No-hit policy needs clearer thinking

April 30, 2014 — by Atirath Kosireddy

In 2011, a pixelated video brought attention to Australian high school student Casey Heynes who, after years of bullying, decided to fight back.


In 2011, a pixelated video brought attention to Australian high school student Casey Heynes who, after years of bullying, decided to fight back.

Heynes had his back against the wall and passively took and blocked Richard Gale’s punches. After about 20 seconds, Heynes picked Gale up and slammed him on the ground.

Both students were suspended for four days, which I found ridiculous. Surely other schools must have reasonable rules for self-defense, I thought.

I was mistaken.

One unproductive day, I flipped open the Saratoga High Student Handbook, which is located in the front of my planner. When I stumbled upon the words “all forms of fighting or conspiracies to engage in fighting are prohibited” and that any students involved would be suspended, I looked around for any mention of self-defense and found none.

Many public schools make no effort to protect a student’s human right to self-defense.

At the same time, schools constantly preach that we should stop bullies by standing up to them.

The hypocrisy is astounding.

Instead, schools sometimes add insult to injury by marking on the victim’s record that he is a bully himself. A bully well knows that what they do is illegal, and punishing the victim only gives the bully gratification.

If a bully does not care about the rules and knows that they can get in trouble, why would they follow the no-hit policy?

What gives a bully confidence is that no one dares to challenge his or her authority.

However, if aggressors knew that they could legally be met with physical force, then they might reconsider their decision.

Some would argue that allowing self-defense at school would give bullies an opportunity to spark a fight and claim that they had to fight back. Their claim is that it would be too difficult for the administration to allocate the time and resources to figure out who the aggressor is. The difficulty of the task doesn't make it any less important. Too often one party is truly the victim until they can't take the abuse any more.

The right to self-defense is not like having permission to obtain a credit card. It is not granted to you when you are 18; it is part of what makes us civilized.

Not to mention that most doctors would say it’s far more healthy to not suffer physical abuse.

And for those who say to simply “block” their hits or huddle up into an armadillo position without hitting back, that is unrealistic in a self-defense situation.

How long will a student be able to sustain or block so many hits before an authority figure intervenes is able to arrive? By that time, the victim might be severely injured.

Schools are supposed to prepare us for the real world. If schools teach kids they can’t exercise a basic human right, then what are they trying to teach us?

Being able to stand up to bullies — and not be punished for it — is the essence of having human rights.

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