teacher student fight

Why Bowie Middle School teacher is responsible for recent teacher-student fight?

Why Bowie Middle School teacher is responsible for recent teacher-student fight?

Recently, a teacher student fight at the Bowie Middle school resulted in the arrest of a student. The response for the governing school district is to follow a pre-approved student code of conduct. According to the school policy on cell phones, “Bowie Middle School now allows students to have cell phones but requires them to be turned off in the building because they can be disruptive and distracting.” The policy falls short in helping teachers to become responsive in avoiding teacher student fights regarding cell phones.

The State has responded in helping teachers by making it illegal to engage in assault against a public servant. Aggravated assault of a public servant is a first-degree felony in Texas. Therefore, the student has been arrested and charged.

Arresting the student for this infraction is problematic on several fronts. The Bowie Middle School Administration needs to investigate the causes of the teacher-student fight before making an assumption that the student is the perpetrator. The fact that the teacher and student were involved in a fight does not exonerate the teacher from any contributory behaviors.

A detailed review of the video indicates that when the student made a request for his phone it was during a classroom transition period. The students did not have books or materials on their desk which would prove that it was at the end of the class. At this time, the teacher had several more positive options to follow.

Since it was at the end of class, the teacher could have returned the cellphone to the student and that would have been the end of this chapter. Evidently, the teacher opted not to return the cellphone to the student. Which resulted in the Bowie Middle School teacher student fight that has now become viral via video.  For this teacher, this could have been an invitation to make the student attempt to understand that power dynamics between the teacher in the student in classroom.

This failed miserably, even those there was another plausible teacher response. The teacher could have opted to tell the student that “I am going to do you a favor and keep the phone until the end of the day so that you will not get in any trouble from any of the other teachers”.  If the student had agreed to this resolution then this would have afforded the teacher an opportunity to establish a positive and trustful connection with the student. The drawback with this resolution is that if the teacher losses the phone, then they are responsible for replacement of the phone. Which would sever any possibility of establishing a positive connection with the student or his family.

This leads the third fallacy regarding the Bowie Middle School teacher-student fight. The teacher should have never confiscated the phone in the first place. The school policy states that “Bowie Middle School now allows students to have cell phones but requires them to be turned off in the building because they can be disruptive and distracting.” The policy does not provide the procedure to follow if the possession of the phone becomes disruptive or distracting. Therefore, the teacher is in error for confiscating the phone. A better alternative would have been to complete a discipline referral phone and allow an administrator to handle the distraction. The Bowie Middle School has errored in not properly training teachers in how to deescalate any challenges associated with the cellphone policy.

Finally, the Bowie Middle School teacher and the school administration has failed in accepting the importance of a cellphone as part of the student’s cultural sphere. It is a well known fact that schools continue to reject the students culture and their evolution. The results is normally intolerable discipline recommendations that fall short of contributing to the education of the student. Instead of making a punitive policy, the Bowie Middle School should utilize cellphones in such a manner that it will enhance the delivery of curriculum. This will offset the demeaning Bowie Middle School policy that resulted in a teacher student fight.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell

PO Box 4707

Cherry Hill, Nj 08034

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