This article just filtered through to me which is surprising as it was published back in May. The Globe and Mail reported about a student who was reprimanded for, get this, intervening when a bully pulled a knife on another student. That's right folks, this boy was chastised by school officials because he stood up to a bully, an action that may very well have saved another student's life.
Here's the altercation in a nutshell:
- Bullies beggin harassing a student across the classroom from Briar.
- One bully gets the victim in a headlock, a "flick" is heard and another student verbally indicates the presence of a knife.
- Briar gets up from his seat, crosses the classroom and pushes the blade-brandishing bully off of, and away from the intended victim.
At what point in that series of events did Briar earn himself anything less than a commendation? The principal had him brought down to her office where Briar's mother was called and told that the school does not "condone heroics". In case you missed it, Briar very likely SAVED A LIFE through his intervention. Do you know how fast someone can be mortally wounded with a knife? I'm not talking by some professional, special-operations soldier no, I'm talking about some punk kid with a pocket knife... Faster than you can even process it having happened.
There was an incident a number of years ago where a student from a neighbouring school to mine was killed by some coward with a knife in a fistfight. A crowd formed around the two quarrelling students, the punches started landing and then one of them pulled out a knife. Reports said that someone tried to give the other student a skateboard to defend himself but before anyone could step in the boy had already been fatally stabbed.
A former friend of mine was rather close to the victim and so I accompanied him to the funeral. Between multiple viewing rooms for the service and the grounds outside it seemed that the entire student body had shown up to pay their respects. We lost a sixteen year old boy that day because no one stepped in to break up the fight... How many more children will it take before the administrators realize that their approach is doing far more harm than good.
My Bullying Background:
I had to deal with my fair share of shit and abuse from my classmates over the years. As you can probably tell from my attitude, I wasn't the easiest kid to get along with and so I made for a great target. I had students try to steal things from me, push me around and eventually earned a few death threats in high school but after I got out of elementary school I only got into one fight.
I'd been harassed for about four months by the same kid every single day. Didn't matter if it was in the hallways, in the geography class we shared or even in other classes where his friends would start in on me, I never went a full day without some sort of insult or threat from him or his 'associates'. Finally, after he shouldered me in the hallway and knocked my pizza out of my hands, I snapped. I picked up the pizza, lobbed it down the hallway and hit him across the back of the head with it (why not right? Wasn't like I was about to eat floor pizza) and everything went rapidly downhill from there. I spent the next week and a half getting shoved around in the hallways and threatened by both him and his friends who told me "so-and-so's gonna kick your ass after school today". At a certain point you get really sick of having to worry about your walk home, trust me, so I decided to confront him about it. Talking hadn't worked since I'd asked many times before the pizza incident for him to leave me alone. The administration hadn't done anything as the teachers I'd complained to sent me to guidance which saw no change in the issue, so I went out to the bus stop on my way home, made it very clear that I was looking to 'drop the gloves' with him and get it all over with. Sure enough, 15 minutes later he finally decided to show up... Right before one of his friends shoved me from behind and he sucker punched me in the face. From there the whole thing went into a grapple, I sent a few shots into his kidneys and he tried to throw me to the ground before a teacher broke it up. I received a suspension as I'd instigated a fight, as did he but only for being involved in a fight and nothing was done about the months of "bullying".
Some of you won't see my actions as being justified and that's fine but to me? I did what I had to do. I wasn't going to keep shuffling up my route home, walking a kilometre out of my way just to avoid a fight so I decided where and when I'd face my tormentor. If that's wrong, I've got no problems being the bad guy but I'd like to say this. No one should EVER be ridiculed for standing up to a bully, EVER. As Briar's mother said in the article, without heroes we'd have no police officers, no firemen, no emergency services what-so-ever and definitely no military servicemen or women.
If you'd like to let the school know about your views on the incident and their 'no heroes' policy, you can send them a quick email at SirJohnAMacdonald@cbe.ab.ca or even better yet you can email the school board's chief superintendent and REALLY rattle the cages by sending your thoughts to ChiefSuperintendent@cbe.ab.ca... I did, and this is what I sent to the Superintendent:
I am writing this email to make my opinions known to you as per the 'no heroes' policy enforced in your schools. Having just read an article regarding an incident this past month at Sit John A MacDonald school where a bully pulled a knife on his victim. It is this type of "no tolerance" idiocy that will see a generation of wimps, cowards and 'innocent bystanders' raised by schools more concerned with covering their asses than with providing valuable life lessons to their students.
A boy at a neighbouring school to mine was KILLED when another student pulled a knife on him and no one intervened. Despite knowing that this sort of outcome was VERY possible during the altercation at Sir John A, the principal said that the fact that the victim's throat could have been slit in the time it would've taken for the young good Samaritan to notify a teacher was "besides the point".
How can you stand by when policies like this exist in your schools? How can you knowingly allow children to be taught that it's better NOT to stop bullying, better NOT to save lives and to simply keep their heads down and let the worst happen around them? I hope that this has brought a very serious problem to light for you and the entire Calgary Board of Education and that you'll be taking immediate actions to begin instilling proper values in the students whose minds you shape each passing year.
Just remember, these are the students who'll grow up to be the bystander that might have to make the choice between walking by or stepping in and helping if you or your family are being mugged, or in a car crash, or any number of other dangerous situations. Instead of chastising heroism, I think it's about time someone encouraged it don't you?
"Some work of noble note may yet be done"
Joshua J. Taylor - Concerned Canadian"
Yup, that was my letter word-for-word and I encourage you to write you own. You don't need to write a novel, but you should definitely consider sending SOMETHING and if not to the Calgary superintendent (though her school most-obviously need a revamp in policy) perhaps to YOUR school board asking if they support this type of ridiculous bureaucratic bullshit.
That's all for tonight everyone, hope you enjoyed the read and I hope even moreso that you're inspired to demand change.
Enjoy your swim!
Joshua J. Taylor