Two Public School Educators Duke It Out In Class: What’s Going On Here?

Oops!

I’m sorry! Wrong video.

What I meant to put up was this…

This was a student cell phone video of the fight that broke out, in class, in front of students, at Stone Mountain Middle School in Atlanta, Georgia, last week. The combatants were a  teacher and a paraprofessional, both of whom have  been fired and arrested.

After the fight was finally broken up, students say school officials came into the classroom, went through their cell phones and made them delete any evidence of it.

“Nobody apologized they just came in and were like who videotaped this and stuff like that,” a student said.  “I think they were trying to push it under the rug so nobody would know about it and the school’s reputation wouldn’t be messed up.”

The school issued the usual statements—you can guess what it said, the usual boilerplate about such conduct being unacceptable and not comporting with the school system’s values. I don’t care what it said. Nobody is sure what the fight was about: I don’t care about that either.

What I want to know is the starting point for most ethics analysis: What’s going on here?…or in this case, what the HELL is going on here?

  • I’ve never heard of anything like this happening before. Has it happened before? How can it happen?

How can a school system employ one, never mind two, alleged educational professionals who would be any more likely to behave this way than they would wear an armadillo for a hat?

  • Can the reaching profession, especially in the public schools, nurture any worse professional standards? This is the fabled public school system that Betsy DeVos is called a menace for wanting to over-haul?

I know that it is only one incident, but just as the United Airlines abuse of a passenger it had no right to bump signals that the airline industry’s service standards are spiraling out of control, this horrific display in the Stone Mountain Middle School suggests a sick culture in and outside of education.

  • On my local news channel, they told us that the two pugilists were suspended but were still employed “pending an investigation,” which made me laugh out loud. How about watching the video? Nevertheless, there needs to be an investigation—of the school, the administration, recruitment and hiring practices, management and oversight, the culture of the school system, and more, like where do women in the teaching profession learn to throw punches like that?

Well, from teachers, parents and role models like them, I guess.

95 Comments

Filed under Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Professions, Workplace

95 responses to “Two Public School Educators Duke It Out In Class: What’s Going On Here?

  1. valkygrrl

    When I was in sixth grade, one of the students in my class hit the teacher.

    The flight or flight stuff resides in the most primitive part of our brains. Intellectually you can know what to do. Your immediate impulse when your body is under attack though, that’s hard to control. People expected to deal with that sort of thing are trained to do. And let’s be honest, they’re not always trained well.

    A 30ish year old woman being slugged by a 12 year old in the middle of a school hallway probably doesn’t get practiced a lot in college.

    She hit him back and it turned into a fight that only broke up when some cowardly little snot who was standing nearby *cough* don’t know who that little shit could have been *cough* ran into the principals office for help.

    She was suspended for a month but kept her job.

    He didn’t show back up till the next school year.

    I don’t know what started this fight in Atlanta, I do know someone had to have been the first to use violence and the person who was hit should have that considered in mitigation.

    • Interesting. I don’t agree. There’s no stand your ground in school. The teacher’s job is to do what’s best for the kids, which means self-defense is out. She runs out the door and gets administrators and the police. It takes two to tango, as my father used to say.

      • valkygrrl

        You don’t agree. What kind of an answer is that? Aren’t you going to tell me I’m unhinged or deranged or at least an idiot?

        I’m counting on your to keep my colossal ego in check man, way to let me down.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Obviously you didn’t go to Catholic high school. You jerked around with the Irish Christian Brothers they’d take a right cross-face at you and knock you flat. I also wouldn’t complain to mom and dad if they did, because they’d likely hit you a second time. That said, if you got to that point you were probably on your way out anyway, private schools have very wide latitude who to expel. Staff fighting in full view of the students though? WTF?

        • Other Bill

          The student quote I read on this story that got me was something along the lines of “We have students fighting in the class room all the time, but this was the first teacher fight I’ve seen!”

          I went to an all boys Marist Brothers high school. I can not imagine two guys fighting in a classroom and not being expelled immediately thereafter. There were fights but usually after school and off campus (promptly broken up by the dean of discipline mysteriously showing up before or shortly after hostilities broke out). There may have been a very rare fight in the cafeteria during lunch. But fighting in the classroom all the time? What’s up with that?

