I thank God every day that I didn’t have stuff like Twitter and Facebook to worry about when I was in high school. For me, getting through the day was tough enough, as I wasn’t exactly the most vibrate of social butterflies in my age group. I’ll spare you the details, but I’ll just say that if social networking was around back then, I probably would have begged my parents to be home schooled.
Once again, Facebook has magically transformed a common spat into a full-blown high school brawl, complete with fistfuls of locks and cowardly sucker punches. After a bit of the old back-and-forth on the popular social networking site, Jenise Williams, a sophomore at Chicago Academy for Advanced Technology High School, was ambushed by a group of girls looking to deal a considerable amount of damage. I honestly don’t care what anyone says — when you hit someone with a sock containing a heavy lock, you’re in the market to break some bones.
Although principal Matt Hancock wouldn’t spill any juicy details regarding this violent high school showdown, he did say that the girls had been properly dealt with. “We issued suspensions and one referral for expulsion,” he explained. “We take issues of violence and bullying extremely seriously.”
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened the school. Williams was recently suspended for fighting earlier in the year, though she claims that she didn’t instigate any of the confrontations. In fact, she had just returned to school from the earlier suspension when the troublemakers jumped Williams and her best friend.
Considering Facebook and Twitter aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, how do parents and school officials deal with the ongoing problems these sites are causing?
“If you can resolve it with the students, that is the best option. When the cyber bullying is a specific threat, police action can be taken. But rarely is there a clear cut case of one student bullying another. It is back and forth, low level squabbling, and a group of students speaking in code words; that becomes an issue of conflict resolution, not an issue of cyber bullying,” Hancock explained. “Unfortunately, we didn’t see any warning signs and didn’t have a heads-up that tensions were high. It was a surprise to us.”
My advice: If you don’t want trouble to follow you around, perhaps it’s time to take a break from posting garbage that might irritate other people online. Honestly, this sort of behavior is really no different than the playground fisticuffs I remember seeing when I was kid. Except, of course, the trash-talking is more technologically advanced. Nowadays, you spout off online and wait for the right hook to find your face at a later date.
What are your thoughts about Facebook and Twitter usage resulting in this sort of violent behavior in teenagers? Is this just typical teenage behavior updated for the modern age, or is social networking actually contributing to the number of problems schools are experiencing? Let us know in the comments section.