Fighting for school self defense policy change

Featured Opinion Opinion

When we were in high school, we were taught what to do if we got into a fight. The consequences may have differed between schools and the technicalities for the parties fighting were different. But, usually both the victim and the harasser would get punished if they both fought.

School policies are different everywhere, but it’s mostly universal. If both students are engaged in physical violence, it doesn’t matter who started it, both students are going to get in trouble for fighting. At my school, it doesn’t matter if the bully started everything, if the victim hits back then at that point both students are going to be disciplined. This is bad especially in Missouri where we have self defense laws. So, these students that get into fights because they had to defend themselves get in trouble. They get in trouble and learn their lesson. But, out of school, if they run into a similar situation, they think that they can’t hit back because if they do, they think that they’ll face consequences with the law.

The primary education system is supposed to teach us what to expect after high school because at that point, we are technically released into the world. Some of us go on to college, go into the workforce or join the military. However, for the victim, they can’t defend themselves knowing that they’ll be in trouble if they hit back. So, they might just sit there and defend for their lives. Of course, police or other people should be there to break up the fight. But, what if they aren’t? Now, the victim is by himself and has to be on his own for this encounter. Say the person hurting the victim has a gun or knife or something deadlier. The victim can’t defend themselves efficiently.

I know that schools are supposed to be safe learning environments, but when the need arises for the victim to stand up against the bully, despite attempts trying to get around not fighting, the bully keeps harassing the victim. The victim has to let the bully know physically that what they are doing is not right. It doesn’t make sense for the victim that was defending himself to get punished for fighting back. That person may never lay a punch ever again, and they had to do so in that moment.

High schools’ policies should change to where the bully gets the punishment because they started everything, and the victim should not punished. How it can be done is the two people are put into the principal’s office, and the principal asks them who started it. If the bully is found at fault, then they should receive the punishment of suspension. If there was bloodshed or other marks caused by the fight, then police should get involved at that point, and the person that started it would receive more than just suspension.  The victim should be let off with nothing because the person who is not at fault was defending himself, and nothing is wrong with standing up for yourself.