Sunday, April 20, 2008

Girl Violence: YouTube Fad?

Another display of girl-on-girl violence has surfaced on YouTube (thanks to the reader who emailed the story):

Administrators of the Raymondville school system said they will review the district's cell phone policy after a report of an assault on a middle school student that was recorded with a cell phone and then displayed on YouTube.

It was at least the second time this year students from the school district uploaded violent videos to YouTube, said school board president John Solis. Early this year, a Raymondville High School student used a video to solicit someone to beat another student.

The father of a 13-year-old girl whose recent video-recorded beating was uploaded to the video-sharing Web site said he may press assault charges against the other students he blames for injuring his daughter.

Regino Garcia said Friday he is dissatisfied with the response of school administrators who he believes did not adequately punish those involved in the beating.

Garcia said one Myra Green Middle School student beat his daughter Sara on March 11 while another girl used a cell phone to record the incident, which left Sara with a slight concussion.

A third girl urged the girl striking Sara to "hit her face" during the attack, he said.

So these girls beat up another girl in a middle school hallway and here is the typical response from an administrator:

Solis, the school board president, said officials will have a workshop to discuss policy on student cell phone use.

"We're going to see if we need a stricter cell phone policy or not allow them anymore," he said. "That's what they're doing -videotaping on cell phones.

"It's a new wave. It's happening in other school districts here in the (Rio Grande) Valley. Our school district is not immune."

How many kids are being beaten up in the hallway that never reach YouTube? Wouldn't a better idea be to have a workshop on how to keep an eye out for bullying kids in the hallway? Or perhaps have the groups of girls who are bullies go to a group to learn anger management and be taught to understand why they are hitting other girls in the face? (Hint, girls love to disfigure other girls out of jealousy for being good looking--address that and you might get somewhere).

I have worked with a number of schools in the course of my career and I can tell you one thing I learned. They often punish victims and allow bullies to flourish and insist they have few problems. While I can understand wanting to review cellphone policy, blaming YouTube and cellphones for allowing violence to go unchecked in your school is externalizing the problem so you can stick your head in the sand. It is no solution to violence.

If you would like to read more about school related violence and the differences in girl and boy motivations for anger etc. take a look at my article (with Sandra Thomas) here entitled "School Connectedness, Anger Behaviors, and Relationships of Violent and Nonviolent American Youth" or if you want a good book on the topic, try Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, at my school, if a couple of kids beat up another kid, they just called it a "fight" and suspended everybody. Didn't even bother to find out who was the instigator.

11:20 AM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

In modern America, it's kind of taboo to blame women for anything (unless they are conservative commentators or talk show hosts).

12:36 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

How about make cell phones with video mandatory for all students and give rewards to students who tape the assault and turn it in to the teachers. Then charge the aggressor with assault.


1:59 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

When one of these victims brings a gun to school and shoots the principal and the other girls that made her life a living hell, we'll blame it on the gun.

3:24 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger Joe said...

Now, if one of the aggressor girls would just bring a butter knife to school, we could do punish her.

3:27 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger DoubleTapper said...

The trend on YouTube is towards violence in general. Fighting is one of the most popular YouTube teen search words.

DoubleTapper, blogging on Guns Politics Defense from Israel

4:02 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


I like that idea. Most of the time, the teachers say they "never saw anything" when kids tell them that they are being bullied, this way, at least there would be some evidence, although it might not always be clear who started what in video either.

4:23 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

People seem to have a very hard time accepting that girls can be violent. One of my 15 year old son's friends was recently attacked by his "girlfriend" at the local YMCA after school. My son said the girl had done this before. When the guy pushed her away then someone saw it and accused him of attacking her.

There were plenty of witnesses to the contrary. The girl's parents are threatening the boy with a protective order though. They need to teach her to control herself. But, as we know, the girl is always the victim.

6:11 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

[echo_chamber] People of Good Will [/echo_chamber] will always attack the victim and rush to soothe the perpetrator. It happens in the grade-school hallways, and it happens in the Nobel Prizes. (Yasser Arafat for Peace, anyone?)

People of Good Will want to believe the best of everyone. Not everyone is nice, but the POGW have lots of practice ignoring that.

But when somebody shows up bleeding and bruised, that is something that cannot easily be ignored. It must, instead, be scourged out from the community. Seen it happen many a time. Had it happen to me.

Boy, girl, it doesn't matter. Look who the Person of Good Will is comforting, and you'll have found the villain.

7:52 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger JohnAnnArbor said...

