How should teachers break up student fights?

Student Fights

In a recent article, a teacher was fired for breaking up a student fight. In many school districts it is the responsibility of either administrators or security to create a safe culture for students and staff members. Teachers who have established positive relationships with students will have a greater possibility of breaking up student fights.

According to the article, the teacher who broke up the student fight is suing the school because she was terminated. During the fight in her classroom which was allegedly among gang members the teacher used a broom to break up the student fight.

The teacher has since filed a lawsuit claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of her Fourth and Fourteen Amendments, civil rights violations, and disparate treatment. She further ascertains that prior to her hiring she was never told that the culture of the school involved a high quantity of student fights. She was never handed an employee handbook and did not receive any training for diffusing volatile situations that involve students.

Why is using a broom to break up student fights illegal?

Any teacher that makes a decision to break up a student fight can not use a broom or any other apparatus because it is considered battery.

According to Wikipedia, battery is a criminal offense involving unlawful physical contact, distinct from assault which is the act of creating apprehension of such contact.

In the United States, criminal battery, or simply battery, is the use of force against another, resulting in harmful, offensive or sexual contact. It is a specific common law misdemeanor, although the term is used more generally to refer to any unlawful offensive physical contact with another person, and may be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Battery was defined at common law as “any unlawful touching of the person of another by the aggressor himself, or by a substance put in motion by him.” In most cases, battery is now governed by statutes, and its severity is determined by the law of the specific jurisdiction.

In Michigan, where the incident happened, simple Assault and Battery is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail and no more than $500 in fines. There are circumstances where this potential punishment can be increased.

Even though some schools have opted to give teachers the right to break up student fights, it is best that teachers ensure that they do not commit battery against students.

What strategies can teachers use to break up student fights?

The best way to have the power to break up student fights is to develop positive relationships with students.

Positive Teacher Student Relationships

Positive relationships at schools are in many ways the prerequisites for effective student behavior. Teachers develop positive relationships with students by engaging them in personal and meaningful dialogue that includes personal and nonacademic issues such as student interests, goals, aspirations, likes and dislikes, family, and culture. Good teacher-student relationships include teachers communicating to students that they care about them. Teachers who are caring, friendly, helpful, understanding, and dependable foster supportive relationships with their students.

Teachers develop positive teacher-student classroom relationships in four stages.

  • Stage One – Teachers and students develop relationships by initiation that begins the moment students walk into the classroom. During this stage, teachers start to form impressions that may be difficult to change, and students develop expectations regarding teachers.
  • Stage Two – The second stage for teacher-student relationship development is experimenting. During this stage, teachers begin to collect information about the students that may influence future instructional strategies. Students experiment with the teacher by trying to sort out teacher dislikes and likes, classroom instructional and disciplinary boundaries, and teacher grading biases. Teachers and students find ways to manage their relationship with one another.
  • Stage Three – The third stage for teacher-student relationship development is intensifying. During this stage, teachers and students make communication choices based on individual rather than stereotypical roles. Teachers begin to communicate care for students and circumstances that will enhance or constrain learning.
  • Stage Four – The fourth stage for teacher-student relationship development is differentiating. During this stage, teachers and students learn about each other.

Teachers who desire to break up student fights must first establish positive relationships with students do that students will grant them the necessary respect and authority.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

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About Classroom Racism Exterminator

Racism is a menace and so we’ve been taught for ages which is the primary need for a diversity expert. However, even in this modern society of today where we see a lot of colored celebrities performing on stage with huge fan followings and of course an Afro-America President for the USA, we are still in a phase where racism exists in all its brutal glory and has been eating away at the society like a plague. Classrooms, are one of the most affected areas where color differences and racism exists to its extremes. Even after decades of progress and a lot of communal efforts at bridging the gaps between colored students, white students and teachers, it is sad to say that the disparities still exist and are just as pronounced today as they were back in the 1950s. Colored students, even in the likes of New York City, are attending under resourced schools or have been significantly isolated and made to be unequal in regular schools. Even if the teachers are well-intentioned, perpetuating the structural racism that has taken deep roots into the fabric of our education system is a tough task and make the need for a diversity expert imperative. Teachers need to recognize the biases that exist within the classroom and also take conscious measures to address them and their own biases of course. James Baldwin once said, “it is your very own responsibility to change this society, if you think of yourself as an educated person.” Dr. Derrick L. Campbell took this quote very effectively and straight to the heart and thus this Classroom Racism Exterminator happened. Classroom Racism Exterminator is an initiative that will teach you about your duty and moral obligation towards eliminating racism from the classrooms. This is where and how you will learn about what you need to do to produce a better society that is free of biases and disparities amongst the blacks and the whites. Because we understand how classroom biases and conversations about racism are difficult and how teachers and students almost avoid the topics altogether, we have put together a range of effective methods and products to help address the problem at hand and talk meaningfully to counter issues related to race and racism in the classroom. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell understands that it takes a lot of courage to talk about race and racism and that racial issues need to be viewed through a very critical lens that can understand and attend to the pertaining aspects of racism in the classroom. And therefore through this website we have made a conscious effort to eliminate racism from the classroom and make the educational system equal and beneficial for all. We know and we understand that there are no words that can actually describe how racism feels. There are cases and everybody tends to deal with it in their own manner. Some might lash out verbally or others might just withdraw into shells. Whatever the case, people don’t talk about it openly and teachers don’t really make a conscious effort at addressing the issue. We don’t really know if our children or if the youth is learning to be educated or become racists in their classroom. Our program is focused on helping children of color and regardless of their race, their full potential. We want every student to be able to recognize and reach their full potential so that they think of themselves as responsible citizens of their country and not regard themselves as worthless human beings. Here you will find motivational books and flash card games, all of which have been designed focusing on eliminating racism completely from our classrooms. The books and the games have been consciously designed keeping in mind the American society and educational system. It is a small effort on our and Dr. Campbell’s part to help this society become a better place to live in. A little about diversity expert Dr. Campbell Dr. Derrick L. Campbell the driving force behind Classroom Racism Exterminator is a dynamic figure and a constant source of motivation for us. He has a Bachelors of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology, Math Education, a Masters in Education Administration and also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Dr. Campbell is a well known personality throughout the nation. He has lectured at various events including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference and a lot of local churches. He is a personality well dedicated towards eliminating the plague of racism from our classrooms and helping every child recognize his/her true potential not the color of their skin. He realizes how a child would feel if he/she was made to think they are worthless human beings. Diversity expert Dr. Campbell is compassionate and related to the experiences and therefore this initiative is a constant and continual effort to eliminate racism manifested in us, completely from the classroom and from our society.
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