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Monday, March 8, 2010

Dakota Middle School Principal Drops Hammer on Food-Fighting Seventh Graders

The whole middle school concept is predicated around the idea of building kids' self-esteem. But when the kids act like animals, they deserve a good chewing out. Fortunately for the students and parents at Dakota Middle School in Rapid City, principal Brad Tucker appears to get that:

Five students were injured by thrown plates and one required medical attention in a student-organized food fight at Dakota Middle School Friday.

Principal Brad Tucker told seventh-grade students Monday afternoon that he was angry and embarrassed by the incident and several students will be arrested and suspended.

“In my 27 years, I’ve never been so angry at a group of students; it makes me sick to my stomach.”

“ … You guys have a great responsibility here not to keep your mouths shut, but to take care of each other. Silverware was flying; somebody could have been impaled or lost an eye.”

The entire class has lost privileges, he added, including no end-of school dance and possibly no eighth-grade graduation. A letter will be sent to parents about the incident.

...Tucker told the students the only way to dig out is to “behave their way out of it” and they would have to grow up.

“In my 20-some years as a school administrator, I have never been as embarrassed by a group of students,” he said [Kayla Gahagan, "Five Students Injured in Raucous Food Fight at Dakota Middle School," Rapid City Journal, 2010.03.01].

I've caught grief in my classroom for being rough on kids, but when kids commit shameful and humiliating acts, shame and humiliation is exactly the right response from teachers and administrators. (Taking away the cell phones they used to organize the food fight might not be a bad idea, either.)


  1. I couldn't have said it better myself: when people commit shameful and humiliating acts, "shame and humiliation is exactly the right response" from those who know the proper way to act.

    I'm glad to see there's finally something we agree on!

  2. You both agree to stop investments in companies that do business with Iran. That's two;)

  3. Agreeing with Bob Ellis scares me. But there it is.

  4. The US has never ceased doing business with Iran through European subsidiaries.

    Honeywell is helping to design the third generation Thorium-powered electric because Iran has learned from France that burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse emissions.


    Disagree with the mullahs again. Support cooperation and dialogue..

  5. Explain to me why these kids need cell phones in school in the first place? If it's because their parents need to get a hold of them during the day, why don't the parents call the school and have the kids paged, like they've done for umpteen years before?

    If I were a teacher or administrator, I would rule that if cell phones were found on students during the school day and not put away in their lockers, they are subject to confiscation without question. The only way they'd get them back is if there was a conference set up with the students and parents. Next time, it's permanent.

    The fact they used cell phones to do this, not to mention reports of using cell phones nationwide to help with cheating says to me that Cell Phones are a BAD IDEA in schools.

    1. Although you may say that phones are unnecessary that will not stop them. They will still buy electronics, and not to call their parents. They buy them for entertainment.

      They don't have WiFi to students at our school. I might add they are not only phones, but also iPod's. I see them every day when I'm at school.

      They cannot cheat with them because there is no WiFi and there would also be the problem of finding another person with the same device and also having WiFi access. Not to mention that in a class there are more people working than cheating.

      The problem with your idea is that there will be unhappy students, who will then complain to their parents. Who will then complain about the phones being taken away at such a number and rate, no doubt someone will either sue you or continue to argue with you. There will then be unhappy students. Then there will be a unhappy environment, and likely bullying.

      8th grade student at DHMS
      (note: now the 7th and 6th graders are more civilized now that we are the 8th graders)

    2. Lots of things make kids and teachers unhappy. Does that mean we should give in to their every whim? Don't we still have an obligation to remove distractions and create a healthy learning environment? What's the difference between happiness and distraction>

  6. I wouldn't go so far as allowing a school to permanently confiscate property because it's problematic. I would say losing it for a week or even a month would get the message across fine and wouldn't cross the line into theft. But I absolutely agree that cell phones should never be turned on during school. The school office is perfectly capable of relaying messages.

  7. “ … You guys have a great responsibility here not to keep your mouths shut, but to take care of each other. Silverware was flying; somebody could have been impaled or lost an eye.”

    Silverware? We get plastic sporks and napkins. And spoons on the occasional chili day. And if its pizza day there shouldn't have been a lot of plastic sporks. Only for those bad salad sandwich things they used to have that they got rid of (thankfully) and the required fruits and vegetables.

    Did you know we can choose to not take them? But then its a la carte and it costs more. We also have junk food. A lot of people take a la carte still.

    To be impaled by a flying weak plastic spork that bends is impossible and knives are prohibited from use in lunch. The only way is if someone hit someone else in the eye with it, or if someone walked up to someone and impaled them with the plastic spork, which i don't think would be very successful. That lunch room is pretty big.


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