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Tacoma teacher watches as 2 high school students fight

TACOMA — A recent fight between two students at Tacoma’s Wilson High School was caught on camera, and a substitute teacher can be seen watching the brawl without stepping in to stop it.

Student Quest Dugar said Friday that at first he just tried to walk away.

“I didn’t want to be involved,” Dugar said. “I didn’t want to fight in the first place but tried to step away.”

With no teacher to turn to at the time, Dugar said he attempted to defend himself and restrain the other boy. A crowd gathers, and the fight even draws the attention of a substitute teacher.

“I was looking at him, expecting him to do something, and he just stood there,” Dugar explained.

It’s district policy to suspend any student involved in a fight. Dugar’s mom was not happy with her son when she heard the news, but when she saw the cell phone video taken by another student, she quickly backed up her son.

tacoma school fight“It’s pretty clear and evident in the video that all he was doing was trying to defend himself,” said Dugar’s mother, Maria Taylor. “At some point our kids have a right to fight back and defend themselves.”

Taylor was mad that her son was slapped with a suspension and that a teacher did nothing.

A spokesperson for the Tacoma School District said it is district policy that all students involved in a fight be suspended. Staff members are also advised not to get involved with physical altercations between students.

“The staff member is standing right there and you can see him (Dugar) looking to him for help and he didn’t do anything,” she said.

Despite having a cast on his lower arm for spring break and a three-day suspension, Dugar said he wouldn’t change a thing.

“I still would have completely defended myself the way I did because that’s something every kid should be able to do,” he said.

Dugar’s mother plans to fight her son’s suspension.

11 comments

  • Jim

    Some school policies are ridiculous, he was clearly defending himself, that other kid deserves a suspension and more for instigating.

  • bigpoppa206

    Before you blame the school policy, I'm sure the sue-happy parents in the area are the reason for the policy. And yes it's sad the school needed to implement a policy like that to protect its' shrinking budget. I'd rather have the teacher step in too, but what if that kid has a gun? It's not like when I was growing up and you only needed to worry about a knife. The policy should punish the aggressor more, agreed!

  • Matt

    Teachers are not suposed to step in a fight. Of a student even accidentally hits a teachers it is expulsion . Period. No questions asked. Now that teacher had to do something he needed to verbally break up the fight. If they did nothing then there is a problem. I’ve done teacher credentialling that’s how I know.

    • sesmom

      You've "done" teacher credentialing? Are you trying to say you credential teachers, or you've been credentialed as a teacher?

    • Matt

      Thanks for pointing out my spelling errors there boss. Just cause I can’t spell is not a reason to make fun of me. Dang bully.

  • Tacoma Mom

    Back in my day (I'm a Wilson Alum) when fights happened kids got sent home and the suspension would be handed out to the aggressor not just automatically suspend anyone involved. If teachers don't step in, and everyone gets suspended, how does that help a kid dealing with bullying… damned if you do and damned if you don't. Aren't we supposed to reward the ones who take the high road and try to walk away from a fight?! What message are we sending these kids???

    • Richard S

      I am also a Wilson Alum. I found myself in a very similar situation my freshman year, For me, it was an automatic 1 day suspension for being involved in a fight. I believe the other student got 3-5 days. I don't recall for sure. I never had any problems with him when he returned.

      Back then it was great for me. I got a day off from school. Now, I wonder why I was sent home for defending myself. As a parent I have taught my kids to avoid fighting at all costs. On the other hand, I have also taught them how to defend themselves should plan A fail.

  • Matt2

    Tom Yazwinski should have titled the article "school policy didn't allow teacher to intervien" regarding the fight if the school policy didn't allow teachers to get involved. All he did was attempt to entice folks to blame the teacher before even reading the article. Also we all know how video only shows part of the story and doesn't show the before or after. For all we know he or other staff members alerted the office and he was simply waiting for assistance to arrive. Media reporting like this is what ruins peoples careers and lives because we all know people jump to judge. Pretty irresponsible on his part.

  • Chuckyb

    I was a teacher and broke up a fight. One kid twice the size of the other was on top of the smaller one with his hands around his throat and saying he was going kill him. I placed a head lock on the larger student and in the process hurt my knee. I got control and slammed the student against some lockers with an arm lock and had to apply pressure to get him under control. What did I get, a knee with problems some sick days used and a mother saying she wanted to press charges against me for assault. The police resolved the problem, did she want simple assault or attempted murder. Was it worth it? Yes I saved the child and guess what three days latter these two kids were best friends again. If I had not acted this could of had resulted in something totally different.
    I have seen teacher try to break up fights and end up hit or worse. I have seen teacher try to restrain a student just to have the other one punch the kid being held.
    Most cases best to yell at them to stop fighting and send some kids for help. Otherwise you place yourself in a situation that may place the teacher in harms way. Teacher are not trained in how to stop fights or restrain students.

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