Blog: School fighting policy senseless

By Logan Holman
staff writer

There is no question that starting fights in school is unacceptable. But fighting in self-defense is a little different and much more controversial. Some say it’s acceptable while others say fighting is fighting, no matter who throws the first punch.

“I don’t like it [the no fight policy] because I got suspended for it and you could be getting the poop beat out of you and you’ll still get suspended,” junior Tyler Reisig said.

I personally was raised to believe that I’m never supposed to try to start a fight in any way. But as soon as someone tries to make harmful physical contact with me, the gloves are going to come off. I was taught to never let someone walk all over you. In a court of law, self-defense is an adequate alibi and you might be able to get off free of charges. But the consequence for fighting in a school never has an adequate excuse.

“A fight is a fight is a fight and that’s part of the school policy,” Assistant Principal Amy Slabaugh said.

Slabaugh did acknowledge that the aggressor of a fight is usually taken into account and is punished more severely.

The school may be the only one taking this punish-everybody-involved stance against fighting, as the guardians of some students agree that fighting in self-defense is alright.

“My parents are 100 percent behind me if it’s self-defense,” Reisig said.

Reisig was in a school fight a few days before winter break. He says he was in the position of self-defense, but was suspended for five days.

“He came up and punched me after we were trash talking a little bit, I tackled him and then it got broken up,” Reisig said.

Slabaugh hopes that students have developed skills earlier on in life about how to avoid violent situations. However, I don’t really remember a specific time where we talked about how to avoid someone beating you up. Administration would just like you to run and go tell a teacher.

“All I can say is the best way to, if you’re being approached by someone who is being physically aggressive, run,” Slabaugh said.

Running doesn’t seem like a viable option if you get punched in the face because the bully then knows that a student isn’t going to defend themselves and will take advantage of a student in that way. They know that they can take their bullying further and further and nothing will happen. From every story I’ve ever heard from friends to relatives, when a bully gets a taste of their own medicine, they stop messing with you.

But this doesn’t seem to be known by most kids around Dow. I don’t think the message is well spread among the school. Everyone knows the school doesn’t want students to fight, but nobody seems to know what the school prefers a student to do when another student punches them in the face.

“The office would want us to go to a counselor and tell them about it,” Reisig said.

It seems if that a high school student just doesn’t work that way. When threatened or attacked, some students fight back as seen in Reisig’s situation and others around the school.

Bullies like to get a response out of students that they go after. But if they get a violent response that breaks their nose, I highly doubt that they will continue to bully these kids. They are getting what they are asking for essentially and they are also getting what they deserve. For this reason, the school needs to investigate revising their policy on fighting in self-defense.

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