No tolerance for young heroes

A SoCal high schooler’s suspension exemplified the flaws of the zero-tolerance policy, since the school administrators undermined the defense of victims by suspending him.

Brian Chang, Asst. News Editor

The act of bullying has become a practice so widespread in society that it’s almost impossible to find a movie or book about teenagers that doesn’t include some semblance of harassment and a resulting physical stand-off between a character and his or her bullies. Films and novels encourage the hero or heroine to fight back against the bullies, invariably ending with a victory for the good side. Unfortunately, standing up seems to do no good in the real world and only leads to punishment for heroic deeds.

Protests have recently been circling on social media about a student at Huntington Beach High School who was kicked off the football team and suspended for protecting a blind classmate who was being punched by another student. Cody Pines hit a fellow classmate, knocking him to the ground, after witnessing him attack a blind teenager. Pines, however, was suspended due to the school’s zero tolerance policy. The policy, similar to those at many schools, including Diamond Bar High School, neglected to take into consideration the circumstances of the event and the reasons Pines acted out. Although he was eventually reinstated, Pines should have never been kicked off the team or even suspended; he only did what was right.

Pines should have been regarded as a hero by the school administrators; however, he was punished for doing an act of kindness. Had Pines done what school policies called for and left to find a teacher, the blind student may have been seriously injured, having no way to defend himself.

The school’s reaction serves to highlight an important and controversial topic: Should students be disciplined for harming others in order to help a fellow classmate? The answer to that question is a definite and resounding no.

Students should be hailed as heroes and not punished like criminals for having the courage to act when another student is in trouble. Regardless of the means used, anyone who prevents bullying from occurring is someone who has done the right thing.

Results are the most important concern in class, so why are the means of accomplishing a task weighted more heavily outside the classroom? The primary outcomes of Pines’ actions were that a bully was stopped and a victim was saved from bodily harm. While the original aggressor was hurt, the pain pales in regard to the suffering he could have inflicted on his blind classmate; in this case, the ends justify the means.

As bullying continues to be a major problem affecting students all over the world, those who take measures to prevent it instead of silently watch the bullies menace their peers should be rewarded and praised, not punished.

Despite rigorous school policies against the practice and general hatred for it by society, bullying seems to have become a permanent evil. Students like Cody Pines who do what they can to prevent it are true heroes, and officials who punish such students do nothing but help encourage the continuation of physical bullying.