NEPTUNE BEACH, Fla. - Jarring, 30-second Snapchat video of a girl yanked from her desk, thrown on the ground and beaten by two other girls at Fletcher High School also shows a female teacher trying to separate the students and ending up on the ground.
Certainly that's what a teacher's instinct would tell her to do, but what guidance are school employees given by the school district when there's a fight and there is only one adult in the room?
A Duval County Public Schools spokeswoman told News4Jax that teachers are not required to break up fights, but they do because it's their instinct to try and stop it.
The school district provided the following statement:
Teacher conduct is governed by the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida (the Code of Ethics), which state that teachers have an obligation to make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning and/or to the student’s mental and physical health and safety. Every situation is unique and “reasonable effort” can vary based on a number of factors such as the number of students involved, age of students, and the intensity of the altercation. Intervention can include calling for assistance, verbal commands to stop, and maintaining control of other students present. The safety of both students and staff is of paramount importance. There is no specific requirement for teachers to become physically involved or which prohibits them from becoming physically involved. They must act reasonably given the circumstances. "
Last Friday, News4Jax reported about a Mandarin High School staff member who was injured while trying to intervene in a fight.
Fletcher students and some of their parents who spoke Friday said they don't always feel it's safe for teachers to intervene.
"I think from time to time it is (safe for a teacher to intervene). But other times, I think they should probably go to security and get their assistance, as well," said David Rimer, father of a Fletcher student. "Students these days are not exactly 100 pounds any more."
Rimer said he realizes students fight, but believes the bigger question is what is being done to stop fights from even happening.
"Talk to the students. I know you might be a math teacher, but take those first five minutes to say, 'Hey, what's going on in school?' Listen with your ears. Maybe, at times, you'd want to turn a blind eye to it, but in this day and age, we can't."
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