I learned about the videos of teenagers fighting on September 13 from an email I received from a friend who had seen them. She was concerned and wanted my advice on what to do. I watched the three videos (which since have been taken down) and was deeply disturbed by what I saw. Two white teenage girls, different ones in each, were fighting each other on school grounds while a group of boys and girls watched. I told my friend I wanted to talk her about them before I did anything. The rest, as they say, is history, because the news broke on Channel 8 that weekend.
What I find remarkable about the whole sad situation is the reaction of some in our city. In reading the article in the Register, I was appalled by the remarks the Board of Education Chairman Mark Palmieri made. “The thing is, there’s nothing going on.” Really? I think the videos prove otherwise. Fellow BOE member Dorinda Borer had the common sense and concern as a parent to notify the police when she was made aware of the situation. For this she gets criticism? As Ms. Borer points out, “this is a national issue that was occurring in our backyard. You can’t address issues if you don’t recognize them.”
Palmieri says he is “concerned about ‘copycat issues’ since other students may hear about the videotaped fights.” I think Mr. Palmieri is out of touch with reality. Teenagers have been fighting since the dawn of time. They have sex and drink and do drugs, too. Some do more than others. Of course, some don’t do any of it, but they are in the minority. Add easy access to technology into the mix and you get videos of them fighting and being naked. It is naive and just plain old dumb to think it doesn’t happen. The recent firestorm around these fight videos provide the perfect opportunity for parents and teachers to talk to teenagers about all of these issues. We should be coming together as a community to figure out how to deal with the situation instead of pointing fingers.