          Where do these women learn that windmill, open fist, punching technique. You see it all the time in these assault videos? At least there were no kicks to the head or head stomps. Sheesh.

          • “Where do these women learn that windmill, open fist, punching technique.”

            Cartoons? Not from anyone that knows how to throw a punch, leastways.

            “At least there were no kicks to the head or head stomps.”

            Had either combatant tumbled to the floor, providing the opportunity, there would have been.

            Interesting difference between this (horrified juvenile students) and the usual episodes of recorded altercations between minors: rabidly cheering throngs.

            I was a bouncer at a hotel & Disco from 1976 to 1981 during which time I had FAR more punches…um…directed toward my general vicinity, (couple of clutch bags & stiletto heels wielded, too) by disgruntled X-Chromosomal units than by EVIL males.

      • You all know my close association with the teaching profession, at least in Texas. Jack, you are right if the aggressor allows you to retreat. Many times, the decision has been made to fight, and the first punch will have the same sanctions as the next 15. If the kid is unbalanced (in the sense of ‘upset,’ not necessarily ‘deranged’) enough to hit a teacher, they likely will follow up.

        In that case, the teacher can defend his/her self. Not by throwing punches, but by mitigating their impact while talking the student down and asking for help (loudly). (yes, I just agreed with valkygrrl)

        Most of these cases in the past, absent the ubiquitous cameras of today, ended poorly for the student, at least in Texas. Some were tried as adults (!) for assault and/or battery, and never allowed back on campus. Schools cannot allow violence against staff, or it becomes open season. Sometimes the teacher WAS the aggressor, and paid the price. But it was rare.

        But between two employees? In front of students? That is signature significance, for both so-called adults. Cameras will come out. Take it to a private place, you morons.

        I would ask how they were hired, but this IS Stone Mountain schools.

        • valkygrrl

          Naw, valkygrrl was the 12 year old coward who ran for help instead of tackling the kid who attacked her teacher.

      • Red Pill Ethics

        Yeah… I call BS on that. A) Self-defense is never out – that is an insane expectation. No reasonable human being would expect another human being to be a living punching bag for the sake of decorum. B) I would also argue that defending yourself is exactly the example you should be setting for the kids. Proactively taking responsibility for your own safety and the reasonable/ethical times to use violence are wildly undertaught in our society. Cases in point for the former: the hypothetical teacher/punching-bag who thought society’s rules were the equivalent to actual armor. Case in point for the latter: the teacher who threw the first punch.

        • valkygrrl

          You should understand I was talking about reflex actions in the heat of the moment. If someone’s hurting you, your reptile brain screams make it stop, long before your higher brain functions can think about options.

        • Watch the video. That is not self-defense. That is mutual fury, and all sense of duty and environment has left the building. You’d make that same argument if the fight injured a student? You’d have to, because the fact that it didn’t was just moral luck.

  2. I’m actually displeased about the attempted confiscation. If the Admin could be counted on to do the right thing it would not be needed. (prompt firing for unprofessionalism, there’s many teachers looking for a good job around here) But it had to be recorded because student testimony is so often disvalued about the seriousness and stupidity of the brawl. I worry about ambush vigilantes, but this is self evident.

  3. wyogranny

    They tried to delete the video evidence? WTH? What’s wrong with the education profession? Both teachers and administrators acting like thugs. And people are conflicted about allowing school choice?

  4. mrsmilleratl

    This is local news for me. The teachers were quarreling over who was the better teacher / who would teach the next assignment. Just kidding! The rumor here is the fight was over a man. Quelle surprise.
    This is my local school district, Dekalb County GA, known for its corrupt leadership, going back for decades. We dealt with them for about five minutes and then enrolled both our children in private schools, where they will remain.

  5. Phil Alperson

    Once again you use an isolated incident to castigate is he entire public educational system. SAD!

