image credit: Jia Lee & LGHS Restorative Justice League Students
by Jesus Perez
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in We’Ced Youth Magazine Issue #2
[dropcap]I can’t believe [/dropcap] he did it. How could he? I can’t just let him get away with this. I had to teach him a lesson. He was only a few feet away. I walked up to him and punched him in the stomach. He backed away. I threw another punch. He started swinging at my face, and it was on. Fists started flying. I felt pain, but so did he. After about ten seconds we stopped fighting and parted ways. I had done it. I showed him. No one throws my tennis ball over a fence.
As my story shows, some people fight for silly reasons. School violence is not common, but it is a problem. Fights can occur at any time. They can also be prevented in many ways. Schools seem to have good measures to prevent violence, however, the ones who can really prevent violence are the ones who engage in it, the students them- selves.
Students engage in conflicts, so schools have to deal with disciplining those who do. After engaging in a fight, students are suspended for five days and are given anger management classes. At Buhach Colony High School, students are expelled after their second fight. When it comes to reasons for engaging in fights, mugging is cited the most. Mugging is to stare at someone in a menacing or threatening way. Other reasons students engage in fights are for a boyfriend or girlfriend, or because of gang-related issues.
[pullquote_left]Officer Meraz believes that harsher discipline for preliminary actions would reduce school violence, and that it is better to stop the students before they get into a fight.[/pullquote_left]
Officer Jesus Meraz, the school resource officer at Buhach Colony, notes that pro-active patrol is one of the best ways that school staff can prevent violence in school. Perhaps it is the presence of staff members that discourage students from getting into fights, or the increased risk of getting caught while fighting. Not all fights are reported to the school staff. Some students are able to engage in physical fights and not get caught.
Officer Meraz believes that harsher discipline for preliminary actions would reduce school violence, and that it is better to stop the students before they get into a fight. He believes students are better off with in-school suspension than at home after getting in a fight. Students that engage in fights aren’t getting disciplined at home, he says, so they should stay at school. In-school suspension with mandatory teaching can help keep the student busy and not thinking of how to take revenge. “Suspending students and sending them home gives them more time to learn how to be better gangsters,” says Meraz.