25. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I know there are a lot of teachers who worry about "touching" students. As a male teacher I should be more careful, but it is not something I let myself worry about. I don't change the way that I teach/interact with the students, but that doesn't mean that I am not aware of situations.
    When it comes to a situation like fighting, it would depend on the situation. If a student who deserves a beat down is actually recieving one I would probably let the fight go a little longer. Sadly I have never run across a situation like that.
     
  26. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    LOL... Cerek... if a fight broke out in my room, I'd have a hard time getting the others to leave the room!

    We don't have an intercom system.

    We do have campus security but he's not always on our hall.
     
  27. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    People who say you can't touch a student for the purpose of breaking up a dangerous fight need to go and research their state's education code, criminal code, and union contract. There's a good chance that any one of them contains a clause that allows for the reasonable use of restraint for the purpose of preventing a student from harming others. I know that in California, it specifically states that a teachers may use reasonable force to protect themselves or others.
     
  28. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    That's true, but I have a VERY commanding voice when necessary. It may take two warnings, but I'm pretty sure I could get the class out of the room if I really tried.

    Of course, realistically, I'm going to be more focused on the students fighting, so if I just get the others on the opposite side of the room (and out of harm's way), I'll settle for that. ;)
     
  29. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Not in AZ but up north you can't even HUG a student, not even from the side, therefore touching a student to stop a fight would be highly forbidden lol
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm sure that everything you guys have said is absolutely true.

    But it simply wouldn't occur to me NOT to break it up. And I know, without a doubt, that the administration in my school would back me 100%.

    The only reason I would think to hesitate is the chance that they would undo all that plastic surgery.

    I also know that, based on past experience, the moment I stepped in, the kids-- particularly boys-- would stop fighting. Again, it's been 20 years since I had to break one up. But I would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Not saying it's right for YOU, simply that it would be right for ME.
     
  31. TiffanyL

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    Yes, I agree with Alice. It would be difficult to stand and watch. It also depends on the circumstances. For example, are there weapons involved, are they smaller kids, etc.? Not that I wouldn't want to break up ANY fight but the circumstances may determine my inclination to jump right in.

    I also agree that most of the kids at my school would stop immediately once I intervened.
     
  32. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think the bottom line is that there just needs to be good district/building policy about exactly what to do, and all building personnel should participate in some sort of training to understand basic verbal de-escalation techniques, appropriate non-restraint physical intervention, and when and with whom restraints would occur (including exact procedures for what to do in between). Most of the issues people have mentioned so far are covered in basic crisis management training, but unfortunately schools are notoriously deficient in providing training in this area.

    In absence of building/district policy, or as Sarge mentioned state law, best practice would be to first try verbal de-escalation, followed by non-restraint physical intervention, followed by initiating restraining by authorized and trained personnel. The crisis management team (or administration) (via radio or intercom) would be notified immediately if a fight broke out, with teacher attempts to de-escalate occurring after that.
     
  33. midwestteacher

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    We are a small school. We don't have hall monitors. We don't have school resource officers. We don't have vice principals. We don't have security guards. That being said, I have broken up fights before. I had one in my classroom and broke it up. I called the office to tell them I had two kids fighting. They told me to send them to the office, by themselves. I asked if they wanted them fighting all the way up the hall. They sent a male teacher down to escort them to the office.
     
  34. nstructor

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    Our girls are the fighters-not so much the boys. They instigate the fight to get the girls to fight!!!!! Breaking up female fighting is much worse than males, but I will always try to do it-just most often happens in the lunchroom or on the street on the way home from school.
     
  35. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    I never break up a fight. We have school security and school police for that purpose. You never know when one of them is going to produce a razor during the encounter.

    Additionally, a teacher I knew got hurt breaking up a fight and our health insurance company said, "We don't have to cover your medical expenses because breaking up fights is NOT in your job description." So, he got soaked for the cost of his injuries for that.
     
  36. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I would not physically get involved. Yelling for them to stop, getting help from the office, and getting the other kids away from them are things I would try. Getting in between two raging people intentionally trying to hurt one another? No.
     
  37. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    You teach 2nd grade. Are you saying you would not get in between two 7 year old going at it?
    All it would take is picking up each child with one arm and seperating them.
     

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