Chris Thomas ran a story this week about a Chesterfield student who was suspended after he was attacked. While the video does not reveal words that may have been exchanged, most fights don't start with a fist, they start with a mouth.
Schools must deal with fighting not only as a contest between two young pugilists, but its explosiveness. A fight draws "sides" and gives license to anyone who might feel like throwing a punch. While it may not seem fair, sending all parties home is an effort to protect everyone, rather than someone.
It is difficult to determine who threw the first blow or who said the first word. But there must also be judgment reserved for those heinous acts like the "knockout game." When one student has physically or emotionally attempted to impose power over another bullying, swift and deliberate action needs to be taken. When you see a little bully, look for a big bully… one who threatens lawsuits if the school does anything. The behavior is learned, but must be confronted.
Schools and young people know that fighting seldom resolves anything…but bullies need to learn that they shouldn't start something that they can't finish with their fists, feet, or funds.