School Problems

PROBLEMS AT SCHOOL? Our schools are wonderful. They also have some problems. At Jefferson County Mediation Services (JCMS), one of the problems that we see frequently is conflict among students. Kid Fights In earlier times, the teacher would separate the combatants (usually boys) and punish them, then send them home, where their parents would discipline them again. Now, the teachers aren’t allowed to touch the kids, so they call the police, the kids are booked for assault, and they get fed into the judicial system. This doesn’t do much good for the kids, the schools, or the judicial system, and attaching the blame to one child or the other doesn’t solve the problem, but it’s how things are done now. Conflict among girls is a greater problem than it used to be, and the use of social media can fuel the flames. We have seen a variety of cases at JCMS, but a common issue involves one girl who starts dating the other girl’s ex-boyfriend. The girls will drag all their friends into one camp or the other, and they all start trashing each other on various internet sites, such as Facebook. This can include lies, gossip, and insults, and can escalate to threats of physical injury or death. They sometimes harass each other at home, driving by and shouting insults or throwing garbage. At school, they may yell at each other, slam each other into lockers, pull hair, scratch, kick and punch. This behavior is disruptive, to say the least, and may pose a danger to other students, teachers and staff. Parents may become concerned about threats, and...