Pulling punches

Fighting not that bad


Inde Atwood, Staffer

   Hallway fighting has been a focal point this year. Some claim online that Martin is the worst school in Arlington, and there have been threats of cutting our lunch time down. But is it all true? Is it actually that much worse than the last full year of school? 

     “The numbers suggest that it’s not,” assistant principal Steven Smith said. “It could be the severity of the fights. There seems to be a real sense of tension and high alert from students and teachers.”

     Not all students hold this view. Almost half of all juniors and seniors who were asked thought fighting was worse in the 2019-20 school year. 

   “There are not a ton more fights this year,” junior Avery Michener said. “But it’s noticeable.”

     “[There’s an increase] due to the new freshmen picking fights with each other, including seniors and even teachers,” junior Sam Henley said. 

   Smith said he agrees that freshmen are the biggest issue. He proposed a special meeting between just the male freshmen and male counselors, and vice versa to get through to them. 

     “Somehow we’ve got to find a better way of communicating our behavior expectations to the freshmen,” Smith said. 

     Beside the threat of splitting lunch periods, the school’s administration doesn’t have a widespread plan to stop the fights. The surprising part? It’s getting better. 

    “I think the sophomores and juniors are putting a stop to the freshmen and the rest are going to Choices,” Henley said. “I know a freshman who was expelled for causing a big ruckus.”

     Cutting our lunch time, on the other hand, isn’t the best option according to many.

     “Not cool,” Michener said.

     “I don’t want to have to do that,” Smith said. “But if there is a situation where students are unable to control themselves, we will have to shorten lunch for the safety of our students.”

     None of the students or faculty want to make this change, and most students don’t think it would work. 

     ”It’s not gonna stop anything,” junior Donovan Allen said. “I’ve talked to other students at the CTC (who go to schools with split lunch periods), and compared to other schools, Martin is a paradise.” 

     The idea had some supporters, and Henley thought it would be effective. 

     “It’s both smart and stupid,” Henley said. “I don’t think it’s necessary anymore since the fights have gone down. I do think it would be effective.”

     The notion that fighting has exploded this school year isn’t driven by fact, so what is behind it? 

It could be that no fights occurred last year since no one was here, or that social media, especially Instagram, is spreading information much faster than before. Whatever the cause, school fighting hasn’t changed as much as the rumors would indicate. 

     “It’s complete malarkey,” Allen said.