Last month, a fight broke out at CHS. While fights are not that rare in high schools, one troubling aspect of this fight was that many CHS students were involved, not just the ones who threw a punch.
In this case, the bystanders were part of the problem, not the solution. At least one student’s first instinct was to start filming the fight on a cell phone instead of breaking it up. Even more troubling is that the video reveals dozens of students standing, watching and doing nothing to break up the fight. A few students assist security in trying to break it up, but many form a circle around those fighting and jeer as the violence continues.
Within hours, the video was on YouTube, for the entire world to see. A Facebook group called “Everyone Hates Churchill” posted the video and, remarkably, several CHS students liked it.
Instead of students ignoring something that showed their school in a bad light, the video ticked up in views as many CHS students watched. By looking at a video of a fight for entertainment, we are glorifying violence. By cheering our classmates on as they hurt each other, we are encouraging it. Thankfully, the video was taken down from YouTube.
To make matters worse, this conflict was not completely on the spur of the moment. Various students have confirmed that it was apparently planned out in advance, and students beyond just those in the fight knew about it before it was coming. Yet no one warned security.
According to security team leader Terry Bell, after conducting interviews, security discovered that students had knowledge of a possible fight beforehand. Had security officials known in advance, they would have provided additional resources to monitor activity.
It is disappointing to think that multiple students could have prevented the fight simply by just telling an adult, and those students chose not to.
According to a 2010 New York Post article, five students attending a Long Island high school were suspended for one day after posting a similar fight on YouTube.
If CHS is truly concerned about cyberbullying and creating a safe environment for students, then whoever posted the video should be punished as well. The CHS community should not tolerate videos of fighting on school property being put online to glorify violence.
CHS administration may not know who posted the video because it was removed by YouTube and not by the account holder who uploaded the video, but doubtless some students do, and they should inform administration.
Last month’s fight exposed some common criticisms of our generation. We are desensitized to violence. We have short attention spans and are looking for the next source of entertainment. Instead of defying these assumptions, as we should, we ended up fulfilling them exactly.
CHS students know that we should strive to resolve our conflicts without violence, and we must also work as a community to discourage violence. Posting videos of the fight to laugh at will get us nowhere as a school. We are a generation of video exhibitionists, more concerned with impressing our friends than with practicing common decency.