In spite of the administrative “climate specialists”, nothing is being done
It was another violent week at Hamden High School.
On Monday afternoon, May 8, a fight broke out on the third floor in the science wing. A teacher tried to break it up. The students broke his nose. The teacher also has a concussion and will be out for the rest of the year. He should be given a combat-duty bonus.
Footage in the Conduit version: https://ctltribuneblog.substack.com/publish/post/121261250
On Thursday, May 11, nothing new, a fight between two boys in the boys’ bathroom.
On Friday, May 12, two boys “jumped” another boy in the cafeteria. (For readers not as familiar as Behemoth is with AAVE (African-American Vernacular English), “jump” means attack. It is a premeditated fight, really more of a battle. It’s a very popular tactic. The supervisor on duty who intervened got tossed about like a rag doll. Unbelievably, or quite believably, depending upon your perspective, students gathered to cheer, egg the fight on, and film it.
Three big fights in one week, lots of cops in the building, lots of expulsion papers being prepared. (Expulsion simply means that the student is out of the building. The student still has a right to an education. The student gets tutored at taxpayer expense.)
Fights create other problems. Students rush to see these fights and make videos of them. Hallways are blocked. The crowds are another tremendous safety hazard. Security has to break through the throngs of kids to get to the fight.
Fights are very popular here. Their impact on the classroom cannot be overstated. Students are captivated by videos of them, thrown into frenetic delight. They would much rather watch videos of their teachers getting beat up than pay attention to these teachers.
Let’s stop blaming Covid for fights. Bellicosity is not a symptom of Covid-19. Hamden students have always fought. The school’s track record is shameful. Several years ago, a female teacher tried to break up a fight; she nearly had her neck snapped. She had to retire. Covid can only be blamed in the sense that it completely shut down what was left of the disciplinary system. Students can embrace their bold side with few consequences.
Three fights in a week; two staff members injured, one seriously. Clearly, the “Climate Specialists,” who earn on average $83,000 in Connecticut and Clifford Beers Counseling, which has an office on the third floor of the high school and made a half a million last year, are not getting it right.
Having a week without multiple fights should be a straightforward task with all the mediators in this building. Maybe stopping the fights is too massive a challenge to warrant all these extra positions. Maybe the Board of Education should offer students financial incentives not to fight. Offer free piercings or acrylic nails as a year-end bonus. That could be cheaper in the long run. And very avant-garde.
It should also be obvious to everyone, including Superintendent Highsmith and the Board, that “Microagressions Training” for teachers is completely unnecessary. After another disastrous week, it is evident that we need “Anti-Fight Training.” “How to Break up a Fight without Getting Your Face Smashed” would be a relevant workshop. “How Not to Get a DCF Complaint” would also be relevant.
Fighting is touchy. Teachers run the risk of a DCF complaint if they intervene. We need to know our rights and responsibilities when kids are pummeling each other. The administration also needs to share its fight data with faculty so that we can make informed decisions.
Fights are things that we are going to see more of as the temperature heats up and the school year winds down. In fact, the future of Hamden High School is fights. Faculty needs more training on how to deal with them.