I went to a class today and among some of the topics discussed was school violence. The instructor has a real dislike for “zero tolerance” policies, with good reason. It eliminates a lot of effort and responsibility on the school administration, and subjects kids who were simply defending themselves or others.
So he told us this story about his own child:
He was called to the school one day around noon on a Wednesday, and his nine year old was sitting in the Principal’s office. The principal tells him that his son was in a fight and was getting suspended.
“What happened?” he asked. It turns out a bully was picking on a smaller child with learning disabilities, and his son tried to stop the bully. There was a shove or two and his son, also smaller than the bully, punched the bully in the nose, ending the fight and causing a nosebleed.
“I understand that you have to do what you have to do. How long is he suspended?” Dad asks.
“Three days,” the principal says, “but we’ll send his homework and assignments home so he can keep up with his classwork while he is at home.”
And that’s when dad turns it completely around and shuts down the principal with, “Thank you for your help, sir, but my kid won’t have time for that. My kid protected some poor child, put himself in harms way, and stood up for himself and others. We won’t have time for any homework, because we’re going to Sea World over this long weekend you’ve given us.”
And that’s what they did.
And he explained further:
People get taught that violence is bad. Violence is not always bad. Uncontrolled violence is terrible. Violence for violence sake is awful. But controlled violence, violence with a goal, that’s good. Without violence in 1945 those of us on the East Coast would be speaking German. Londoners and Parisians would be speaking German. People on the West Coast would maybe be speaking Japanese: maybe, because after all, Yamamoto said, “I would never fight a land war in America, there would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”