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How do you break up a fight?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by chris1729, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. chris1729

    chris1729 New commenter

    You're on duty, and there are lots of kids milling about. A fight breaks out - not a scuffle, but two students, about your size, who want to do each other serious harm. Another colleague arrives quickly to help, but the students are determined to get at each other (reminder: they're adult-sized children) and the crowd of fifty students, who want the fight to continue, isn't helping.

    What do you do?
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Never had to do that, quite. I have had Boy A attack Boy B after provocation and Boy B try first to defend himself and then to retaliate. Both occasions on my own. Both occasions I have dived in between them - didn't do a risk assessment, just decided what was right on the spot. Both occaaions grateful for Boy C and Boy D who also got in the gap, and on one occasion Boy C and I restrained Boy A together until we thought he'd calmed down enough. He hadn't, so repeat performance.
    Wasn't pleasant, was scary only in retrospect (adrenalin and all that), certainly didn't consult school policy! Apology and gratitude from Boy A that day, unprompted, on one occasion; more grudging apology from the other.
    chris1729 likes this.
  3. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    call for help, you need all hands to remove onlookers,

    I have sometimes got between combatants, but only as a woman, and sensing that one at least wants to stop and will use my weakness as an excuse to stop fighting without losing face. Of course, I could get that judgement very wrong one day.

    Otherwise, if its a case of one child attacking another, I would intervene physically and take the risk, but if it is even stevens, I would not put myself in the middle, I would wait until there are enough colleagues present for several of us to restrain each child together.
    pepper5 likes this.
  4. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    generally big boys will stop fighting for a small woman, because it can be done without losing face, as it is clearly a choice they are making not to hurt the woman, rather than looking like they have been intimidated into stopping.Completely different story if a man tries to intervene
    caress, pepper5 and meggyd like this.
  5. chris1729

    chris1729 New commenter

    How? You're in a large playground, surrounded by about fifty or sixty students, you don't have a radio. The nearest colleagues are about 100 metres away.
  6. chris1729

    chris1729 New commenter

    It's two girls, who are so angry that keeping or losing face doesn't come into it. They will assault a teacher of necessary to get to the other.
    pepper5 likes this.
  7. chris1729

    chris1729 New commenter

    Indeed. We don't have a choice about who's on the scene: in this case, two men.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    I have had to do this a couple of times. I approach loudly (often in fights like these both individuals are looking for a way out) and get between them (I am large enough that it becomes hard to fight around me).

    If there are two of us, we can each take a student away from the scene, restraining if absolutely necessary.
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. chris1729

    chris1729 New commenter

    Are you trained in restraint? Are you confident you could do it without injury to yourself or others?
  10. chris1729

    chris1729 New commenter

    Fights happen at random. A fight may well break out next to a female teacher, 55 years old, with osteoporosis. What should she do?
  11. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    send students
  12. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    wait until there are enough staff there to have several people take hold of each child from behind
  13. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    leave them, men cannot grab hold of girls.wait until there are enough staff present for several people to take hold of each girl
  14. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Its a judgement you make at the time
  15. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    This is me! its much easier for me to stop a fight than for a man to. As a pp said, more often than not, fighters are looking for a way out of the situation, and having a frail woman in between them means they can stop without losing face. I have stopped 6 foot boys from fighting each other by getting in between them. It was obvious to all onlookers that they could have simply brushed me out of the way, but were restraining themselves out of chivalry!
    pepper5 likes this.
  16. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    There is no right answer to this.

    You decide at the time

    generally calling for help is the most important thing to do, you might need a lot of hands to control a situation like this.

    You never never never HAVE to get involved physically, you may choose to in some circumstances, depending on your judgement of the situation.

    if I feel fairly confident that the combatants are looking for a way out I might insert myself between them.

    If it is an attack rather than a fight, and one is weaker, or getting hurt, I might consider taking a risk to intervene to protect them, same as if I saw one of my children being assaulted by a stranger on the street.

    Basically, there is not a lot a teacher can do about a fight, other than discipline afterwoods.
    caress and chris1729 like this.
  17. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    Jesus. Thank God I don't work in a UK school, if this is what teachers are faced with.
  18. chris1729

    chris1729 New commenter

    They're too busy watching the fight. None of them wants to be seen helping the teacher.
  19. chris1729

    chris1729 New commenter

    Allow a potentially serious assault to occur, with a crowd of fifty students, some of whom will film it?
  20. chris1729

    chris1729 New commenter

    Not boys: girls, intensely fired up, possibly by some sort of social media feud. These girls have no interest in saving or losing face: they just want to assault the other.

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