February 26, 2009




I have often said, in law enforcement – at least when it comes to effectiveness and career survival –  the reporting of force is just as important as the use of force in an emergency situation.  Maybe even more important when it comes to The Courts, The Media, and possible litigation.  However, when it comes to the use of force in the school setting, where using any kind of hands-on force against students is not encouraged, I believe having an effective reporting model becomes even more important.


As an example,  let’s use a security officer receiving a report from several students that a serious brawl has broken out in a nearby section to that officer’s location.


Procedure For Responding To A Fight in the School Setting.

  1. Walk briskly.  Don’t run.
  2. Get help along the way.
  3. Assess and evaluate:  I call this tactic Stop. Look and Listen.  Never rush pell mell into a scene without slowing it down, observing, assessing and developing a sensible, logical, unemotional and professional plan of action.
    • Size of Students Involved.
    • Weapons involved, if any.
    • Proximity of individuals who can help.
    • Recognize that there may be several subtle things going on simultaneously that are being expressed in the conflict.  Is there gang involvement?  What other alliances may exists?
  4. Cut and Herd.  Separate the audience from the fighters.
  5. Identify yourself to the fighters (please see past posts where I discuss the effects of visual dysfunctions and auditory exclusion – the fighters most likely will not hear your first commands, might not recognize you as officers or teachers.
  6. Call the students by name, if possible.
  7. Always approach from the rear.  Never get in the middle of the conflict.
  8. Give specific commands in a firm voice.
  9. Separate the aggressors and the victim (refer again to past posts where I discuss Balance Displacement Techniques for separating fighting students) avoiding physical force when possible.
  10. Remove participants to safe locations.
  11. Obtain identification.
  12. Get medical attention, if required.
  13. Describe incident in writing.
  14. Debrief relevant teachers.
  15. Provide protection and support for victims.
  16. Provide counseling – for as long as necessary.




Officer’s/Teacher’s Arrival.  Identify the information and the source of information that led you to investigate the scene in the first place.  Identify if you are uniformed or plain clothed, and, if the latter, how you identified yourself.  How many officers, security monitors, teachers responded to the scene.


Approach.  Indicate what you and the other officers/teachers observed upon arriving at the scene.  What were your initial commands, actions, etc?


Subjects’ Actions.  Identify what all the actors were doing at the scene and how they responded to your initial commands/actions..  This should include verbal responses, body language, and physical actions.


Officer/Teacher’s Actions.  Include in this section the type of student-control methods used; the duration of the resistance; the type of de-escalation methods used; and any information regarding restraint methods used.  Once again, it is important to write what techniques and tactics you used or attempted to use designed to preclude the use of physical force.  Also, indicate, if applicable,  that, when physical resistance ceased, you ceased any physical force, no matter how minor.


Escort OrTransport Procedure.  Report the student’s or subject’s demeanor during the period you escorted him or her to a neutral site or to the site of the disciplinary conference.


Until the next post, Stay Safe.



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