Bullying, School Shootings, and Stand Your Ground in Florida

Of all the chilling headlines we see everyday, none are so hard to hear as those concerning school shootings. But even as tragically commonplace as they can seem, it’s still somehow surprising to learn that at least 74 school shootings have taken place in the United States since December 2012. Too often, bullying is at the root of school violence. We’ve seen a number of campaigns to curb schoolhouse bullying over the last several years, but few have sparked as much controversy as the new “fight back” proposal from Duval County School Board member Jason Fischer.

Florida School Board Rule Would Allow Students to Fight Their Bullies

Under Fischer’s proposal, students would be allowed to fight back against bullies in order to protect themselves — with force, if necessary. That would be quite a departure from the status quo, wherein all the students involved in a fight are regarded as “mutual combatants,” regardless of who started it. Many have seen this viral video of a young boy standing up to a schoolyard bully: Fischer insists his proposal protects children from their bullies and prevents school systems from unfairly punishing victims. It all comes down, he argues, to self-defense. But his critics say it sounds more like self-defense’s notorious cousin: Stand Your Ground.

Under Fischer’s proposal, students would be allowed to fight back against bullies in order to protect themselves — with force, if necessary.

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Stand Your Playground? Critics Say Fischer’s Self-Defense Plan Goes Too Far

Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law became household terminology during the 2012-13 George Zimmerman trial, which captured the world in rapt fascination. The controversial law extends the traditional rule of self-defense by allowing endangered citizens to fight back with justifiable force even if they have an opportunity to retreat from the situation. Opponents of Fischer’s proposal say that he’s bringing Stand Your Ground to the playground, an accusation he rejects. Whether the comparison is fair probably hinges on the details of Fischer’s policy, if and when it’s implemented. The extent of retaliatory force — and the precise circumstances under which it could be used in school — isn’t entirely clear. But the debate goes on. At Bogin, Munns & Munns, we care about the safety of every student in our state. As Central Florida personal injury attorneys, we know all too well the devastating impact that both school bullying and physical fighting can have.

NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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