    • Joshua

      It is pretty easy to condemn the entire public education simple when incidents like this happen. Fights like this don’t just start from nowhere. Many of the incidents that have been happening in the public school systems have had build up and continued affect on the schools.

      The public school system is failing horrendously. The faster we admit it and work to correct it the better off as a nation we will be. I am always reminded of a Pink Floyd music video when I think of the education in America today.

    • Yeah, pointing to one example after another that indicates a broken system—how unfair! Each one is an individual, isolated incident that has no significance whatsoever to the whole. We have predator teachers, child abuse through no-tolerance discipline, attempts to control student speech outside school, routine political and ideological indoctrination, restrictions on discipline because it has “disparate impact”, and graduates who are functionally illiterate,because teachers and administrators are disproportionately incompetent.

      Move on, nothing to see here.

      When the education profession issues and enforces a profession-wide ethics code—they currently have none—let me know. Oh—it needs to have a “Don’t brawl in the classroom provision.”

      • Deery

        Yeah, pointing to one example after another that indicates a broken system—how unfair! Each one is an individual, isolated incident that has no significance whatsoever to the whole.

        Hmmm. Compare and contrast your thoughts on that to your words and thoughts on the policing system in the United States, where apparently, people aren’t allowed to draw reasonable conclusions from a string of incidences. There is nothing to see, only isolated incidents and a few “bad apples.”

    • Is it just me or is Trump’s vernacular starting to infect everyone? “SAD!” seems like something he’d end a tweet with, and this is just one example in a long line of comments I’ve seen ending in one word ephithets.

      • “A Nation of Assholes” validated again!

        Losers.

        The device is fine if it summarizes substance that has gone before. When it is a substitute for a real argument, it’s a cop-out. I think it is sad that those in forced alliance with the NEA refuse to acknowledge the obvious: that the publics schools are badly run, badly taught and no longer serve the interests of students or the nation, and the fact that there are dedicated and talented teachers out there doesn’t change those conclusions.

      • If Trump were everything we wanted in a president but still used those single word blurts to end comments, we’d think it playful and charming and wouldn’t protest its introduction into discourse and conversation when appropriate.

        But we don’t. Since we hate most of Trump, we better go ahead and hate all of Trump…

        I for one think the one liners are just another generally harmless eccentricity floating in a sea of loathsomeness.

        • I don’t know Tex, I think I’d find it an abrasive cop-out nomatter who wrote it. Your mileage may vary, but it reads like the kind of arguement you’d expect from someone enrolled primary school, not an adult defending it.

    • Phil,

      Peek out from under the rock under which you reside… you won’t make ignorant comments so often.

    • I don’t know. There seems to total lack of thought in public schools of late. Here is a story of what appears to be a decent teenager who killed himself because of mishandling of a situation by the school and local police:

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-naperville-north-suicide-lawsuit-20170524-story.html

      (I realize that the story is incredibly one-sided; I am commenting on the teen’s character, just that a school administration stepped into something that is not a school issue.) I am not entirely sure why this teen was brought in to the principal’s office for something that happened off campus. Why would the school interject itself in non-school related conduct? There is no indication that this boy and the girl engaged in a tryst on campus and there is no indication that he shared the audio/video with classmates (if at all) while on campus. The only connection to the school is that he had his cell phone with him at school.

  6. I would assume no firings until investigation, because as we’ve learned with so many cop shooting videos there is always something *before* the cameras roll.

    One of the teachers may very well have been acting in self defense. I don’t see why that teacher needs to be relieved. That being said, I think either teacher had plenty of opportunity to disengage during the fight.

    • THAT fight? Students were screaming, and two tried to break it up. I don’t care who started it.

      • And you also know that in our era of litigation it’s better to have done an investigation on an obvious firing and then fire than to immediately fire and have the teacher’s union sue the bejeezus out of the district even though they’d likely lose… the district ain’t got time for that.

        • Nevertheless, this is like saying that Jack Ruby allegedly shot Oswald. It’s always bad when procedures prompt cynicism and ceate the appearance of impropriety. Needing an investigation to confirm the obvious says “cover-up” and CYA.

