I can still smell a fight before it happens. Even though we don't have them nearly as much at my hippy charter school, I can still feel them in the air when they're coming. Unfortunately that doesn't always translate into fight prevention.
This morning I'm in the cafeteria where the middle school gathers for breakkies before being escorted to homeroom. I see Courtley, a tough sixth grade girl in a faux leather coat standing up and glaring across the cafeteria. I see her glaring at Bye Bye Boydie. Bye Bye Boydie is sitting down and glaring back. I stroll over and put my arm around Courtley's shoulders. "There some drama going on Courtley?" I ask. "These bitches...I'm sorry...these girls be talking smack. I'ma rise above it though. I'm trying." "Ok," I say. "I appreciate that." I work my way around chattering and shrieking kids over to Bye Bye. "Bye Bye," I say. "Is something going on that I need to know about?" While I'm bent down talking to her a gal peels off from Bye Bye's posse and clocks Courtley in the eye piece. Courtley grabs two fist fulls of extensions and then we have a very brief grrrrl fight. It was brief because I was over the table wrapping up Bye Bye's minion in a flash, and I was the 2nd adult engaged; the counselor Mr. T was already between them, and while I was holding one girl and talking her into letting go of the others' hair three other teachers were also pulling on the other girl and only one blow was struck and only a few dozen strands of fake hair were lost in the melee.
Both girls were suspended, and I could have prevented it if I weren't a bit rusty. Cardinal rule: Always watch the posse when you're interrogating the primaries.