Classroom Violence: A Teacher's Perspective

Josh Winter is now an instructor at Mississippi State University. But five years ago he was a secondary education teacher in northeast Mississippi.

Winter says his perspective on teaching changed after he was confronted with trying to break up a fight in his class.

"Two of the girls in the back of the class, for something that had happened outside of class, something dealing with Valentine's Day over some boy, got into a fight," said Winter.

Winter said he made the decision to intervene.

"She fought like a lion against me and I ended up getting kind of scratched up and everything after the incident," said Winter. "A lot of the other teachers told me that I probably shouldn't have done that because I put myself in a situation where I could've gotten hurt or worse yet maybe the student could've gotten hurt for something I had done, which would've been a terrible situation to open the door for all kind of lawsuits."

Following the fight, Winter says one of the parents was not happy with the student's punishment and a hearing was held. Although it was determined that Winter did not do anything wrong, he says it is often the fear of further action that deters teachers from getting involved.

"Even if the lawsuit is thrown out, just the fact that you have that on your record," Winter said. "People know that you were a teacher that was involved in a lawsuit in which a student was hurt can be very damaging to your future prospects as a teacher."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Alexandria Brooks Location: Meridian, MS on Feb 27, 2010 at 08:21 PM
    I could sit here and say all the right things but unfortunately I won't for the simple fact that my younger cousin was in a fight with the girl that got mopped! The victim, of this brutal beatdown, mother is a joke because when my cousin got into this fight, she encouraged her daughter to "beat her!" So I feel no pity for this little girl that spends her time picking with other females. This was only brought to the attention of the media because they were humilated! What goes around comes around! Sorry but GOD dont like ugly! Some of you may think this is obsurb but after being beat halfway to death the victim returned to school picking with my little cousin. I just wish they leave this alone and accept the defeat! Lying about what happened will get you no where! and I am so glad I didnt get false charges pressed on me like the other members of my family!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 26, 2010 at 10:20 AM
    It all boils down to SOME people want others to raise their children while they sit back and do nothing and when their children turn out crazy,they decide to blame the school system.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 25, 2010 at 12:22 PM
    When should a teacher intervene? Always. How should a teacher intervene? That depends on the situation. I too was a teacher. When students had disagreements in my classroom, a stern word was usually enough to squash it. If it escalated, a stronger note of concern was given. If a fight ensued physical intervention was never necessary. As a Teacher you are responsible for both actors. NO TIME to determine who's right or wrong, just let the kids know you are displeased. I find it interesting that the fighters' classmates knew how to calm the situation and allow the teacher, FINALLY, to reassert his authority.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 25, 2010 at 09:15 AM
    hahahha funnnyyy
  • by Anonymous Location: Meridian on Feb 25, 2010 at 09:15 AM
    As the parent of a student at MHS, there are fights there everyday. This is being blown out of proportioned because of it being recorded. I agree with discipline starts at home and some of these kids are just turned to run loose. Don't criticse the teachers and administration... teach your kids how to act. I went to MHS and there were fights 20 years ago too....
  • by Willie Heidelberg Location: Meridian on Feb 25, 2010 at 07:12 AM
    Ms. Williams you appeared to have made a concerted effort to interview someone in order to justify or rationalize the MHS instructor's action or rather lack of action. For the sake of balance and fairness, please interview someone that intervenes when a fight occurs (for example Mr. Rufus Wright, the assistant principal Magnolia Jr. High School).
  • by G. Location: Mississippi on Feb 25, 2010 at 05:12 AM
    It is a sad day when a parent can accept the type unmitigated rage that was displayed in the video with the comment, "kids will be kids."
  • by Why on Feb 25, 2010 at 05:11 AM
    I just want to know why? Why do the parents have the need to file lawsuits against teachers for breaking up a fight? Why would you not want the teacher to keep your child safe? If your child is so "bad" and wants to fight all the time why not send him/her to Juvenile or a continuation school so out "good" children will not have to go through things such as this. Yeah, there is always going to be some type of fight going on, growing up I was in a few. But the thing is, why blame a teacher for your child getting hurt when the truth is the other child is the one that hurt your child, the teacher is only trying to keep the child/children from getting hurt even more. So grow up parents, and stop trying to find an easy way to get out of this, as it is too easy to point the blame in another direction when you need to be pointing right back at yourself!!! It all starts at home!!!!!!!!!!
  • by teacher Location: near Meridian on Feb 24, 2010 at 07:24 PM
    I teach in a local high school. Fights are not unusual, even in good schools. I am a 120 pound woman who has learned in ten years of teaching these things: call for help, get other students to safety, protect myself, attempt to stop fight ONLY if another adult is able to help. I don't know of many other degreed professionals who willingly put themselves in the position to have to deal with violence and liability the way that teachers do. We take care of your children and we do our best to teach your children, in spite of what they may or may not have been taught at home. Please teach your children to respect authority and to resolve their problems without fighting. It would make my job so much easier.
  • by CDP on Feb 24, 2010 at 05:24 PM
    Instead of teaching their children to be respectful, parents want to look for some way to get them off the hook when they get into a fight. Just like this teacher, the Meridian High teacher would have been accused of doing something wrong regardless of how he handled the situation because the parent is looking for a "get out of jail" free card and maybe some money to boot. The MHS student's parent should shut up until she teaches her child how to act. Instead she said "Kids will be kids" but teachers should be referees at a wrestling match. That tell how she feels. It says she thinks fighting is routine and OK behavior if you have someone willing to risk life and limit to get in the middle.
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