          • The Jack Ruby shooting video seems clear and with plenty of lead up context though… wouldn’t you say?

            And is there something wrong with CYA? Especially knowing how litigious we are?

            I don’t think investigation immediately says coverup. I do think the “delete these videos” says coverup. I wonder a lot about the school district now.

      • And yes, THAT fight. We never clearly saw the start of of it and we never saw the lead up. This is the exact same thing with some of those cop shooting videos. Missing a ton of context and going without investigation is knee jerk.

        • Cops have authorization to use their guns, and it’s part of their job. Teachers do not have authorization to use their fists in class. Ever. And fighting, in front of student’s no less, is not part of their job and never can be. Throw a single punch—bye.

          • All humans are authorized to defend themselves if assaulted. But you’d rather not find out if one of them was assaulted.

            • All humans are authorized to defend themselves if assaulted. Professionals are held to a higher standard. Should a pacifist duke it out with an assailant in from of his organization’s convention? Should a Quaker? If a lawyer attacks another lawyer in court, the lawyer who responds with a beatdown is getting suspended. If doctors have a fight in an operating room and the patient is endangered, should only one be disciplined?

              Two quotes: “Let’s take this outside” and “RUN AWAY!”

              • If any of them act purely in self-defense with an eye for an opening to retreat, then yes, they get to act in self-defense.

                Should a lawyer lay back and permit himself to be beaten to death in a court room if he has no means of escape?

                Should a doctor be beaten to death in an operating room by a colleague if there is no means of escape?

                Of course not.

                It’s hard to say “Let’s take this outside” when your teeth are being knocked in. It’s also hard to enact the philosophy of “Run Away” if there is no reasonably perceived avenue of escape…

        • Other Bill

          Tex, what could the investigation find that would justify two teachers fighting, no rumbling, in the classroom they were in charge of in front of a roomful of students? It’s a per se firing offence in any rationally administered school. And I’d love to see the teachers union grievance or judicial complaint. It would be hilarious. And totally without merit. On its face.

          • How the hell do they afford two teachers in the same class? If that is the case.

            We struggle with that in Texas.

            • Chris

              It was a teacher and a paraprofessional.

            • Trumpgurl

              One teacher, one para-professional.
              Typically, that means it’s a special needs classroom.
              Paras are paid close to minimum wage and assist teachers and administration with students.
              Without paras, like secretaries, schools couldn’t function, especially with their skimpy budgets.

          • So if one day in a completely different situation one teacher approaches another in class and start wailing on them, the assaulted teacher has to sit there and be pummeled into oblivion in order to avoid being fired.

            That’s a silly standard. Which is why an investigation is appropriate. Probably will determine both are in the wrong. Probably being initiated for CYA reasons. But still one ought to find out anyway lest a teacher who was merely acting in self defense is fired for the wrong reasons.

            • Other Bill

              Investigation: Principal calls pugilists into office. “What the hell happened?” Principal then talks to a few kids who were in the classroom. “What happened?” Principal then fires one (in the very unlikely scenario you’ve outlined) or both of the teachers.

  7. Wayne

    These “professionals” were probably duking it out over a guy they were both having intimate relations with. I’ve seen this stuff at a predominately non-white school district I previously worked at: In one case, a teacher’s aide having an affair with the school principal. This is an excellent example of why we need charter schools.

  8. Jack asked, “How can a school system employ one, never mind two, alleged educational professionals who would be any more likely to behave this way…”

    If there is no history (background checks) of such behavior the school system or any employer has absolutely no idea if someone is going to snap. You cannot blame the entire school system for one instance like this; now if there is school system wide trend of hiring teachers with serious behavioral problems including fighting in or out of school then it’s clearly a system wide problem that’s being ignored.

    Physical fights happen even when professionals are involved, we are human. What bothers me more is the intentional efforts to cover this up; that alone warrants serious investigation into the practices of the school system , they are actively trying to cover up serious behavioral problems. Heads should roll because of those kinds of actions.

    • Teachers work with children. There has to be a background check that looks into violence and sexual misconduct. I am also very doubtful that there were not plenty of signs before the fight that the women were not suited for their jobs.

