While playing a group game on the playground at Smithfield Elementary School my 11-year-old son was attacked by a bully. He was shoved three times and my son did not yet defend himself. When the bully finally punched my son in the solar plexus he defended himself with a return punch that ended the fight. There were 5 teachers responsible for monitoring the playground that day and all were huddled together talking in a corner opposite from the site of the incident (oblivious to the world). My son immediately went to tell a teacher what happened once the conflict was over.
My son was suspended from school for most of a day for having defended himself with a message from the principal that all violence is wrong.
I ended up having to go through the Director of Student Services to appeal the incorrect application of the Zero Tolerance policy as my son was given no credit for having defended himself against these boys. Eventually, my son was vindicated and the Director said he would make sure that all principals received instruction in applying the self-defense policy, but incidents since that time make me think that the instruction never occurred.