It is perfectly normal for teens to develop their opinions, thoughts, and values about life which sometimes involves conflicts with other people and their peers while at school.
Assistant Principal Micah Simmons says that most of the fights on campus are caused by a lack of communication, a lack of empathy and a lack of sympathy for the other person.
“Oftentimes, in conflict resolutions, we hear what we want to hear, to continue to get us upset” Simmons said. “But when you hear how things are truly meant to be by the other person, then the exchange of words is less vulnerable. And so oftentimes, students leave conflict resolution, you know, closer than they were because they’ve been able to experience what that empathy and sympathy feeling is like, getting to hear from the other person’s perspective, and is without all of the distractions of other students wanting to fight so you have the telephone game starting to happen which means somebody could say one thing, but by the time it gets to the actual person is something different.”
Simmons recalls how he feels about the number of fights that have been going on around campus.
“You know, I was thinking about this two days ago, and I hate to speak about it because we don’t like to jinx ourselves but we haven’t had a real fight in a couple of months, maybe two to three months,” Simmons said. “I know things do happen off-campus. And we deal with them when they come to our attention, but for us, after physically breaking up the fight, we haven’t had to do that for a couple or three months.”
However, Simmons concludes what he and other staff are doing to prevent fights from happening.
“We do a lot of conflict resolutions with students,” Simmons said. “I would say there’s probably three to four a week that we do that, if we had not intervened, had it not been brought to our attention by another teacher and/or one of the participating parties, that we could have had a fight or two since a couple of three months ago.”
Simmons explains how this fighting problem affects him and his job.
“It puts a little bit of stress on me because I hate to see humans harming another human,” Simmons said. “There’s so much hatred in the world today, that if we don’t address it with our youth, the hate continues to grow and tomorrow will be just like today. So I try to pour into students here the understanding of empathy and sympathy towards each other. And understand that there are other resolutions other than fighting.”
On the other hand, freshman Demareale Thompson includes what triggers her to fight.
“People trigger me, first of all, I get triggered by little things,” Thompson said. “We could be arguing and as soon as someone walks up to me saying they want to fight then I want to fight you then.”
Thompson also includes what she learned from her past and recent experiences of fighting.
“I know fighting is bad because if I do get another fight, I will get expelled,” Thompson said. “I’ve also learned my lesson that it’s really bad to fight people and come out of character for people. It’s not right”
Thompson gives her two cents on what she thinks causes the fights at school.
“Online drama,” Thompson said. “People talking about each other and gossiping about everything that goes on around school.”
Counselor Colin Baxter mentions how he feels about the number of fights that have been going around campus.
“I feel sad and a little disappointed,” Baxter said. “I think a lot of times that we have fights on campus and it tends to be things that can be easily resolved in a better way, whether it’s with a conversation or communication so that students understand what the root of the causes are found out a lot of these a lot of fights are he said she said stuff in its just people not involved,” Baxter said,” They just want to see a fight and film it for some reason. So it makes me sad that that’s what our youth tend to enjoy.”
In addition, Baxter tells what he and other staff members are doing to prevent fights from happening.
“Yeah, so we try if we catch wind of it,” Baxter said. “You know, sometimes we’ll hear that students are going back and forth with each other on Tik Tok or Instagram or something like that. And so we try to nip it in the bud if we can catch it before it escalates. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes we try to get a hold of parents because they don’t know what their kids are doing. Usually, parents are on our side to realize that the things that their kids are worried about or getting caught up in are kind of trivial and not what they should be focused on.”
Furthermore, Baxter gives information on what actions he is taking to hold the people who fight accountable.
“So there’s disciplinary action usually coming from the admin, you know, they get suspended or something like that, which I think is always the best idea, but it’s kind of what we’re kind of forced to do,” Baxter said. “I think holding them accountable is sitting them down. Some things we’ll do are a restorative circle, restorative justice, where we sit them down together, make them look at each other eye to eye, and make them have a conversation with each other,” Baxter said. “Make them explain in words why they got a fight and sometimes what they had to say out loud, it sounds pretty stupid. So you know, just try to hold them accountable for their actions, explain themselves and you know, they stand behind their actions and a lot of times what they say doesn’t make sense.”