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The first rule of fourth-grade fight club is that you … well, you know the rest

Feb 8, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

And now, in lieu of math, we shall have Fight Club, children. Please move your desks to form a circle. Jennifer, would you be so kind as to keep a lookout at the door in case the principal should walk by? Um, in case someone needs stitches, anyone here know how to sew? That was the scene at a Queens elementary school last week, as a 29-year-old instructor and his 43-year-old teacher’s aide are in kind of big trouble for letting two pupils — aged 9 and 10 — “fight out their differences” in the middle of the classroom. The instructor, Joseph Gullotta, was charged with two counts of acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17, and could face up to a year in jail if convicted.


During the brawl, one child reportedly received a blody lip, and the other rammed his head into a desk. One required stitches, but was not allowed to see the school nurse until hours later. Yes, Spartan children must be strong. Future generations in Queens will be safe from any invading Persians
From the New York Post:

“When two fourth-graders became involved in a verbal dispute, their teacher allegedly told one of the students that he should ‘take it out’ on another student,” Queens DA Richard Brown said.

“When parents send their children off to school, their teachers have an obligation to provide a safe environment for them.”

Teacher’s aide Abraham Fox, 43, was in the classroom during the clash, but did nothing to break it up, the DA charged.

Neither student was offered a visit to the school nurse, despite Fox’s observation that the 9-year-old might need stitches, Brown said.

Then out came the schoolbooks for two periods of more traditional instruction before Gullotta finally allowed the younger boy to visit the nurse.

Gullotta allegedly supplied him with a cover story for his injuries: He was to tell the nurse that he dropped a pencil and bashed heads with his classmate as they both bent down to pick it up.

So it’s like the film School of Rock, only Jack Black is an enthusiast of boxing instead of music. My favorite part of the story, even though I don’t know what it means:

Fox was suspended without pay; Gullotta was reassigned to a rubber room.

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Teacher was kids’ brawl monitor: DA [New York Post]

  1. Arthur - Feb 9, 2010 at 4:53 AM

    Well, it sounds like it wasn’t done very intelligently, but it’s too bad that every kind of natural expression is taboo these days. Nothing “dangerous” is allowed. When I was a kid, disputes in school between boys were settled in the gym by fighting. It was done quite well. It took the form of a boxing match with one of the PE teachers as referee and both boys using boxing gloves, and the rules of boxing in effect. You can get hurt in a boxing match, but that’s the way it goes. Life is like that — it’s dangerous and you can get hurt. Eventually you’re going to die of it. But in our school gym, no one was every seriously hurt and the combatants usually ended up as friends as a result of working out their issues in the ring. It was a good system.
    In the case cited in the article, the fight was apparently conducted in a classroom, not the gym, and there is no mention of boxing gloves, nor of any rules being in effect. So the impulse may have been good, but the implementation poor. But that’s not the way it would be seen these days. All fighting will be considered bad and the teachers will be punished for allowing it. I think they should be punished for stupid implementation and instructed in how to conduct a proper boxing match.

  2. Dee Mirich and the Supremes - Feb 9, 2010 at 5:31 AM

    Two kids enter, one kid leaves! (but must have hall pass)

  3. Schmoopy - Feb 9, 2010 at 5:39 AM

    ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?