      • Jack,
        I did mention background checks; however, the fact is that they don’t always tell the whole story.

        You can be doubtful if you like, but you really don’t have any evidence that the employer was negligent in their hiring practices or that the hiring practices allow such behavioral problems to be ignored.

        • Res Ipsa Loquitur. If two teachers start slugging each other, someone has screwed up, because that should never happen.

          • Well the teachers certainly screwed up! 😉

          • Yeah, at a minimum the teacher who started it screwed up. Maybe both screwed up but there’s a possibility one was acting in self defense.

            I have no doubt the school district is acting out of more than just “let’s get to the bottom of this needs” but that doesn’t change the need to get to the bottom of it.

            If we’ve learned anything from videos it’s that there’s a greater context and a prior context and the video is incredibly unclear on the initial phase of this.

            • As in Rodney King. I don’t disagree. I do hold that there should be strict liability AN no-tolerance: no fighting by teachers in class, unless their lives are at stake. And the fight that is justified needs to cease at the earliest possible time. We can see on the video that THAT didn’t happen, when the students tried to break it up.

    • Other Bill

      “Physical fights happen even when professionals are involved.”

      No, Zman. Not between two teachers in their classroom in front of kids. No. Frankly, if two teachers got in a fight in a bar, they’d have to be fired. The kids would find out about it. Teachers are chief among the few remaining role models kids have anymore.

      • Other Bill

        And frankly, the dean of faculty and probably the principal should be fired as well. The main job is to hire and maintain a professional, collegial staff, not a faculty fight club.

      • This is under the Naked Teacher Principle: even in a bar, the kids will find out if you are fighting. Heck, teachers in a bar got caught playing a game describing who they would have sex with (and naming students)

      • Other Bill wrote, “No, Zman. Not between two teachers in their classroom in front of kids.”

        Maybe not where you grew up; I saw it happen a couple of times, it was many years ago in a school in a really really rough neighborhood.

        I agree it SHOULDN’T HAPPEN but that does mean it doesn’t happen. We try to do everything we can to prevent such things but it is impossible to predict all aspects of human behavior when there isn’t a history.

      • Teachers have to lay down and take a beating to demonstrate how children ought to behave.

        Got it.

        • Other Bill

          This self defense thing is a red herring that’s been tossed into this discussion.

          • Other Bill

            Next we’ll be discussing whether the aggrieved teacher should have been permitted to carry while teaching and whether she would have been justified in blowing her assailant away.

            • Other Bill

              Tex, macho stuff like this can be taught by the football coaches during practice and during games under the Friday night lights. Not necessary in the classroom.

              • No I get your stance. If a teacher can’t get away from being assaulted they have to lay back and take the beating. That’s your stance.

                I think it’s a silly stance. But that is your stance.

                • Other Bill

                  Why are we talking about “taking a beating?” I went to school for twenty-one years and taught junior high and high school for two and a half years. Never saw any teachers come anywhere near to having a heated disagreement, never mind engage in fisticuffs. How and why is this “stand your ground” argument germane?

                  • “Stand your ground” is actually the red herring.

                    This is about “duty to retreat”, which yes the teacher does have a duty to (unless her students are endangered). And also about “if not retreat is available, right to self defend”.

                    The arguement here is whether or not the assaulted teacher was able to retreat or not. The video isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be on that matter. But I’ll watch it again.

                    I’m not sure how you never seeing teachers come to blows is germane…

                    • Yes, “stand your ground” was flip. Mea culpa. “Duty to retreat” is correct.

                    • Chris

                      I actually find myself leaning toward tex here. Certainly most competent teachers should be able to defuse a conflict without ever having to resort to violence. But if one is attacked by another person, sometimes self-defense is necessary. I doubt that was the case here, but I’d like more info before I decide for certain.

  9. In this day-n-age, aren’t we compelled to ask, or at least ponder the possibility, that the male in question isn’t a student?

