The first day of school came and went and the student in question seemed just fine. As the year progressed I had heard of him being involved in several skirmishes, both on and off campus, but in my classroom he was just a gentle giant. I thanked my lucky stars. That January, the student, let's call him "Clark", had suffered a broken leg in a skiing mishap and had to be on crutches for the better part of a month. He was calm and polite, as always, in class.
Then...it happened. Another student, "Josh" had become upset with me in class and called me a "bitch". I can count on one hand the number of times I have been called a name (to my face at least). I stood there, shocked, but only for a second as I was shaken out of it by another yell. "Don't you ever call her a bitch you *@?*@*$!". Before I could even turn to see who said it, Clark had risen out of his seat, crutches and all, and was proceeding to beat Josh with said crutches. Of course I had to send both of them to administration.
I noticed a distinct change in my students after that day. It was almost as if they were afraid of me. They answered my questions immediately, did their homework, never complained, and were never ever sassy. I knew it wasn't me they were afraid of, it was Clark - the former mental patient turned savior.
Never forget to be nice!