Briar MacLean of Calgary was sitting in class on Tuesday when he overheard a classmate being bullied. Realizing the bully had pulled a knife on his classmate, he instinctively tackled him.
Unfortunately, Sir John A. Macdonald School does not “condone heroics,” and MacLean found himself in trouble along with the knife-weilding assailant.
“I was in between two desks and he was poking and prodding the guy,” Briar told the National Post. “He put him in a headlock, and I saw that.”
MacLean did not see the bully pull out a knife, but he “heard the flick, and [he] heard them say there was a knife.”
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Around fourth period that day, Briar was sent to the office and the vice principal called his mother, Leah O’Donnell.
“They phoned me and said, ‘Briar was involved in an incident today,'” O’Donnell said. “That he decide to ‘play hero’ and jump in.”
She said the school told her that her son should have told the teacher if there was a problem instead of handling the situation himself.
“I asked [the vice principal] ‘In the time it would have taken him to go get a teacher, could that kid’s throat have been slit?’” O'Donnel said. “She said yes, but that’s beside the point ... we ‘don’t condone heroics in this school.’”
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The bravery of confronting someone with a knife aside, what Briar did was stand up to a bully. Bullying is an epidemic in the United States and across the globe, and it often leads to suicide. In fact, bullying is the third leading cause of death among young people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The student who reportedly intervened was asked to remain in the office to explain what happened but was in no way disciplined,"wrote the school's principal, Michael Bester.
While he was not suspended, Briar was made to feel as if he did something wrong.
"It is not recommended that students intervene in incidents such as this to ensure their own safety,” Bester wrote. “There was a teacher nearby who could have been asked to assist before the third student became involved."