High school fights are an all too real part of many students' lives. To make things worse, many are being video taped and shown on YouTube. Read on to find out why these fights occur and how to avoid being the next statistic.
Why High School Fights Occur
More often than not, fights occur because of misunderstandings and gossip. It is a rare occasion when people get in a fight while talking about a problem face-to-face. Fights usually occur when people don't talk about their problems and their friends are feeding them the wrong information.
For example, if someone were to tell you that another person was talking trash about you, how would you react? Most people would get angry. Instead of questioning the bearer of the bad news, they would automatically get mad at the person who supposedly said the negative things.
It is also easy to get mad at other people when you think they are moving in on your girlfriend or boyfriend. Have you ever gotten mad at another person who is talking to your love interest? Perhaps they've sent notes or text messages to them, or even called them. How have you reacted?
Think Before You React
It is easy to get caught up in the moment and react based on feelings, rather than fact. For some teens with bad tempers, this can lead to an explosive confrontation. The following are some tips to help you deal with a potential high school fight:
- Consider the source. - If someone is spreading gossip, they probably don't have your best interest at heart. What do they have to gain by telling you something negative?
- Check the facts. - A mature person would go to the source and seek a solution to the problem. However, if you believe that person is threatening you, seek help from an adult. It is never okay to threaten another person.
- Talk about the problem. - When possible, talk with the other person in a safe and neutral area, preferably where adults are present. Often times a fight is over a misunderstanding and it can easily be fixed by discussing the problem rationally.
- Try to have the discussion alone. - Sometimes our friends can be our enemies. Heated discussions can flare up into physical confrontations when other people are around. This can happen when we want to save face or to show others that we aren't afraid of someone else.
- Seek help from an adult. - School fights, especially physical ones, will end up in the guidance counselor's or principal's office anyway. If you think a fight is going to escalate to the point of getting physical, seek help from an adult to diffuse it early. No one wins when there is a physical confrontation.
- Talk to your parents. - It is unfortunate that more teens don't talk to their parents about fights at school. If nothing else, you can be sure that your parents have your best interests at heart. Ask your parents for advice - you may be surprised at their response.
Fist Fights and Cyberbullies
The Internet has ushered in a whole new level of bullying in high schools. Think of the many different ways we can hurt each other: text messaging, Internet slam books, YouTube and other social networking sites. While your parents had fistfights in the back of the building after school, today's teens can torture someone 24/7.If you think you can bully someone without getting caught, think again. A few years ago there wasn't much law enforcement could do about high school fights that existed in cyberspace. However, since some of these fights have resulted in serious injury and even death, lawmakers are dawning a new era in legislating the Internet. There are consequences for cyberbullying.
Consider the following cases and their outcomes:
- Megan Meier - The Megan Meier case is one of the most memorable teen suicide tragedies. Two teens and one of their mothers created a fake MySpace account in the name of Josh Evans. 19 year-old Ashley Grills, along with Lori Drew's teenage daughter, were the ones to send the cruel messages to Megan. Ashley was the one to send the message that "the world would be a better place without you," to Megan before she hung herself. Like so many other issues, this case started over a rumor.
Since this incident, cyberbullying has been outlawed in Missouri. On July 2, 2008, the mother, Lori Drew, was charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. If she is found guilty, she will face four years in federal prison. Ashley Grills has been given immunity so that she will testify against Lori Drew.
- Florida Teen Fight Video - This case revolves around teen girls beating up on another girl and videotaping it with the purpose of putting it on YouTube. Eight Florida teens, six girls and two boys, will be brought up on charges of first-degree felony kidnapping, battery and tampering with a witness. The teens say the attack on the girl was in retaliation for insults posted on the Internet by the victim. The attack lasted over 30 minutes, with the girls taking turns beating up the victim. The victim has suffered hearing and vision loss. The attackers, aged 14 to 18, will be charged as adults and face life in prison.
These are but two of the most recent cases involving fights in high school. In both cases cited, the teens that reacted emotionally face criminal charges and even life in prison - a steep price to pay for losing their temper. The next time you face a fight in high school, think before you react. Your life, as well as the others around you, may hang in the balance.