Not Caught on Tape…. or so I thought….Case Files #1
You’re the AP
I’m walking down the hallway on the way to lunch duty sporting my brand-new Jos. A Banks Signature Series suit when I hear a commotion around the corner in another hallway. As I turn the corner, I see a big group of the backs of dozens of students. I hear yelling screaming and all sorts of commotion. A few students see me coming and simply point to the commotion. This scene is all too familiar. It is no doubt a fight. I start pushing aside students from the back to make my way to the middle of the now enclosed circle of students cheering on the two fighters.
What I find is two 8th grade girls locked up in an all out no holes barred fight. Each had a handful of the other’s hair with one hand and was swinging wildly with the other. Their faces were tilted downwards to avoid a direct facial punch from the other girl. One girl starts to get the better of the other and they fall to the floor as I get there. They continue to go at it violently as I and a few other staff members try to separate them. Both students were equally engaged in the fight, and neither was more aggressive than the other. They both continued to yell, curse and threaten each other.
When I get them separated, I realize that the two girls who were fighting were, by all accounts, great students, and all-around good kids with no previous history of such issues. One girl was a student from the ESOL program and spoke little English. The other was in the general education program.
When I started investigating both girls were very evasive and not really explaining what had happened before I or the other staff members got there. This was not unusual as most students have no desire for the adults to find out why they were fighting.
In any case, the ESOL student in particular was very humble and very apologetic. I told her and her parents that she would most likely be suspended for a few days. I told the other girl and her parents the same thing. The parents were all very understanding and cooperative and were angry with their children for fighting and were generally embarrassed. I was about ready to move on even though I still had not found out what the conflict was about. My plan was to have the counselor meet with them prior to them returning from the suspension and conduct a mediation.
In our school we had just had new video surveillance cameras installed. We were one of the last schools to get them. I knew, however, that based on where the fight was, it would not be captured. However, there was one camera nearby (around the corner) and I though as a last piece to my investigation, I would take a look just to see if there was anything I could discern.
What I saw was one student (Student 1) walking ahead of the other (Student 2). Overall, it was a crowded hallway because they were coming back from lunch. Both students were waking in a group of their own friends and not even acknowledging each other. The student following (student 2) pushed her way through her own friends to get through them and went up behind student 1 and tugged on her hair. Student 1 was surprised and turned around to see what the issue was. She looked inquisitively at the girl who had just pulled her hair, did nothing and turned around and continued talking to her friends. Then it repeated two more times. Then student one moved a little ahead and repositioned herself amongst her friends to avoid student 2. Student 2 did it again and student 1 responded the same way.
Finally, student 1 turned around right as student 2 was in the process of reaching for her hair, and student 1 reached her own hand out to push away student 2’s hand. After she pushed her hand away, she started to turn around again to look forward, student 1 started swinging and punching her from behind. Student 1 still tried to get away but couldn’t. There was a break for a second or two, then they both went after each other and started fighting. The fight was highly aggressive and the students were going from one side of the hallway to the other ramming into the lockers. It then worked its way around the corner and out of view of the camera and continued up the other hallway for about 20 or so feet. This is why I thought it would not be caught ion the surveillance cameras. This is when I and the staff members arrived.
You’re the AP. What do you do?
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