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education

Teacher Cop

Every day I feel like a cop in the classroom. You know, always trying to enforce the rules.

Today I actually enabled the felony arrest of a student.

Lunch had just begun, and this kids noisily filtered out of the second-floor hallway outside my door. Then I heard a scream and some other muffled sounds – the kind of goofing off a teacher hears day after day.

But then I heard blood-curdling wails and someone cry, “you’re bleeding!”

I raced out of my door, as had another teacher down the hall. A girl was on her back, hand up to her face, full of gurgled cries. Another girl standing there said “someone just came and punched her!” I asked which way the assailant fled, and she pointed down the stairs. I jogged down them and asked a student there if she saw someone run out of the building. She said yes and pointed out the door. I took off. I ran in the only direction available out that door and soon saw another teacher. When I asked if he saw a student running out of the building, he pointed behind him. He remembered exactly which girl it was. Luckily she had slowed to a fast walk.

I ran again, hollering to have him call security. Another building over, I caught up with her. Careful to avoid touching her, I asked her name. She replied and slowed down slightly. I asked her if she would come with me to the admin building. She began walking quicker again, not the direction I wanted. Luckily, we ran across a Vice Principal. I got her attention, and the VP managed to cool the girl’s jets and get her to walk back with us to the admin building. It could have gone much worse, but it turned out very calm and I don’t think any of the students around figured out what was going on.

I followed behind the VP and the girl. I heard the VP, who had her arm gently looped around the girl’s, say “this is a friendly arm, not a restraining one.” Along the way, the girl admitted she had punched the other girl in the face. When we arrived to the VP of Discipline, he asked her why she did it. She said, “I had my reasons.” That’s all he needed to hear. She confessed to a brutal assault. Soon two eye-witnessed arrived and I was dismissed.

A little later, a security staff member said a restraining order was already somehow involved. And then another security person asked me what happened (before she asked for advice on designing a children’s book she was writing.)

I feel good that this girl was arrested rather than disappearing completely into the cafeteria crowd. I had something to do with that.

The victim had been so stunned by the attack that there was urine on the floor in addition to blood. She changed into a friend’s spare clothing after her nose stopped bleeding. I saw her being walked toward the health office, and she looked so completely miserable. I hope she will be all right. I don’t know her name, but one of her friends is a student of mine. I will ask her next Monday if her friend recovered okay.

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I was punched once in high school. Actually, the girl hit me two or three times. She and a friend had cut in front of me at the snack bar. I said something irritatedly under my breath. Girl 2 asked me to repeat it, obviously spoiling for a fight. I said, “nothing.” She kept badgering me so I finally replied, “I said ‘bitch’.”

*Wham* Girl 1 had punched me and I was sprawled on the cafeteria floor. Then I really screamed something rude at her. She punched me in the forehead, and perhaps one more time.

Was she immediately arrested for felony assault? No. The Dean had even recommended that I not press charges. He said it was to avoid any retribution from her, but really he had taken her under his wing and was trying to protect her. My father and I said, no way. I don’t know what happened after then. I was never asked to appear in court or anything, but I think she went back to Juvenile Hall. I have forever after been absolutely appalled by that Dean – that he should think I should go easy on her when she punched me multiple times with no aggressive precedent on my part. I didn’t even know those two girls. I don’t think I had even seen them before.

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The really weird thing is that today’s incident was the school’s second call to the police that day. That was also a felony assault – a senior boy punching a random freshman boy in the back of the head.

Oh – I forgot the punchline to all this.

Soon after this happened I was deciding how I would write about it in my blog. Fifteen minutes later, I realized what T-shirt I had worn today.

This one.

By Dawn Pedersen

Science advocate, web designer, educator, artist, and mommy.

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