  10. Jack, the only quibble I have is when you say that you don’t care what the fight was about. I think it is important to learn what the fight was about, because then it gets us into the heads of the combatants, and that is what allows us to start the investigation that goes all the way up. The reason I think this requires a little explanation, so please forgive the lengthy rambling to follow.

    I have to admit, my bias in this matter comes from dealing with incident investigations at my refinery, and the various training courses we’ve received in how to conduct such investigations. The one that really stands out the most is called “Latent Cause Analysis”, championed by Robert Nelms. The premise is that all incidents, even if we are speaking of a pump aggressively disassembling itself, ultimately are traced back to human causes. In the case of a pump, yes entropy will eventually have its way with the best-built pump in the world, but the reason the pump failed while it was in service causing a major incident is rooted in human causes.

    Once the human causes are identified, we examine the gap between what behavior we actually had, and what behavior we desire. Then we ask why that gap exists. We try to understand the motivations of the stakeholders — those that had some role to play in the incident — to the point that we would make the same decision in their place. For example, that pump was not maintained, even though it was on a schedule. We can all agree that the pump should have been maintained, and that there was an ethical failing in not maintaining the pump when it was explicit in the instructions to properly maintain it, but that doesn’t close the gap of why it wasn’t maintained. Perhaps the pump was unique in the plant and parts were not in stock, and the supplier was slow in provided the replacement parts need for maintenance. Maybe the pump mechanic felt that if he tried to bring the problem to management, his warnings that the pump needed maintenance but couldn’t be fixed due to lack of parts would fall on deaf ears. After all, the pump is in a critical service, there are no backups, and taking the unit offline to fix the pump would put the entire plant’s product plan in jeopardy. So we have a problem with the pump mechanic who failed to report the problem so it could be properly assessed for risk management. But we have a deeper, cultural problem, in which this employee in particular, but perhaps employees at large, feel they are not being listened to, or perhaps even that speaking up is a risk to their employment. Then we have to examine management to understand (not condone, but understand) why the willingness to dismiss employee concerns is so prevalent.

    Once the understanding is made, two questions are then asked. What is it about the group as a whole that allowed this event to happen? And, what is it about ME that allowed this event to happen? Once we answer those questions, we can produce a list of action items to hopefully improve the situation, that will close the gap between desired behavior and actual behavior.

    So what about this case of two teachers fighting? True, we’re already at the human contribution of the incident, but what explains the gap between the desired behavior (professional attitudes, especially in front of children, especially in putting personal matters aside for the sake of the children) and the observed behavior (Jerry Spring Live in the classroom)? Suppose it was a fight over a man. Can we get into the heads of the combatants enough to understand why they felt that a physical clash in front of a young, impressionable audience was preferable to any of the alternatives? Once we start digging into those motivations, we might discover that the incident is a byproduct of a culture in which soap-opera dramas are considered the norm, and are being fostered by the administration at large. Or we might find that these are personal problems that have simmered for a great deal of time, and that two otherwise professional persons reached a breaking point, and the administration was actually innocent. Or we might find that these individuals had no clue that professional behavior meant keeping personal issues out of the classroom, that such antics were, to them, a norm, and the school’s vetting process utterly failed to pick up on that.

    The point, though, is that even if this fight is a direct consequence of our failing school systems, until we identify what the latent causes are, we can never close the gap between desired behavior and actual behavior. It also makes it impossible to tell if this event is actually a consequence of a failing system (which, by the way, I do agree is failing) or a one-off, isolated incident.

    It will be interesting if we get to see any of the rationalizations that undoubtedly will be used to explain the fight. While the rationalizations are themselves ethical dodges, what they are should be enlightening. So, if the teachers use the “everyone does it”, especially if the administration quickly tries to cover up incidents as they happen, while that doesn’t excuse their behavior, it does point to a larger cultural issue. We can start to ask why the administration tries to cover up the incidents. Is it a matter of power? Is it a concern over job security? Or is there a fear that if too many issues become public knowledge, the school will be shut down, and some of the people in charge find that so intolerable that they are willing to sacrifice ethics to keep the school open? If it is the case that the administration feels it is worth more to them to chuck ethics out the window than follow other courses of action, can we learn enough about the pressures they are facing that we can understand (again, understand, not condone) their decisions?

