Is self defense a real excuse?

Lucy Adame, Opinion Editor

Ever since the creation of school, fighting — whether it’s verbal or physical — has been a part of the social norm. But, in high school, punching a student can be punished by three days of in-house suspension. With the incidents of Ogle and prom nominations, fights have been on the rise between students at La Serna. Many students believe that the victim should not be punished for the wrongdoers’ actions, meaning, if a student punches another student, the one who threw the first punch should be suspended, not both students.

In our lovely school planners, the rules of fighting or assault are clearly typed out under our School Wide Discipline Plan. The rule goes as follows: “Physical altercations will not be permitted on campus or at any school function at any time. It is the students’ responsibility to do everything they can to avoid conflict.” This rule is meant to ensure that all students understand the school’s expectations of them to not fight at all. But this rule is obviously not working. When the Dean of Students Nick Genisauski was asked for his opinion on the rule, he said, “There are multiple scenarios when it comes to conflict. Each incident is unique onto itself, but one thing remains, the fact that all students involved must do whatever they can do to avoid a verbal/physical confrontation. Sometimes we review video of a fight and we always call in as many witnesses as we deem necessary.”

Many students wonder if there are any scenarios that do not apply to this rule. For example, if a student is randomly attacked, are they expected to not defend themselves? “It is extremely rare that a student is randomly attacked. Clearly, safety is a priority, but we must insist that all students do whatever they can do to get as far away from a potential fight as possible. Cover your head, run away, tell a staff member immediately. Fighting should always be a last resort (ie) only when your life is on the line,” Genisauski said.

Retired officer and ROP teacher Chuck Drylie gave insight to his view on the rule: “This rule was intended to make students safe. But humans are humans and they will decide to break them. The rule of self defense is used in the ‘adult’ world.”

After hearing the two views of this issue, my opinion on it is stagnant. I see the points of both sides, but I feel that the school system is too lenient when it comes to punishments. I am not dictating that we need to return to slapping kids with the rulers and hitting them with paddles, but we need to have a firmer hand when it comes to school violence. If you let a minor off with just a 3 day suspension, you are not teaching that minor discipline, you showing that they could get away with causing a disruption.