Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Schoolhouse Moment - Fight or Flight?

Hmmmmming about ...

High School campuses can seem like there are a sea of people - and sometimes they are just that.  But they are also places filled with adults that want to offer support to all students.

First day of school - party on the quad - fun but can seem overwhelming to some young people

Be sure your child forms a relationship with a school counselor, teacher, administrator or campus aide so that they can always seek an advocate if they are overwhelmed or in a tough situation.  We are here to advocate for all students - really!

The week before winter or spring break can be nuts, fraught with over-excited students hopped up on too many sugar plums, classroom parties and visions of ski weekends and vacation romances.  Which can lead to campus horse play which can lead to horseplay gone bad.  At my school, the Friday before vacation, three students were horsing around. Then one of them had enough and said, "I'm going to make you sorry!"  The other said, "Go ahead. Bring it on."  The first student threw the first punches and the other responded in kind. Was it self-defense? The parent insisted it was self-defense because "What else could they do?"  (Education Code 48900 (a-2) states that it is a violation to, "Willfully use[d] force or violence upon the person of another, except in self-defense)

It is not self-defense when both students engaged in escalating the situation and  could have walked away to find an adult advocate on campus. 

While "backing down" may be against the beliefs of some who want their children to stand up for themselves in a physical manner, that kind of reaction to confrontational or bullying behavior can lead to significant disruption on the school campus, escalate the situation,  and lead to an unnecessarily potentially dangerous situation.  Tell your child - Use words and then find an adult advocate to assist.

Please talk to your children about what they can do in confrontational situations, role play what to say to another student that attempts to involve them in a situation that might lead to discipline and/or a more dangerous outcome. The number one priority on any school campus is to establish a safe and secure environment.  We all need to work together to teach young people to communicate with one another that they will not accept any kind of bullying behavior nor will they will not be dragged into behaving equally badly in order to defend themselves.

Encourage instead of discourage!  This is a picture of our Pep Squad, The Pack!  They are an amazing group of students that attend athletic events just to cheer on our teams. Wouldn't it be great if we had a cheer pack for positive behavior?

 I would love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding school safety, bullying and how we can ensure school environments that foster success for all people.

Go team!

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Thanks for your encouraging messages! No anonymous messages. Thanks!~CJ