  11. Scott GF

    Has anyone ever heard of the movie Fist Fight? It’s about 2 teachers fighting. It just came out!
    The normalization has just begun.
    Time to read Atlas Shrugged like a how-to tech manual.

  12. Errol

    The school administration before firing anyone have to make sure of a number of things. Were they both fighting and therefore both should be fired or was one attacking the other, in which case the attacked teacher had to first if, possible, run away. But if caught in a corner then she had to defend herself until in a position to get away. Also what if the attacked teacher unable to defend herself and was taking a beating?
    The school administration should first suspend both staff but only fire one or both when they are sure of what happened, but in deleting the phone evidence which makes finding out what happened much more difficult, suggests a cover-up was their first goal.
    After looking at this video I would think that both deserve to be fired but only after a proper investigation. Firing staff immediately would just as likely result in the wrong people being fired.

    Also I was once on a jury after a man who was tall and athletic looking attacked another man who was short and plump. “RUN AWAY”? Not much chance of that. He got as far as his car which was also his home where he stored everything he had. From then on he had no choice but to fight. So running away is not always a choice.

    • dragin_dragon

      Once upon a time, real close to fifty years ago, I got into a bar fight with a guy who was a little shorter than me, and looked flabby. He attacked me while I was shooting darts, and to this day, I don’t know why. He, after a short exchange of blows, “ran away”. I chased him, because I was enraged. When I caught him, he was boxed in to a dead-end alley, so he had no real choice but to fight me. To make a long story short, this guy, multiple black belts, cleaned my clock. As my old granddaddy once told me, “Never get into a fight with a stranger. You will never know what he knows”.

  13. I’ll say this: I can’t tell who started the actual fist fight, so I can’t tell who was defending from whom and they were both pretty solidly locked so, again, I can’t tell who had duty to seek (within reason) an avenue of escape.

    But, before all that, they ought to both be fired for even having an argument in front of students that led to brawling.

    The should have been fired *without a punch ever having been thrown*…

  14. OhThatGuy

    I can’t say that seeing a video like this is that much of a surprise. As pointed out in the COTD, the root causes that led to the fight really come down to societal issues and are not specific to “the failing educational system.”

    Having been in public education for over 20 years, I witness each day the effects of the breakdown of civics and polite society. We are several generations into parenting being removed from child bearing, with the consequences being the utter lack of understanding about how to be an “adult” and how to function in the world. The same undisciplined, screaming in public, fit-throwing, intolerable brat-kids you’ve seen eventually get old enough to (sometimes) hold a job or even become some type of professional. Age does not automatically grant maturity nor wisdom. Left unchecked, the same brat-kids become brat-adults; burning cars after a college football game, bashing protesters in Berkeley, or taking swings at each other in a classroom.

    So do we blame the combatants for their behavior? Yes, of course, unless there’s some self-defense aspect as yet undiscovered, it took two to tango. But the problems still remain. As pointed out in the COTD, look for the latent causes, but here’s where I think Ryan’s comment fell short: Suppose the pump had been maintained but the parts to keep it running where totally lacking in quality and incapable of functioning properly? Maybe the parts to keep the pump running are sub-standard, third-world knock-off parts that look like they’ll fit and work but actually do not? Why even use the crappy parts? Well, because that’s all there is now. We have out-sourced our ability to make things of value and reduced the quality of what’s available to a point so low that mediocre is the new standard.

    It is likely that each generation of educators has failed to live up to the expectations of those who came before, and the same is probably true for may other professions. But until we as a society own up to our failings, I fear that it won’t be too long before Idiocracy (the movie) becomes an actual historical documentary.

    • Excellent comment. Still, I think guests on the Jerry Springer Show resorting to fists to resolve conflict points to a societal problem, while teachers punching each other is part of the sub-problem of professionalism and competence leaving education. It’s like Democratic leadership suddenly using vulgarity in speeches. Society has been vulgar for a long time, but the nation’s leaders still once understood that their job was to set higher standards, not sink to the lowest common denominator.

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