When I was a teacher, I would have loved to have a camera running at all times as evidence to show the parents of various little darlings in my classroom. As surveillance technology gets less expensive and more ubiquitous, one wonders how having recorded camera coverage basically everywhere will change the environment in schools.

8:54 PM, April 20, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting idea. I wonder if installing surveillance cameras in school rooms would improve students' behavior. Probably not practical, though - we'd have privacy and free speech advocates up in arms, possibly with good reason. I think we're heading in that direction, though.

9:39 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Don't we have the surveillance cameras on school buses already?

10:00 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I really like reading Dr. Helen's voice. She writes exceptionally well.

But you know what?

That woman is just frankly gorgeous and sometimes her beauty gets in the way of her intellect.

So, Helen -- stop being so pretty, OK?

Try to be a little more of a tomboy.

It will increase your writerly credibility.

Of course, you are too smart to take my advice.

10:37 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Dr. H. for the citation of Rachel Simmon's book ODD GIRL OUT --

I have been promoting it since it was published, because it reveals the actual tactics that girls use aggressively (first against each other) and then later in life against men.

There is a real need to explore female modes of aggression right now, not the least because the female arrest rates are going up.

It is time for Chivalry to end.

No more illusions about the "fairer sex."

I believe you might agree?

11:01 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger Marbel said...

As surveillance technology gets less expensive and more ubiquitous, one wonders how having recorded camera coverage basically everywhere will change the environment in schools.

When I was in school, many of the frequent girl fights happened in the bathroom. That was also where much of the general girl-to-girl harassment occurred. We won't be seeing cameras there anytime soon.

But I acquired an important skill in high school - bladder control. The girls' bathroom was a dangerous place back in the '70s.

11:10 PM, April 20, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Helen wrote: "although it might not always be clear who started what in video either."

Yeah, I can't figure my way around that. It would tell you who was the most aggressive though. And when violence is necessary, I think the person who gets violence expects to face some trouble for it, even if it was completely justified.

Interest tradeoffs in a difficult situation. I like student controlled video better than teacher controlled video though.


12:31 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

It would tell you who was the most aggressive though.

Only who was most aggressive during the filming....

12:46 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Ken said...

After fifty years of promoting self esteem at the expense of self respect our schools are very nearly useless. Powerful teachers' unions make sure that no teacher is held responsible for anything. Administrators care about nothing but money and like vultures, certain lawyers wait to sue anyone who would rock the boat.

We have failed our children.

3:04 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

First, a bit about video.

The first employer of mine who installed video cameras did so back in the year 2000. Since then every move I have made AND every word I have spoken and every keystroke I have made has been recorded in every office environment I have been since then. I've gotten used to it. Also, my city has become mesmerized by video. Every street that I walk I am now videoed. I've gotten used to it. If I want a video-free life I can sit inside my home with the shades drawn (yes, there is a camera pointed at my house people). I don't like the idea of being recorded but the cameras do deter criminal acts against my property and my person. The schools should not be immune from video.

What would be even better would me to arm every student with a video camera. Wait, we have. They are called cell phones. Kids have a habit of behaving badly and then lying about it. In these situations it is good to have a little video to determine what happened.

The increase in violence among girls is probably a byproduct of the schools and parents instilling more confidence among females. The increased personal confidence is a good thing, but parents and educators might also consider teaching the girls the same boundaries if they use physical aggressive violence that the boys learn.

Our culture is busy teaching girls to stand up for themselves but we are still very definitely stuck in the sugar, spice, everything nice mode from yesteryear. Girls are tough and assertive, so we need to deal with them as tough and assertive. This means detentions, suspensions, expulsions and legal recourse if necessary. Parents need to recognize their girls are behaving badly and take necessary action.

YouTube isn't the problem, it is merely the conduit of bad news.

7:44 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Jack, you are of course correct. Good point.


9:53 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Girls also instigate fights between boys. A couple of months ago, my son and his girlfriend broke up and it involved the usual name calling. She decided to get someone to beat up my son.

Fortunately, this was a difficult task for her as my son, although a freshman, is on of the biggest strongest kids in the school. The only ones stronger are teammates of his on the football team.

After two weeks she finally convinced someone who was short, chubby and "crazy" to fight my son. When confronted in the hallway, my son told the guy he didn't want to fight, pushed the guy out of the way and went into the football coach's classroom.

My son, the other guy and the ex-girlfriend ended up in the office. My son handled the entire situation so well the principal and others actually complemented him to us (his parents). The school has cameras in all the hallways and they did review the tapes of the incident.

