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Don’t Stand Up, Just Walk Away

Jolene Janus, Staff Reporter

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“Did you not hear about the fight yesterday?” is not an uncommon thing to hear at the lunch table or during class. Fights in schools happen a few times a year at Green Mountain. For the majority of the students, this is gossip – nothing more, nothing less. In a school of a thousand people, it’s pretty easy for the story of a fight to spread like a wildfire. In general, it takes less than an entire day for a rumor or gossip, like a notice about a fight, to spread through the school. Especially if it was somewhere open…like the cafeteria.

Being in high school, most students have never taken a glance at the code of conduct, much less read it. Well, it might have been glanced at once during that one assembly sometime in the never-to-tell past of middle school. So consequences for fighting are unknown and uncared about.

However, there are some views of the school that are…interesting.

Of course, most of the consequences are pretty obvious for anyone using common sense. If someone starts the fight, they’ll be penalized. If they’re are on the receiving end and are fighting purely in self-defense, it’s much less likely they’ll be penalized. Then there’s a jumbled mess of tickets or charges, the different levels of assault, and whether or not “the Lakewood police need to be notified in case of an assault,” as said by Assistant Principal Joey Ruppel. Of course there’s “some level of flexibility” with the fighting, as much of it depends on the circumstances.

But what may be the most surprising is the fact that the schools want to somewhat discourage teens from standing up for each other. What they want to avoid is circumstances of friends standing up for other friends who have been previously picked on. Ruppel described the example of a small, picked on student bringing along a larger friend to protect them from being tormented to explain the circumstances the school wishes to avoid. Even spontaneous standing up for someone else is discouraged. Instead, students are recommended to simply walk away and ask for adult intervention to solve the problem. Students are only recommended to fight if they “[have] no means of getting away or means of leaving or being protected” since then “that’s considered self-defense,” according to the school rules, stated Ruppel. Similarly, students are discouraged from fighting on someone else’s behalf unless the person they are defending has absolutely no other way to get away.

Otherwise the decisions between right and wrong enter the grey area. For example, if a victim turns the tables and continues the fight, attempts to fight after an intervention by a staff member, or doesn’t flee when given the chance, they are then considered a second “aggressor” and are punished similarly to the original attacker. Then, it’s no longer an account of self-defense.


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