About 4 years ago, I was walking through the halls during passing period behind a group of three or four boys. A couple of them were just walking to class, but 2 of them couldn't seem to keep their hands to themselves. There was arm punches, mini-shoves, rough neck hugs, etc. All in the span of about 50 feet. The 2 aggressive kids were big. The 2 boys bearing the "good natured" brunt were smaller. They got to there classroom and one of the bigger boys grabbed a smaller boy in a rough headlock and pretended to bring his knee up quick for a knee shot to the face. He came pretty close.
I'd seen enough.
I barked at him to stop and told him and his rough buddy to come with me. First they just stared at me while the smaller boy said they were just playing. Another bark to follow me and the boys joined me privately in my room.
I ranted at them pretty good that this is a high school not a playground. I told them that what they were doing looked like bullying and it will not be tolerated. I accused them of acting like children while we are insisting on them acting like young men. I told them I would not tolerate this nonsense in my school.
Two days later a mom contacted me. She wanted to talk to me about how I spoke to her son. I agreed to meet whenever she would like, and she suggested a Starbucks near school.
She started by telling me that she thought I was too rough on her son. My tone, words, posture, facial expressions were all too "something". She tuned me up pretty good for awhile and I just sat there and took it. Finally, I interjected. Probably went something like this,
"You son did something wrong, got yelled at, and you are hear to cry for him? Your son made a mistake and got talked to roughly and you are here complaining about it? He wasn't suspended, expelled, written up, taken to the office, ... nothing. Nothing happened bad to your son and you are here going to bat for him? He will continue to do the wrong things until you let him serve a consequence. What the heck are you thinking? You should have grounded him and taken away every bit of his technology for acting the fool at school. You should have made him come to me an apologize like a young man but INSTEAD, you think he was spoken to "meanly". Are you kidding. Ma'am. I know your son. I've watched him for 2 years. He is absolutely capable yet getting bad grades. He is always out of class, always violating dress code, always disrespectful, and you are coming to school to complain that I was mean to him. You should be mean to him. You should be furious with him....."
Something like that.
Then, she just started crying. Horrible racking sobbing flailing crying. She blubbered that he was out of control, on drugs, drinking and failing. She didn't know why she did what she did for him.
She started apologizing and told me she didn't know what to do. Inside, I knew this kid was an entitled punk who owned his parents. Nothing she tried to do now would change him. Still, I gave her my best advice.
"They don't need friends, they need parents. They need parents that insist on good character and great work ethic and they need parents that model that behavior. Can't tell a kid to read if you are watching Teen Mom on TV. Kids don't need to be given everything they want and they are begging for structure, rules and consequences. Quit worrying if they like you. Start worrying if they will learn what they need to grow into hard working citizens of good character.'