It’s crazy that this even has to be considered

Self defense bill would eliminate zero tolerance at schools

The state House is voting on a bill that would allow students to fight without punishment if they are confronted at school.

The new law would eliminate the notion of zero tolerance and allow students to fight back in self-defense or step in to defend a classmate without fear of punishment.

Ever since Zero Tolerance reared it’s ugly head in the mid 1990s, it’s been the policy of most school systems to suspend kids for getting beaten up. The article has it slightly wrong when it says that today kids can get suspended for fighting back: they actually get suspended even if they don’t fight back.

When I was a junior in high school (1998-ish), I found myself the target of some freshman who thought he could make a name for himself if he beat up an upper classman. In the four years I was at that school, there was ONE fight–and that involved kids from another school showing up in the parking lot. It just wasn’t the kind of school where that thing happened, and this kid saw an opportunity to “run the school” so to speak.

He had started threatening me in front of his friends, so I went to the principal and the proto-school resource officer we had (really just a glorified custodian) and they both told me 1) they couldn’t do anything about it since he hadn’t technically violated any policy and 2) if he threw a punch both of us would be suspended for 2 days, even if I just sat there and took it.

I directly asked both of them something along the lines of “So, the punishment for me is the same if I do nothing versus if I break the guy’s arm?” The answer was yes.

That made it pretty easy for me. It was clear that avoiding punishment was not in my control. There was literally nothing I could to if this kid decided to escalate, so I decided to let him know it was in his best interest to back down.

The next time the kid started puffing up at me, I calmly explained to him that if he initiated a physical confrontation, he would end up in the hospital. I outweighed him by 20 pounds. I was 4 inches taller than him. I had been in martial arts training for 8 years and spent some time on the wrestling team. He said something like “You won’t do that, you don’t want to get in trouble.” I told him about the conversations that I had, and how once the first punch was thrown, both of us were going to get punished no matter the result of the fight.

I never had another problem out of him*.

That’s why this policy is stupid and needs to be addressed. It defies logic that the victim should be punished at all, much less just as harshly as the assailant. If this kid had known up front that he could have had his ass kicked with no repercussions for his “victim” he probably wouldn’t have engaged in the behavior in the first place.

Of course, if your point is to make the populace depend on other people for everything, it makes total sense.

I’ll leave you by quoting the scariest part of the article:

“I don’t think hitting is ever the right answer,” said Kay Dickson, a mother and grandmother. “I think the authorities need to take care of that. I don’t think I ever want to teach my children to hit back. I would want them to go tell someone to help authorities take care of it.”

*After this confrontation, he set his sights on a girl in my class. That girl also happened to be my closest friend, a fact that he found out later. I think he transferred schools after that. Real winner, that one. These days, I’d probably have been charged with assault just for mentioning I could beat the crap out of him with my arm in a sling.

4 comments to It’s crazy that this even has to be considered

  • Pyrotek85

    Yup, ‘violence is never the solution’ is just a plain old lie, sometimes it really is. I’m quite tired of this pacifist crap.

  • Violence isn’t ALWAYS the solution. Sometimes it’s the precipitate.

    (ducks and runs)

  • a leap at the wheel

    We’re about the same age. I went to a high school that’s about 50% calm suburbanite bran-muffin chomping soccer moms, and about 50% farm working, Country-Boy-Can-Survive hummin salt of the earth types.

    Principal tried that “if you get punched, you’re suspended” with one of the second types of students, and word is that he replied “And if I punch, you, you get suspended?” That resulted in a parent conference that, according to legend, ended with the father punching the principal and asking if he thinks he should suspend himself now.

    I don’t know if it’s true or just a myth.

  • I think this would contribute to helping solve the “bullying” problem as well. I know Sumner County schools are currently (and historically) full of them right now. God help them when/if my child enters the school system. It could end up as the possible “myth” mentioned above.

    Disavowed With Honor

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