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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