Viral violence

by Devin O’Shaughnessy

Misbehavior in classrooms has been an underlying issue in schools for years, but recently, with social media, more and more incidents have been shared.

According to the American Psychological Association, each year there are 253,100 teachers are threatened or injured throughout the school year by a student, with 31% being male, and 69% being female.

Although there haven’t been many attacks on teachers here at FM, the severity of students lashing out on faculty causes concern for many people. Most of the incidents here at FM have been verbal disputes when a student challenges a grade.

“Even in a verbal argument we do try to bring the student and the faculty member together to sit down, at a later time with an administrator to kind of talk it through… There’s always two sides of the story, and we try to get to the bottom of it,” President of FM, Dustin Swanger said.

There have been students who have been abusive, which resulted in the students being invited to study at another campus, he added.

FM’s policy for teachers when a situation like this arises, is mostly to avoid confrontation, and to disengage, rather than entice the student to a more unstable level.

“We’ve always encouraged faculty to contact Public Safety first,” Swanger said.
Public Safety is trained in law enforcement and how to de-escalate a situation, which is always the best choice.

Bystanders and other students in these types of situations will usually pull out their cellphone, and start recording the altercation. These videos then get shared across the internet to other friends, and become sensations overnight.

“If somebody is truly in danger, and you can help them as a human being, you need to help them… I’m appalled when I see someone in the community getting beaten, and the reaction of the people is to videotape it on their phone… That’s inhuman, we need to respond to that,” Swanger said

When these arguments happen, Swanger said the best thing for students to do is not get involved, and not “jump into the fray” but instead, to witness the situation for any statements that may need to be made later on.

Consequences for violence or misbehavior such as arguments in class have been things such as: taking a semester off, writing a paper, anger management, and even community service.

Swanger concludes “The key here, is we look at each situation, and try and see if we can turn it into a teaching moment for the student, or if we have to take a more disciplinary action… Our preference is to work with students and to teach them to interact in a number of settings.”

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