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Teacher Intervention
Posted by Trevor Roberts on May 9, 2014 - 7:12:25 PM

UNITED STATES—School is the one place where students should feel safe. In addition, it’s a place where teachers should feel safe as well, but a recent video that has made its way onto the Internet has sparked a bit of outrage. A teacher from Detroit was fired, when she attempted to break up a fight between two students, by whacking one of the students with a broom stick.


Alright before you begin to scream and shout about the teacher attacking the student with a broomstick, understand what transpired beforehand. Two students broke out in a massive brawl that was quite violent to say the least. Chairs were thrown and flung in the classroom, desks were moved and other students darted to safety. Protocol for the school which is operated by the state of Michigan expects teachers to call for security via a walkie talkie. The teacher took that precaution, but there was a problem; the device did not work. I’m not certain if the teacher ran into the hall and screamed for help, I suspect she did, but no one showed up.


The video goes on for close to 30 seconds, which is when the teacher intervenes to break up the fight by whacking one of the students in the back with a plastic broomstick several times. Without a doubt, the teacher should not have physically attacked one student and not the other, heck, the teacher should not have attacked either student, but she was doing all that she could have possibly done to diffuse the situation. Her actions have not only cost her job, but she could also face child abuse charges. 


My biggest gripe comes from the students involved in the fight and the parents who seem to show little to no remorse over what has transpired. The mother indicated the teacher should have just waited outside of the classroom. Really? What would have happened as one reporter stated if the student had pulled out a gun, other students were injured, including your son? No comment, really. It’s like we live in a culture where violence is readily accepted. Just because it happens does not make a suitable solution. We cannot continue to sit here and act as violence is ok because it’s seen time and time again in the media.


I can’t help, but grasp why no other students attempted to step in and diffuse the fight. The teacher was a bit modest to the size of the two students fighting. If others had assisted in breaking up the fight it may have been a tremendous help to preventing the fight for getting more heated. 


The outrage doesn’t just come from the teacher being fired and perhaps facing criminal charges, it’s an issue of what are the guidelines for teachers when it comes to diffusing a fight in the classroom. What can and what can’t an instructor do to stop a fight between students? A similar incident occurred in a Santa Monica high school where a teacher intervened after a student was suspected of trying to sell drugs in the classroom and physically attacked the teacher.


The teacher has the right to defend themselves in any case, but at the same time they are responsible for the other students in the classroom. There is s disadvantage to some degree for female teachers compared to male teachers. This is not saying a female teacher can’t diffuse a fight, because many can, but a male is more physically prone to be able to break up a fight between two students. While both students who were involved in the fight were suspended, a 10-day suspension is not justice in my opinion, especially when a teacher whose job is to educate students has lost her ability to earn a living because of the actions that she has taken.


As parents and adults stricter guidelines need to be set for fighting on school grounds. It’s disruptive to all parties involved. There is no way 10 days enough time off to reflect, how about a month or two, and on top of that this isn’t just a vacation at home, all work that should have been completed while in the classroom is still expected to be done will at home.


I personally think that teacher should be reinstated effective immediately, but at the same time, precautions have to be taken and implemented to indicate that physical violence should not be a resort for a teacher to break up a fight, unless the teacher is the threatened party in my opinion. Some would argue that if a student’s life is at risk because of another student that physical violence may be a last resort if security or other personnel doesn’t arrive to the scene in a specified time frame.


I’ll be honest this is such a touchy, complicated subject to address because there are rights and wrongs. What the teacher did was wrong, but on a moral standpoint it was the right thing to do to diffuse a fight that could have transpired to get even worse. In addition, the students were wrong for engaging in such ignorant behavior. The school was wrong for firing the teacher and on top of that she should not face child abuse charges. What are your thoughts on this incident? What would you do if you were placed in such a situation?


Cliffside Malibu




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