I was in the English Faculty Chair's office at the end of the hall perusing catalogues when I heard "Bitch, you wanna fight me then get outcho chair and shut your mouth and do something." I turned to Mrs. G, who is a mammoth, and who recently pummeled into the floor a 7th grader who punched her. When the girl's mother came to the school after this incident she also threw a punch at Mrs. G, and Mrs. G pummeled her into the floor as well.
"Mrs. G," I said, "we got a situation." Already a crowd was forming in the hall. I sprinted down just in time to see Liberty Bell and Tootsie squaring off, two burly girlies charging each other. Bell had her head up and fists ready, Tootsie had her head down and was starting the over-head swinging of suburban girl fighters. When I got to the scene I pulled up--I can't go restraining girls without forethought, particularly very busty girls, and this hesitation gave Bell time to land a thudding uppercut into Tootsie's nose. Then Bell grabbed her hair and wrenched out a weave which she waved like a scalp. Beads and hairpins went flying. Mrs. G arrived, and then Mrs. M the 6'6" hall monitor. Tootsie clocked Mrs. G in the face with a scud missile punch, sending her glasses flying. As I was useless now, I dove for the glasses and started haphazard crowd control.
Gradually Mrs. G and Mrs. M got the bloodied and fuming gals apart. It took about 20 minutes to get children back into classrooms and into their chairs. Mrs. G said "You got there in time to do something--why did you stop?"
I said I didn't have crisis intervention training, and that I worried for a moment about touching girls inappropriately to prevent a fight. She had a good long laugh at this, and I did too. Back at Booker T. I would have never paused, I would have done what I needed to do. I still feel a bit unsure of myself at the new school sometimes.