Across all grade levels, school fights have become increasingly common. You have many options for dealing with these unfortunate circumstances if you are concerned about fighting, have been fighting, or have witnessed fighting at school.
How to Defend Yourself
According to Kidshealth.org, the goal of self-defense is to avoid getting into a physical fight with someone who has threatened or attacked you. Experts agree that the best way to defend yourself against violence is to take steps to protect yourself before a fight breaks out.
There is no limit to the number of school fights that can occur at any time. It is best to be prepared before a fight happens, no matter where you are, whether you are at school, the mall, or the park. Safeguarding yourself can be achieved in several ways.
- Take your intuition into consideration and use common sense. If you hear rumors that someone will attack you after school, use common sense and avoid being alone at that time. Listen to your intuition if you feel something bad is about to happen while walking down the hallway. Look for another route or a teacher to talk to.
- Consult an adult you trust. It is always a good idea to talk to a trusted adult about how to prevent further problems if you feel someone has a problem with you and you suspect the person may become violent. Do not give up if the first adult you speak to is not helpful. Be persistent and specific about your concerns.
- Make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Avoid isolated areas if you suspect someone may want to start a fight with you. Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will be back.
- Use target denial as a self-defense tactic. Make a quick turn to avoid the person who has threatened you. You can’t fight the aggressor if he can’t reach you.
- De-escalation tactics can help. You should remain calm and use confident body language when someone approaches you in a threatening manner. If someone is teasing you, you can de-escalate the situation by agreeing with him and directing his attention to something else, like a teacher walking down the hallway.
- Make sure you take a self-defense class. When you take a self-defense class, you’ll learn techniques to protect yourself in a fight as well as gain confidence.
What to Do in a Fight
Sometimes being proactive isn’t enough to keep a bully from physically attacking you. If you find yourself in a situation where your only option left is to fight back, Kidpower.org offers a few ways to defend yourself.
- Try to get away.
- If you know someone is coming up behind you to attack, turn toward the person with your hands up in front of your body and loudly say “stop” before walking away.
- Look the aggressor in the eye and use a firm voice to yell “stop.” If the person doesn’t stop, yell for help by calling out the name of a teacher whose classroom is nearby.
Physically fighting someone, even in self-defense, should always be a last resort. In some school districts, everyone involved in a fight can be punished, regardless of who started it.
What to Do After a Fight
If you have been physically attacked, the first thing you should do is seek help from an adult like the school nurse. Depending on how bad your injuries are, you may also need to go to the hospital. Once you have received medical attention, there are a few other actions you may want to take.
- Tell your side of the story. Talk to school officials and your parents about what happened from your perspective. If you don’t feel you can talk to the adults in your life, call a crisis line. People who start fights need help. Empowering Parents says by reporting the problem you could help others in the future.
- Talk to your parents and school officials about your future safety options.
- If you sustained major injuries during the fight, call the police or speak to a lawyer.
What to Do if You Started the Fight
Being physically violent towards others is an unacceptable reaction to feelings of anger and emotional pain. Youthoria.org suggests these types of behaviors will likely carry into your adult life, which can land you in prison. If you started a fight with someone and want to change those negative behaviors:
- Be honest and turn yourself in to school authorities.
- Think about why you attacked someone.
- Talk to a trusted adult or call a crisis line to get help dealing with your emotions.
- Apologize to the person you fought. They may not want to hear or accept your apology, but it is still important to express remorse.
- Find ways to boost your self-esteem. Health Guidance for Better Health suggests starting a new hobby, volunteering somewhere or joining a team.
Starting a fight with someone does not make you a bad person who has to fight all the time. You can choose to be better than your mistakes.
What to Do if You See a Fight
The IF Foundation warns bystanders against jumping in to break up a fight or help a friend. If you get involved in a fight, you become vulnerable to injuries and punishment. There are several things you can do if a fight breaks out at school.
- Find an adult or call the police.
- Yell loudly to break up the fight by saying “stop” or warn that an adult is coming.
- Stand by the injured person when the fight is over.
While you may want to keep a friend from getting beaten up or avoid being called a tattletale, jumping into a physical fight can cause more problems for you. If you are injured during the fight there may not be anyone else who can get help.
Dealing With Violence
As a result of violence, problems are never resolved; they are only temporarily alleviated for the aggressor and cause further problems for the rest of society. Talking to an adult who will listen and act on your concerns about fights at school is the best thing you can do.