Category Archives: turf wars

Whatever Happened to Civility?

After escorting my students to the bus Monday, I walked back into the building just in time to see one of the football players run down the hall and practically tackle another of the players and put him in a headlock.

“B-Boy,” I said, “get your hands off him.”

“We’re just playing,” B-Boy said.

“I don’t care. You keep your hands to yourself.”

Grudgingly B-Boy released his erstwhile prisoner, and the two of them walked back up the hall, where the rest of the team was waiting for their coach.

I went to my classroom picked up a few things and locked the door. As I approached the still-waiting football team, I saw that B-Boy had yet another student in a headlock.

“B-Boy,” I said, “for the second time, keep your hands to yourself.”

“This is my turf,” B-Boy retorted, “and here’s the line.” He drew an imaginary line on the floor with his foot and dared me to cross it.

“That’s it,” I said, “you’re not going to talk to me or any other adult like that. We’re going to the office.”

Fortunately, the acting principal was available, and I filed a discipline referral. After he read the report, he assured me that the principal would take care of the matter in the morning. To B-Boy he said, “You’re to report here to the office at 7:30 tomorrow, with your parents.”

This morning I learned that B-Boy has been suspended for the rest of the week; he won’t return to school until Monday. Along with the suspension, I think that B-Boy should write me a letter of apology.

You think that’ll happen?

Nah, I don’t either.

Whatever happened to consequences that fit the crime—and civility?