We got a call this morning from the Middle School and Joe was in a “fight”. He has had trouble with this kid for years, I’m not sure what the problem is, I really like the kids parents and I know they are good parents but for some reason he and Joe cannot get along. So they got into a little argument over touch football in gym and the boy came after Joe and was choking him (trust me Mr. Perfectly Stubborn grilled the teacher to make sure Joe didn’t start it). In his defense and to get the boy off of him Joe punched him twice in the face. They both got 5 days of suspension from school. Here is where my dilemma comes in.
I know that the school has a No Bullying policy and they also have a No Violence policy but it seems to me that at some point these two collide. What was my son suppose to do? Am I supposed to teach my child to let people hurt him and just stand there and take it? I can guarantee you that won’t happen. When a kid is attacked, do they not have the right to protect and defend themselves? Does this not, in and of itself, lead to more bullying? I can’t seem to find the logic in these guidelines that they have set up. No, we do not condone violence. Our children know that if they start a fight they will be severely punished but we also will not teach them to allow themselves to be trampled on by others. It seems, in my motherly mind anyway, that the school should have discretion in these matters. They should be able to decide on a case by case basis whether the kid was justified in defending themselves or not. I could understand if he had laid into the kid and not stopped but he merely did what he had to do at the time. I know that the school has no choice; they have to follow the guidelines set out for them. I’m just thinking that maybe these guidelines should be altered and the schools given a little more control in these matters. It seems there should be some middle ground because having it set up this way may be what is encouraging bullying in today’s schools because a good kid who doesn’t start trouble and fears getting kicked out of school is going to be less likely to
stand up for himself.
I am not saying that my son was being bullied, or that he did not deserve to be punished, it just bothered me that they have cut off a kids own means of self-defense and forced them to either "rat" on their classmates or take abuse. For the kids in the school that are being bullied it seems there is no good way out. It is either get in trouble, put yourself in a position to be picked on by more people or set back and let someone dump on you. None of those options are good. Our kids should be allowed to stand up for themselves at this point, in small ways, before it gets to the point that they are walking through those school doors with guns and hatred.