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My Kid Was Suspended for Fighting

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Guest blogger Amanda: My kid was suspended for fighting. Fighting BACK, that is. He may be in trouble with his school principal, but not with me. We've always told our son that he is never to start a fight, but that if someone starts one with him, he'd better not lie down and take it!

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During recess recently, my son, Zack, was defending a friend who was being bullied by another boy. When he told this kid to back off, the pint-sized jerk turned his attention on our son and yelled at him to "shut up." Again, Zack told him to leave his friend alone, or he would tell the coach. The kid's response this time was to SPIT on him. Zack was mad by this point, but he calmly grabbed his friend Diego's hand and said, "Come on, we're telling Coach Morales." That did it: The bully pushed him down and kicked him in the ribs! 

Only then did Zack put into practice what he'd been taught: He fought back. He kicked the legs out from under this boy, got back on his feet and readied himself for some fist-throwing. Except that didn't happen -- bawling and finger-pointing did. "He kicked me! He kicked me!" screamed the little f**ker. (Sorry, the Mama Bear in me comes out every time I think about this.) Since no one witnessed the actual fight, except for the end result (a bully put in his rightful place), both boys were taken to the principal's office.

Later, when we had a conference with Zack's principal, the man was empathetic but said he had no choice but to uphold the suspension. It didn't matter that the other boy had a bullying record an inch thick, or that my son had only been defending himself and his best pal. Nor did the evidence matter (i.e., a bruise on my kid's ribcage and Diego's side of the story). There was nothing the principal could do. He ended the meeting by saying, "I'll leave it to you to take disciplinary action at home so that this doesn't happen again."

DisciplineWhatever, dude. My husband and I informed the principal that there would be praise at home, not "discipline." We explained that we don't condone fighting, but that he could shove his rules if someone's beating on our son -- he'll defend himself, regardless of the consequences! The principal may think we're crazy, but come on: Does he really expect a kid to sit back and take it when another person hits him? That's what's crazy.

I'm not saying Zack is above the rules and that he shouldn't have been suspended -- that's the school's policy, after all. He broke the rules, so he has to pay the price.

Zack may have been punished, but he walked away with his dignity and an important life lesson: doing what's right is not always easy, especially when an authority figure is saying it's wrong. And that's something that's going to stick with him a lot longer than the sting of a two-day suspension ever could.


next: My Daughter Is a Biter ... and I'm Glad!
17 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous May 23, 2010, 7:22 AM

I completely agree with you…he was just defending himself and thats wrong that he was suspended…take him out for icecream or something lol

Kristen May 23, 2010, 7:39 AM

It’s WRONG that he was suspended, especially given the other child’s history. Schools have lost common sense. This is why we homeschool, I don’t want to have to deal with this crap. I say GOOD for the mom and dad for praising their son for doing the right thing. I as an adult am certainly not going to sit by and let someone kick me so why on earth would we expect that from our children.

Anonymous May 23, 2010, 7:56 AM

It is common practice for all involved in a fight to be suspended. Even if you do nothing but cover your head. My husband and I have the same attitude. Unfortunately I grew up knowing if I was ever jumped I’d be in serious trouble. Should our daughter ever been involved in a fight, she better not have started it, but considering she’ll be suspended anyway she has full permission to defend herself if attacked! I say kudos to you and your son!!

J May 23, 2010, 9:57 AM

Good Job mom! Our parents had the same rules in our house. If someone is hitting you you have all rights to defend yourself. I don’t think your son should have been suspended but at least now he has a couple days to play video games and enjoy doing nothing! Hopefully that bully won’t mess with him or his friends again!

Kristin May 23, 2010, 10:13 AM

We 3 girls had the same lesson taught to us when we were growing up. I fully intend on passing it down to my children when they come.

Sharie May 23, 2010, 11:33 AM

Good for you, Mom! I support you 100%!

renee May 23, 2010, 1:21 PM

i agree with you 100%. same thing goes in my house. never throw the first punch but if someone hits you,ALL bets are off.

Mother Nature May 23, 2010, 1:25 PM

Good for you Mom (and Dad)! I too was raised to never start fights, but to defend myself if I ever needed to. My kids have been taught the same. My kids are NO ONES punching bag! Personally, if it were me, I would file a police report of assault against the other kid and a lawsuit against the school system for not properly protecting your child from being bullied. I’m the last person to say “sue” but if it’s the only way to hold the school accountable and make them actually stop this type of behavior, then so be it.

Black Iris May 23, 2010, 2:04 PM

I think schools have to deal with the fact that they can’t always be sure who is telling the truth and which kids were right. Pretty much all kids will say “he/she started it.” Besides, you don’t want things to keep going getting worse and worse as each kid strikes back for something that was done to them. So schools just outlaw fighting.
You may not like it, but if your kid had left and gotten the coach after being hit, the bully would be in worse trouble than he is now.

