Friday, December 3, 2010

Posting school fight online results in suspensions


By GARY BAUMGARTEN
We all remember the days when the rumors would run through the school.
“They’re gonna be a fight after class – by the bike racks” was how we always got the word at Coffey Junior High School in Detroit.
Sure enough, after class, seemingly the entire student body would be gathered to watch the fight. I’d always wonder, “are the teachers and the principal this blind that they don’t see this going on?” But never, not once, did a teacher or other school official – not even the janitor – show up to break things up.
We’d all watch the fight and then go home – excitedly talking among ourselves about who the newest, baddest kid in the school was. The next day, we’d always watch from afar to see how the loser was treated. Once popular – he was always shunned – at least until the embarrassment over his defeat waned.
Never were there any real consequences. But I always figured that if there were, certainly it would be the boxers, not the ones “promoting” the fight  by spreading the word nor those in attendance, who would get suspended.
Today, things are much different. Today, your biggest infraction as a student would be to use your camera phone, video the fight and post it on YouTube.
Once again – this time on Long Island – five Half Hollow Hills High School East students have been suspended for posting a video of a fight on YouTube. The school says they were disciplined for one day for “sensationalizing violence,”the New York Post reports.
Right.
The reason they were suspended is because the video – which YouTube has since removed – embarrassed the school.
The same thing happened to my daughter when she was in high school. She happened to witness an altercation in the school cafeteria and posted it on the Internet. There were teachers and lunch aides in the vicinity of the spat when it happened. None of them took action.
After it was posted, my daughter got in trouble. But not the girls who were involved in the altercation. Despite the evidence collected by my daughter.
It made sense in a way. The school’s reputation was far more important to the school than the safety of the students. Just like in this case on Long Island.
Gary Baumgarten is news and programming director at the Paltalk News Network.

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