A fight between two girls broke out in class today. Thankfully, no one got hurt.
Two girls in my Algebra 1 class started having a disagreement and it escalated to the point where they got up and were in each other’s faces screaming and ready to hurt each other. I got in between the two girls instinctively, even though I’ve been told that’s not a good idea. One girl took off her shoes and stormed out of the room inviting the other girl to take the fight outside.
Just before the fight broke out one of the girls went to the restroom and two boys took her cell phone. I’m not sure if this theft was related to the disagreement that had been brewing or if it was just a coincidence. As a result of the missing cell phone, the girl refused to go to the office as I had asked and the yelling continued as now the matter involved accusations of theft.
I called security. By the time they arrived the period was over but I could not let my students leave until they were all searched in an attempt to recover the missing cell phone. Early on during all this craziness one student slipped me a note telling me who took the cell phone. I talked to the two boys privately but they claimed they did not take the phone. They also did not have the phone on them. When about half the class had been searched and let go, the girl located her cell phone, which had been stashed behind a box on one side of the room. Clearly, someone had taken her phone and hid it.
The assistant principal arrived some time during all of this commotion. He took the two boys aside after the incident and they later confessed to taking the girl’s cell phone, although they said that they didn’t know whose it was and that someone else told them to take it and hide it.
I saw lots of positive things, though. First, the students who were not involved were cooperative and didn’t complain (too much) about being held up for their next class. Friends of the two girls helped them calm down–that was very helpful. I was very thankful for the student that tipped me off about the two boys who took the cell phone. I felt good that he trusted me enough to tell me. I also thanked the two boys later for being more honest about taking the cell phone.
I plan on having a talk with this class next time I see them again and will point some of the positive things that I observed. (I will also use this opportunity to remind all of my classes about the no electronics policy at our school.) If anyone else has ideas on how to address my class after an incident like this, please comment below. Thanks!