My biggest disappointment was that earlier in the day my son had told the guidance counselor that he had heard that this guy was going to try to fight him. The guidance counselor did nothing to prevent it.

10:51 AM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Mike said...


You might want to start instead with teaching the girls that if they pick fights with the boys, that they deserve every knock they get. That will, of course, never be accepted by feminists or the morons who still cling desperately to their outmoded and rotting chivalric codes.

4:06 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Cham said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:58 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've seen news on this attack/record/publish business, in the UK. "Happy Slapping." By removing the recording device, the administration is removing the worldwide audience and the fame the attacker craves. It might curtail some of the violence. Certainly the violence itself must be addressed directly, as well.

8:05 PM, April 21, 2008  
Blogger Robert said...

I'm from Harlingen, Texas, which is right smack in the Rio Grande Valley (Raymondville is just a few minutes north of us). This is exactly how school administrators down here deal with problems is to sweep them under the rug. I went to Harlingen High School South which, while a nice looking school, had a massive drug problem. Kids dealt drugs fairly openly in the hall all the time. Nothing was ever done. (Though at the time I had no complaints as I hung around the stoners.) In my freshman year I was bullied by some wetback kids and when I went to one of the vice-principals his response was, "well, get their names and I'll see what I can do." Yeah, way to take charge there, buddy. So this is a fairly typical response by school administrators down here. Students beat the ever lovin sh*t out of each other? Yeah, we'll keep it from getting out. That way they can turn their attention to failing their charges in other areas.

3:36 AM, April 22, 2008  
Blogger ElvenPhoenix said...

Wow. Our experience when my daughter was "roughed up" by some girls at school was totally different.

She didn't want to tell me what happened - that didn't fly. When I got it out of her I called her father (my ex with anger management issues), let him know what was going on, then hiked up to the school to confront the administrators. In the meantime her father was on the phone - in typical fashion - yelling at the administrators for allowing it to happen.

Within two days the attackers were sent temporarily to the alternative school, the other girls who witnessed/encouraged the attackers were in after school detention and watching videos on bullying. And getting an earful from their parents about how it's NOT COOL.

That was two years ago and there's never been any other problem. It is the stated policy of the school district to deal harshly with bullies in order to ensure a healthy learning environment.

Oh, and we live in a suburb of Dallas.

1:03 PM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...


Glad your daughter attends a decent school, not all kids are so lucky. As for her father, good for him, he at least is using his anger (which sounds justified in this case) to help his daughter.

4:46 PM, April 23, 2008  
Blogger Words Twice said...

"...the cameras do deter criminal acts against my property and my person."

Ubiquitous video surveillance in the UK has deterred very little actual crime.

“Massive investment in CCTV cameras to prevent crime in the UK has failed to have a significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new technology, a senior police officer piloting a new database has warned. Only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images, despite the fact that Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe.”
( Tuesday, May 6, 2008)

Like 9-1-1, cameras alone do a poor job of preventing crime, they merely help the investigative process, and not very well.

If bullying seems as if it has become rampant, perhaps the educational community’s efforts to discourage legitimate self defense might have something to do with it.

If you really want to improve the bullying situation in schools, the first thing that should be done is eliminating any idiotic zero tolerance policies regarding self defense. The ideology of most school administrators and teachers dictates that they are unable and/or unwilling to distinguish between battery versus the use of violence in self defense. They prefer that people submit to violent predators. Justifiable self defense is punishable just as harshly as actual criminal behavior.

That these kids and other criminals videotape their own crimes and then broadcast them to the world for entertainment purposes should be evidence enough that more often than not, surveillance cameras have little deterrent effect on violent crime. Violent bullies are not overly concerned about having their actions recorded, nor are they particularly concerned about witnesses. In fact, in the case of YouTube bullies, having witnesses to their attack is actually the whole point, to boost their credibility and status among their peers.

Clearly, preventing crime is not going to be accomplished by video cameras. But like so many things, cameras will inevitably be turned towards a different purpose: surveilling ordinary people for signs of subversive activity. What that activity might be will vary depending on the whims of whoever happens to be in power. All without a warrant.

What kind of lesson would be taught in a school that tells you that you should accustom yourself to constant surveillance and submit meekly to criminal violence? Who benefits from that arrangement, besides the state? Installing camera systems in schools is not conducive to improving the dismal state of civil liberties in our country. It cultivates a subservient mindset and acclimatizes children to the concept of a total surveillance state.

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