This past week, there was a fight on campus. It wasn’t really a fight; in reality, one student assaulted another student before school started. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to determine consequences for the assailant (the person who committed the unlawful act of physically attacking someone else) and the instigator (the person who riled up the assailant by engaging in the “drama” – going back and forth and telling stories to accelerate the anger).
Here’s what I find most disappointing. There was a whole group of students (6 or 7) who were with the assailant prior to the attack. They heard the drama. They knew the plan. They saw what was going to happen. They let it happen.
And they went to watch.
Who stood up to try to stop it? Who tried to get an adult’s attention? Who attempted to intervene peacefully? Nobody.
Our schools are supposed to be training grounds for the real world. What we practice, and what we teach, should help students be successful for the rest of their lives. Fighting clearly won’t help our community, and neither will apathy. And, clearly, neither will being a bystander during horrible, hurtful, unsafe events.
Through our “See it, Say it” campaign, we’ve learned about a fourth person in bullying events: the Reactor. The Reactor is the person who says, “No, that’s not right, we’ve got to stop this,” and then does something about it. The Reactor won’t allow a bully to continue hurting others. The Reactor stands up for what’s right. The Reactor reports something unsafe to a responsible adult authority. The Reactor shows true leadership.
Do we want a society where people settle their conflicts by fighting? Do we want a society where people endorse this practice and let it happen? Do we want a society where people watch and cheer when others act unlawfully and dangerously? Do we want a SCHOOL like that?
My expectation for us, as Vikings and as future grown-ups, is that we show leadership. We React. We demonstrate pride in our school, our community, and our selves by not allowing the violence and the hurt continue. Again, we React.