WEB EXCLUSIVE: Parents alarmed by middle school fight club
Fight video taken from YouTube
Videos posted on YouTube are raising concerns with parents and school officials. They show a group of middle school girls watching, and even encouraging, a fight between two people.
Several of these videos have been posted on the Internet. KCBD has been investigating and got the story behind them.
Laura Lavato is the parent of a 7th grader at Smylie Wilson Middle School. She says these fights are initiated by students attempting to be a part of the in-crowd. Lavato says it's friends fighting friends.
"Either you're going to fight or you're going to get jumped. To me that's how I see it," Lavato said.
Some videos show fights happening in school restrooms. Others show the same group of girls fighting in a Lubbock park.
Lavato says one video was taken in the Smylie Wilson bathroom. You can see the girls don't appear to be mad at each other, and it sounds like they don't want to get caught. Then a fight breaks out between two girls.
"The girls are screaming, hit her, get her, pop her…" Lavato said.
At one point, you can hear a girl being slammed into the mirror.
Lavato says her 12-year-old daughter fell in with the group shown in the video. She says her daughter was pressured to fight her best friend last week, and she says these fights have happened before, on and off campus.
"When I look at the Facebook, all the kids are talking about it," Lavato said.
The same YouTube user who posted video in the bathroom posted another one in a park. You can see the same girls walking from South Plains Mall. Once again, a fight breaks out, like it was planned.
"They think it's cool," Lavato said.
Lubbock ISD superintendent Dr. Karen Garza says there have been two fights at Smylie Wilson Middle School since the school year began. She says no one was hurt, but they have now stationed teachers in the bathrooms to control the situation.
"We take fighting very seriously and every student has been appropriately disciplined. We will continue to do that. I don't believe there will be any circumstances in the girls restrooms," said Dr. Garza.
Dr. Linda Brice, the co-founder of Teen Straight Talk, a bully prevention program, says this kind of fighting is a type of bullying. She says, unfortunately, it's happening everywhere.
"This is not the only community. They've shown it on national TV in California and in other states," Brice said.
Brice says the groups are trending younger and younger.
"This is in the middle school. This is not even high school, and it's now starting down in the elementary school, too," Brice said.
She says the schools can do only so much to prevent this behavior. The real solution is for parents to talk to their children.
"Find out what's going on. Every day when they get home from school, how was your day? Who are your friends?," Brice said.
Once you get on their level, Brice says, that communication alone will build their self esteem - and that is the real key to protecting kids from peer pressure.
"It's so important for parents to be there and praise their kids. You look great, you're doing great, I am so proud of you," Brice said.
Lavato says even though her daughter chose to participate in the fight, it has taken an emotional toll on her, and she is no longer friends with those girls.
Lavato wants these fights to end for everyone's sake.