Anonymous May 23, 2010, 5:36 PM

I’m a teacher and I agree with both Mother Nature and Black Iris above. It’s tough out there and fights happen constantly. It’s exhausting to have to stop teaching to sort it all out yet we still do it. It’s our job. I tend to do my best to make sure the one’s that are getting bullied don’t get in trouble but sometimes the principal has the final say and the bullied gets punished based on the zero tolerance policy. Sometimes, mistakes can be made. School teachers and administrators are humans, not robots, and we really do try to be fair but sometimes, kids fall between the cracks. Good luck mama!!!

jpaul May 24, 2010, 9:39 AM

This is a tough situation and one that hits so close to home; I had a son who middle school was a complete nightmare for him. He was constantly harrassed and bullied and when he finally stood up for himself he was punished. I tell all four of my children the same thing: it is your responsibility to NEVER start a fight, DIFFUSE the situation if at all possible, but if the troublemaker won’t leave it alone and assaults you, YOU are to defend yourself.

Anonymous May 24, 2010, 9:59 AM

This recently happened to my younger brother. He moved up a grade and started at a new school, from the time school started he kept coming home and telling my mom that this boy kept bullying him; knocking his books down, stepping on his heels, flicking his ears in class. My mother told him to just tell the teachers and have them look out for it. Well weeks went by and he kept coming back still complaining about the bully, so my mom called and informed some of his teachers who said they would look out for it, 3 weeks later it never changed so my mom told him that next time the kid touched him to fight back. Well the kid kicked my brother in class one day and then contiually flicked him in his ear so my brother simply fought back and got 3 days worth of detension. My mother was livid, when she spoke to the principla about it and told her that the kid was bulling him and she told him to fight back the prinsipal recommend PARENT COUNCILING for my mother!!! all because they have a “No Touch Policy” at his school. My mother told her to shove it where the sun don’t shine and my brother was also praised at home, not disaplend.

Me May 24, 2010, 11:02 AM

Good for you! We have told our children the same thing. They CANNOT start something but they can certainly defend themselves and they have! By defending himself my son finally ended the relentless bullying from the brat up the street!

Anonymous May 25, 2010, 6:01 AM

Go Zack!!! We teach or boys the same thing. In no way are they to start a fight, but they are allowed to fight back.

tennmom May 31, 2010, 6:09 PM

I say: Good For Zack!
Good for Zack for taking up for his friend and good for Zack for defending himself.
Even as a kid I didn’t understand why the kid who didn’t throw the first punch or kick also got into trouble. What were we (and our kids now) supposed to do, just stand there and hope a teacher or another kid finally stepped in to stop it?
I’ve always told both of my daughters that if another kid hit/kicked them or if they were pretty sure that kid was going to, that they have my full permission to fight back or attack first and to not stop fighting until they were physically pulled off of that other kid and if someone was attacking the other they had better step for their sister.
My girls are calm, sweet girls. They would never start a fight (except with one another, ha ;))and would try to avoid one.

Grandma January 18, 2011, 8:12 PM

I am raising my two grandsons. My eldest grandson was suspended today for what I judge as defending himself. Not only was he suspended today, but tomorrow he has ‘in-school-suspension’ and a report has been sent to Juvenile Court for a judge to rule on, if this fight was was a violation of the ‘no tolerance’ policy…He didn’t start the fight and he tried to avoid it but the punk kid hit him. Did teachers see the argument between the two boys, yes! Did they intervene, no! Not until a fight insued! So who is at fault, all of the above…mostly the teachers who heard the argument but didn’t intervene..there only responsibility is to consequence. I stop my grandsons when I hear them getting into it, before it gets physical…what is so hard about doing that? So, now we have to wait for a judge’s ruling and if he rules it as a violation my grandson, because he defended himself, will be transported to Juvenile Detention in a patrol car and I will have to bond him out at a possible amount of $250. and he will have to attend conflict/anger management classes, all for his defending himself, because the teachers were waiting until a fight started! What the hell is this teaching our kids about authority, and they wonder why they have trouble respecting them???
I told my grandsons, I don’t condone them fighting and if at all possible to get teachers involved, but if they are pushed to a point of defending themselves do so and make it worth their effort, so the punks will leave them alone. I wasn’t upset with my grandson but I am upset with the school administration! Now, my grandson has this in his school file which will follow him. Thanks for the education!!

Michael Samsmith February 25, 2011, 5:07 AM

Serve them Gascon style on a bed of braised lentils, or shred the meat and make confit tacos. Just spare us the chicken ice cream. Available at Prather Ranch Meat Company, Ferry Building Marke place (Embarcadero at Market St.) Thanks
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