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Subinnc Subinnc is offline
 
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Subinnc
 
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Talk To Me About Fights
Old 02-17-2017, 06:23 PM
 
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What do you subs (or even any regular teachers who may be reading) do when you see a fight going on?

I'm usually the one running toward it to pull kids off of each other. I'm a fairly short, petite female, but I'm also pretty strong and in good shape, and I'm typically not particularly afraid of what could happen...although I am aware. When pulling one 6th grade boy off another one year, I was swung at, but he missed by a mile and I was able to restrain him easily.

Today, with a half of an hour left of a looooong week, two of my girls were kind of horseplaying in the hall. As I walked toward them to put a stop to it, it suddenly went from "play" to a full-on fight. Two other teachers came out of their rooms looking at me like they thought I should do something. No way was I breaking up that mess on my own. I waited for a male teacher and a my teammate to come out and they separated the girls, and I just kind of helped keep the girls restrained.

I have never ever thought twice about getting in the middle, but for some reason today, I just didn't. I know I am not expected to, but I do feel kind of bad... I don't know why my gut said to stand back and I don't know why I feel bad now. It's weird.

As far as administration goes, we only had one there today, who is disabled and certainly couldn't be any help in a situation like that.

My question is, what do you all do? Stand back unless someone is in danger of really being hurt? Stand back regardless so as to avoid any injury or liability? Assess the situation and then decide? I'm curious...


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LynneLC LynneLC is offline
 
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Immediately call for help
Old 02-18-2017, 04:50 AM
 
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I substituted well over 1,000 days and only had one fistfight break out when I was the only adult in the room. It was two sixth grade boys and I called for help into the hallway. Luckily, another (female) teacher came in quickly and by then they were somewhat separated to begin with. I did not try to intervene physically though told them "Stop!" a couple times (I realize how ineffective that is going to be). I am about 110 lbs, and getting into the middle of a fight would probably just get me hurt and or be held liable. If one kid had another down on the ground and was really hurting them, then I feel I would do what I could to stop the aggressor but if they are more evenly matched, then I don't think I can stop them even if I tried...

I knew a Substitute who got in the middle of a fight between two fifth-grade girls. She hurt her forearm, something that took months to resolve. She told me she had flashbacks to that day many times, and seemed to be very negatively affected by the whole experience. She has since died...

I will be interested to read other responses.... Also Kudos to all of you who do intervene!
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Munchkins Munchkins is online now
 
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Call for help!
Old 02-18-2017, 05:02 AM
 
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I was told I am allowed to restrain a student (I teach primary) if safety is involved, but unless I could pull the underdog away safely, I wouldn't get in the middle. The best I think I could do is to clear the area of the other students and call the office. Or if it's really serious, call the police. We have the non emergency number for the local PD attached to our ID badges.

Stay safe yourself!

What does the head of substitutes say to do?
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c6g c6g is offline
 
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Old 02-18-2017, 05:13 AM
 
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In many states, including mine, corporal punishment is prohibited. Teachers are usually permitted to physically restrain students if attacked, or to prevent injury to others or property, but this provision is often ignored. We've all read too many stories of well-meaning teachers who tried to restrain students, and found themselves in hot water.

Back when I was a regular teacher I once pulled two fighting students apart. Nothing happened to me, but I decided never to do that again. As a sub I once tried to prevent a fight by standing between two arguing teens, and got some nasty scratches in the process.

You did the right thing by being in the hall to help prevent the fight. Your decision to avoid pulling the students apart was also correct. The school needs to have a plan in place for this kind of thing, and it sounds like no plan exists. Shame on them.
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MaineSub MaineSub is offline
 
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Policy and practice...
Old 02-19-2017, 03:26 AM
 
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This is one of the very few areas where policy and practice seem to actually match and make sense. I'd echo what others have said, the policy is "hands off" unless there is significant potential for harm to a student and or school property.That can, of course, be a difficult assessment to make quickly. I think it's important not to react instinctively but rather to assess the situation before taking action.

My initial reaction would be to make certain non-involved students are not in danger and keep them "out of it." If I didn't know, I might ask others in the area for the names of the students fighting so I can call them by name. There is some evidence that a strong but calm commanding voice can often stop the action, at least in the early stages. There is a great You-Tube video of a teacher who spots a situation that is clearly rising to the point of becoming physical--he stops it with words. (Admittedly he uses some colorful language and it's obvious he's hot over it, but his authoritarian demeanor seems to create a stop action.)

In the interest of self-preservation, I would not "wade in" to the middle of a fight in progress. Help is usually nearby. Other students in the area can also be instructed to "get help." While there truly can't be one plan or way of handling a fight, it's a situation where calm and disciplined thinking is required.


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Old 02-19-2017, 06:13 PM
 
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Most of the schools I'm at there is a positive environment, and kids have the decency not to descend to this level. Having worked in urban schools, I have experienced the horror when this happens (one boy actually attacked a girl much smaller than he was ), and I felt sick afterward , so I'm wary and am always proactive. As soon as two students start arguing and getting close I step in and tell them to knock it off.
I would not get physically involved unless my safety was in jeopardy; it's a lawsuit or ban waiting to happen. I would alert the teacher next door or call the office/security.
I know from experience that it's the adult in the room that will ultimately get the blame for allowing this to happen. So be proactive everyone!
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harpadzo harpadzo is offline
 
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Fighting Students
Old 02-20-2017, 04:35 PM
 
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If a student is going to get seriously hurt by another student in a fight, I would step in the middle and, as I try to separate the fighters, I would tell my most trusted student in the class to go find the school security guard.
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Newbielibro Newbielibro is offline
 
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It depends...
Old 02-22-2017, 06:52 PM
 
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Generally speaking, I am going to get in the middle of it. I just don't tend to stand back well. Now, if there was some reason for me not too, like when I was still in my surgical shoe, then I would be more wary.

I have had to get between students several times at my current school. I am fine with that. I have had to pull kids apart physically (or at least try and intervene, sometimes they are too slippery) a few times at my old school. One time I went down, but no injury.

I have never had any issues. If it was a building where I got a vibe that it wasn't a good idea I likely wouldn't do it. I am now interim at the school where I did a lts last year and subbed the most frequently at last semester and have a good relationship with the kids and staff.

If I do have to get between kids and think "oh great, there will be blows" then I send someone to go get help ASAP. Same if there is actual need to step in. I know I am not expected or required to, but I do.
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Tounces Tounces is offline
 
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Fights
Old 02-23-2017, 09:00 PM
 
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I do not break up fights. I used to when I was teaching and had training-Crisis Intervention Training, I believe that's what it's called. I do everything to prevent one from happening and will stand between some to deter them. But if they start swinging or pushing etc. I'm NOT going to break it up. Hopefully, someone with training would have been called and on there way by then. I have had neck surgery and have a bad back-herniated disks. If I got into trying to break up a fight, I run the risk of being seriously injured. I also worry about blood, bodily fluids. The kids want to fight that much, then they can. I don't want to get hurt or sued because I no longer have the training. I'm hands off.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:09 PM
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