School Climate & Safety

‘Let’s Hold Hands and Get Along’ Not Always a Winning Resolution

By Ross Brenneman — December 04, 2012 1 min read
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Amid the wonderful daily surge of cute kitten photos that comprises 70 percent of the safe-for-work Internet nowadays, an occasional non-cat image comes along that captures social media attention for a solid minute or two.

Last week, it was this image of two male students holding hands, as discipline for fighting at Westwood High School in Mesa, Ariz. Widespread national scrutiny followed.

The Mesa school district didn’t seem to love principal Tim Richard’s idea, releasing a statement saying the “district does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate. District leadership will ... review district protocol regarding student discipline with all administrators.”

But then a funny thing happened yesterday. According to The Arizona Republic, about 200 students organized a “hand-holding event,” a peaceful demonstration in support of their principal.

The district hasn’t discussed what kind of a reprimand may come, but one imagines it will be light on hand-holding, and closer to a slap on the wrist. (Hey-o! Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all night.)

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.