THE tragic death of a student in northern NSW this week has exposed a chilling culture of schoolyard violence in our own backyard.
If parents on the Coffs Coast think schoolyard brawls are under control here, think again.
Not only are vicious attacks happening, they are being filmed and uploaded to video-sharing site YouTube where the violence is further fuelled by racist and obscene online comments.
The videos opposite were extracted from footage uploaded of fights that occurred at Orara High School and Woolgoolga High School. In one, one student appears to be ‘stabbing’ another student with a pen.
The proliferation of portable media devices like video-enabled mobile phones means teachers are almost powerless to stop students engaging in this disgusting practice.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the videos is the number of students actually videoing the same brawl and the savage nature of the attacks themselves.
Orara High School principal Frank Stanton said acts of violence at his school were isolated.
“Most schools encounter school yard violence in one form or another. Here at Orara High School we have tight protocols in place to deal with violence when it eventuates,” Mr Stanton said.
“When adolescents gather, there is always the potential for conflict. Our staff and teachers deal with and resolve these matters in a professional manner following the school policy.”
Mr Stanton said while the use of mobile phones was banned in classroom, this could not be enforced in the school yard.
Expert in Popular Culture, associate professor Karen Brooks, said social networking sites give bullies a way to re-live their acts again and again.
“Of course, it’s giving these bullies a trophy, it gives them social cache with their peers – they’re seen as being fearless when in fact they’re being completely cowardly,” Ms Brooks said.
“Bullying used to be left at school, there were always victims who were scared to go to school but home was a safe haven. That’s no longer the case – the intimidation can intrude in the most intimate of places, their bedroom, because it’s hard not to log in and see it.”
She said violence has been somewhat glamourised in modern society meaning the shock factor has been taken out of it.
“Children today are saturated with violent images and we are starting to see the outcome of that in so many ways,” Ms Brooks said.
“I saw a statistic the other day that by the time a child reaches the age of 18 they will have seen an average of 200,000 murder images on television alone. That’s horrifying.”
Along with the fact some of the videos have been almost 2000 times, the comments made below the videos are appalling.
One writer says “lucky Brad didn’t have his knife”.
Another says “lol (laughing out loud) my fight should go up soon!”
That comment was made three weeks ago.
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