#students | #parents | Experts give advice on de-escalating situations after video captures Bemidji school fight

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – A parent in Bemidji, Minnesota contacted us on Facebook wanting to highlight the problems of bullying. She sent us video showing her child in several fights at a middle school.

The most recent incident happened last week between sixth grade students and school officials were notified, according to the parent, although we don’t know if suspensions were given.
We chose not to broadcast the eight second video in its entirety due to the violence it depicts.
Dr. Keri DeSutter of Minnesota State University Moorhead said parents should teach their kids to pause and take a breather before doing anything rash.
“As a student, try not to solve the problem yourself,” DeSutter, who’s the director of Teacher Education at MSUM, said. “But, maybe just try to distract the situation and then to make sure you go get help from an adult.”
We showed DeSutter the video and she said parents need to encourage their children to be proactive in getting a teacher’s attention.
“I think it’s really important no matter what that if you’re witnessing a situation that you try to intervene in some way that is safe,” DeSutter said.

A key de-escalating technique for a child is to place themselves in the other person’s shoes.
“Sometimes, they don’t understand what others feel when they treat them the way they do,” Dr. Stacey Duffield of North Dakota State University said. “So, they need some help with learning ‘perspective taking’ and empathy, and so if you can teach them those things you can stop some of the incidents from happening.”
Duffield is a professor at NDSU’s school of education. She said social media has empowered bullies.
“Bullies tend to want that attention and that power and those videos being up on social media only increase that for the bully, unfortunately,” Duffield said.
Duffield said if your child finds themselves in such a situation, they should try to avoid it by walking away, despite what their peers may say.
One of the students involved in that incident no longer attends that school in Bemidji.
We’re protecting the identity of those involved since they are minors.

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