At a junior high school in Canada, a young tyke named Briar MacLean saw some of his fellow students harassing a boy. They had him in a headlock and someone pulled a knife. MacLean intervened and saved the day, possibly saving the boy’s life, and at the very least stopping the incident from progressing any further.
Hero? Nope. Commendation? Nope. Suspension? Yep.
That’s right. He got suspended from school. The good folks at Sir John A. Macdonald Junior High decided that MacLean would be suspended from school for not following the correct policy. The school does not “condone heroics” and the correct course of action would have been for him to call a teacher. If you care, the knife-wielder did get suspended also, and the police were called to figure out the details of the assault. But on the school level, the punishment for the bully and bully-deterrer turned out to be the same.
Okay, so let’s count they ways this is wrong. Now, we understand the general concept that in most cases, students should report what is going on to authority figures of some sort. It’s not always a good idea to take the problem on yourself, and it could indeed end up with even graver consequences (Pay It Forward, anyone?). However, common sense tells the average person that each situation is going to be different, and there are many factors involved. When a potentially deadly weapon comes out, time becomes even more of the essence. They weren’t ducking the kid’s head in a toilet; there was a reason to believe that the victim could be in immediate violent harm. It wouldn’t be that MacLean would have been wrong if he had merely reported it, but to say he did the wrong thing in taking immediate action to try to help is ludicrous.
Think about it. They say they are doing this to discourage students from helping other students in instances of bullying. But what message are they really sending to the guilty parties (the real ones)? They are saying that we are completely discouraging other students from interfering with your bullying. Bully away, kind sir! No one is going to bother you. At worst, they might tell a teacher who will probably show up on the scene when the kids have had fair warning and everything looks like it’s okay.
We can live with it if the school doesn’t want to call Briar a hero. They could commend him and then give a disclaimer that maybe this wasn’t necessarily the best way to play it. But to suspend him from school as if he did something blatantly wrong when he might just have saved another boy’s life… what can we say? We thought it was just America. Maybe it’s contagious. Common sense has disappeared from Canada as well. Perhaps the United States is poisoning common sense everywhere.