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Your Kid Can’t Fight Back

Senior Prom
(Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

In case you missed it, last night we talked to Melissa Marchetti, the mother of a young man named Aidan who’s a junior at Toms River High School South. Aidan is in the middle of a 10 day suspension which goes until Friday, which also means he is not allowed to attend the prom with his girlfriend who is a senior. Why? Because he had the audacity to defend himself when some jerk in the gym class first started mouthing off at Aidan and his friends, then began pushing and hitting him. According to his mother, Aidan first told the kid to back off and that he didn’t want any trouble. Next the kid pushed Aidan, so Aidan pushed him back. Then the kid sucker punched Aidan, and in defending himself, Aidan threw one punch back. From there Aidan backpedaled away, continuously telling the bully to drop it, to back off. He said this while he was retreating across the gym. Melissa says they have this part on video as one of the other students starting recording it presumably on a cell phone cam. According to Melissa, this entire time there was no teacher present, a recipe for disaster, so Aidan was on his own. He continued telling this jerk he didn’t want to fight, and the aggressor kept approaching him across the gym floor until a teacher showed up.

Story has it that the bully admitted to all school authorities and even to the police that he indeed was the one who started the altercation, verifying beyond any doubt that Aidan was merely defending himself and not wanting to fight. Because of the ridiculous zero tolerance policies in our publics schools, both have been held equally at fault and both received identical ten day suspensions. Even worse, costing the young man his opportunity to attend the prom with his girlfriend this Friday.

Pleading her case with the school has gotten Melissa nowhere. A school official flat out told her that her son, having been shoved and punched by another student, should have “gone to the floor in the fetal position”. Subsequent callers in that segment said they’ve been told the same by other public school officials in New Jersey; that when struck by another student, their child should assume the fetal position on the floor. Really? The fetal position should be the call to action? How does this not put you in more danger:

Fetal Position
Flickr user: tinyfroglet

This is what we’re teaching our children? Teaching them not to defend themselves? Teaching them to be cowards? Assuming a fetal position instead of standing up for yourself and suffering the same punishment as the attacker when you’re the victim is nothing a student should have to deal with. There is something seriously wrong with these policies and I can’t imagine any parent instructing their child to obey them.

When the day comes that an irate parent confronts a school principal over such nonsense and the parent begins striking the principal in the face, is the principal going to strike back to defend himself or is he going to “assume the fetal position” on the floor? I think we all know the answer to that one.

How do you feel about letting your children defend themselves in confrontations with others? Let us know in the comment section below.

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