When you are a middle or high school public school teacher, events happen instantaneously, and you have to be equal to the task of confronting the challenge of an unexpected situation face to face. You never know when or where school violence will erupt; a teacher only knows that it inevitably will.
Teachers not only must be wary of being inadvertently injured by enraged “students” fighting in the hallway or the cafeteria, a peer might even wind-up becoming a threat to one’s physical safety. I recall one particular eighth grade Washington trip. As usual, I was chaperoning one hundred twenty eighth graders on the Hammonton Middle School’s annual class DC trip. We had just arrived back ...view middle of the document...
Our school has five very capable chaperones already over there to deal with that problem.”
Apparently, the livid fellow did not relish my explanation. He took a huge swing at my jaw. I ducked down just in the nick of time. His blow glanced off the top of my head and knocked my baseball cap off.
I latched onto the man’s right arm, and my fellow teacher gripped his left hand. Finally, the crazed chaperone realized that we weren’t exactly wimps and that we could effectively restrain him with our combined strength if we wanted to. He shrugged from our grasps and paced away in a huff.
“I don’t think he likes public school kids,” my colleague stated.
“I don’t think he’s a Phillies’fan either,” I replied.
So, even on what appears to be a pleasant field trip, your physical existence could possibly be endangered by an upset chaperone from another school suddenly going ballistic on you.
When my teacher friend and I got back to our quarters, we heard a disturbance originating from the adjoining room. Four of our “students” had indeed been pounding on the walls and had effectively antagonized a drunk tractor trailer driver occupying the neighboring room. The tattooed big-rig operator had broken a bottle of Southern Comfort, and the unstable adult was threatening to cut up the suddenly startled kids with the shattered weapon in his hand.
My fellow teacher and I convinced the agitated guy that we were the “students’” teachers and sincerely apologized to him for their obnoxious behavior. The man exited the kids’ room, muttering under his breath how he would return and inflict serious damage on the “students” if they persisted in their high jinks.
Remarkably, and much to our relief, the four boys toned-down their boisterous antics and went to sleep shortly after midnight. They finally became aware that not all adults could tolerate their conduct like their parents and teachers could.
Fighting occurs quite regularly in public schools. During my thirty-four year teaching career, I had the displeasure of having to break-up over two hundred and fifty “student’” fights, which amounts to about seven and a half altercations per year.
I recollect one really terrible girl battle that had erupted between the middle school’s red and yellow brick buildings as the “students” were returning to classes from lunch recess. Girl fights are quite dangerous because they involve pulling hair and scratching and clawing with long fingernail/talons. Two big girls were pummeling and mauling each other as if they were vicious alley cats.
Charlie Southard, a very affable elderly teacher and I managed to separate the felines four times, but the battle ensued. That was one of the most difficult struggles I had ever dealt with, and it took Charlie and I a full five minutes to finally restore order amidst an overzealous audience of a hundred or so “student” spectators. Three weeks after the incident Charlie Southard died of a massive coronary attack. I...