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What should we do when there is a physical altercation between students?

Date: April 9th, 2015
By: Polly Bath

It’s the beginning of the day, the class is shuffling in, getting in their seats, getting their materials, partnering up for the activity that you’ve assigned. It seems like it’s going to start out to be a pretty normal day.

Then it happens…

Two of the kids start fighting and the other kids are encouraging them.

What should we do?

First of all, remain CALM. The last thing we want to do is escalate the situation by becoming upset ourselves. There are a few techniques you can try.

[BANG – book dropped on desk]

Present a sudden distraction. Sometimes this can get kids to stop right in their tracks.

“Michael, Justin, STOP!”

Give clear, confident, stern direction.

“Ashley, open the door to Mr. Goldberg’s room, please, and ask him to step in.”

Access a colleague in the adjoinging room or from across the hall. Have one of your students immediately go over and have somebody else step in to give you some assistance.

“Ok, everyone. Go ahead and get up, and follow Mr. Goldberg into his classroom, please.”

Very calmly exit everyone from the classroom into another room. That reduces the audience factor.

Every building should have a protocol for intervention in a violent situation. So, if the escalation seems to be getting violent and none of these other techniques have helped, put your building’s protocol into place. Meaning you call a certain person or team and those folks arrive immediately to help with the intervention.

Now, we sometimes have a kid in our classroom that has a history. The potential for him to have an altercation is there. If this is the case, make sure you have a building protocol in place.

You need to know ahead of time what to do. Don’t wait to try to figure out what to do when you’re in the middle of that type of altercation.

With these simple techniques we can be prepared if we are ever in this situation.