When I mention the school I work at, or the one where I student taught, I'm often asked about fights. Now, I need to make one thing very clear. They actually don't happen that often. Really. To talk to non-teachers or teachers from "good" schools, you'd think it's a daily occurrence. It's not. But fights are a reality at just about every school.
You see, the funny thing about teenagers... they're teenagers. They have raging hormones and a distinct lack of impulse control. All of them. Everywhere. This is why there are legal ages at which you can start doing important things like driving, voting, gambling and drinking. More than half of our students are too young to drive a vehicle. We have just under 400 freshmen! Imagine yourself at 14. Now multiply that by almost 400 and make at least a quarter of them have your worst decision making skills ever. That's what just one grade of our students is made of, let alone the other three grades.
Fights, most often, are about two things: love and pride. Someone broke up with someone and now that someone has a new someone and the old someone is PISSED. Or, someone was just made fun of and now they must protect their reputation.
My friends ask me what I do when there's a fight. Well, we have two security guards and one police officer. I can't really wait for one of them to come running, so I do what I do what I have to do. I break up the fight. I've bear hugged a kid, picked him up and carried him away from another student. You find strength you never knew you had when a kid is getting their ass beat.
Allow me to lay down the rules of fights in school.
1. They are fighting here so that you'll break it up. No really. Sometimes, if two boys have been going back and forth for awhile, they will suddenly be directed to fight by their "friends" and others in the area. Now, there's only one thing to do, fight. The problem is that they really aren't that keen on pain. So, they look around and make sure there's a teacher. Then they begin what can only be compared to an elaborate mating dance. They jump around each other randomly pulling their arm back as if to say "I could punch you at any moment, but I have yet to commit to a throw!" Sometimes, they never even get a punch thrown at all before the teachers descend upon them. As they are pulled apart, we are treated to yells of "Yeah! I'd have got you if the teachers weren't here!" Yes. I'm sure you would have.
2. Boys don't hit women! It's true! If you haven't done anything to that kid and you get in the middle of the fight, you can rest assured that you will not get hit on purpose. Accidents happen, obviously, but most teenage boys will not intentionally hurt a woman who has not provoked them.
3. Never EVER get in the middle of a girl fight. Those girls don't hold back. They are not often, but they are brutal. They will pull your hair and rip your shirt while you try to get in the middle. If there is a girl fight, you need back up. You need it immediately. They do not adhere to the same rules as boys. There is no elaborate dance. They are not fighting at school so that you'll break them up. They will hit you if they get the chance. You might have to tackle someone. If you're in heels, it's best to kick them off before diving in.
To sum up our entry on fighting, eh, it doesn't happen as much as you think. It's usually not that bad. Beware of the girls.