Briar MacLean: A Junior High Student Recognized As a Hero Is Punished

Should educational policy reprimand heroic gestures?

Briar MacLean, a Calgary teen, decided to break the rules and do the right thing. MacLean noticed a junior-high student bullying one of his peers by putting him in a headlock and teasing him. MacLean reports he didn’t see a knife but heard one flick, and his testimony was corroborated by the bullies themselves, who said they used one. MacLean’s instinctual drive found him intervening by pushing the bully aside. His school's educational policy states one should seek the help of a teacher in these types of compromising situations. This is understandable from a policy standpoint, but within high-pressure situations, a decision should be made on a case-by-case basis. Why is it that a teenage student cannot protect another fellow student from immediate harm? Why should he have to waste time seeking the protection of a teacher? This type of policy takes a bureaucratic approach whereby an individual is rebuked by school officials for defending a person in danger. The educational system should treat policies as general guidelines, rather than taking as end-all-be-all frameworks.

The principal of Sir John A. Macdonald Junior High School has stated the story isn't as cut-and-dry as the media is making it out to be, adding that the school's primary concern was the safety of three students involved in the altercation, according to Yahoo! News. If the school’s primary concern is safety, then why would they punish the heroic gestures of MacLean? If MacLean had waited to tell a teacher, the bully could have stabbed the victim. MacLean did not interject to promote violence, but to prevent it from occurring. According to Yahoo! News, “Considering Calgary police have confirmed a knife was involved, MacLean’s intervention should be at the very least celebrated for managing to stop the incident from becoming more deadly.”

The opposing side may argue that these institutional guidelines are in place for a reason, even if MacLean's act is regarded as one of heroism. Perhaps MacLean could have also been injured by the bully through his act of intervention which would impact the school negatively. In this case, the school would be held responsible for not protecting its students from danger on its premises. According to The Daily Caller, “The Calgary school board has not commented on the incident except to confirm the bully has been suspended.” There's no word on what will happen to Briar MacLean, but for now, he is being recognized as the seventh-grade hero of Calgary, Canada.