Some stories I cover are harder to shake than others. This week, I did a couple of stories on the skyrocketing number of girl fights happening at Tulsa Public Schools. I've thought about it every single night.
People we talk to say the girls are more vicious than boys, less likely to stop when approached by authority figures and less likely to "let it go" after the fight is over and punishment has been given.
They are quick to fight over such minor offenses; like someone talking about them, looking at them wrong, hearing a rumor, or over a boy.
What makes this worse is other kids (usually boys) are videotaping these fights with cell phones and posting them online. We searched the internet and couldn't believe the videos of girls fighting. They no longer pull hair and scream. They hit each other with closed fists. And, they no longer stop or walk away when the victim is down. They keep hitting and punching, long after the victim can no longer fight back.
What the heck is this about? Everyone tells us kids are so angry these days. Why? They don't have a job, they haven't been laid off from that job, their health isn't ruined, they don't have a family to support. In fact, they are living better than their parents. I don't get why they're so mad and I don't understand when these girls began defining themselves through fighting, bruises and black eyes.
My mother talked a lot about class when I was growing up. She said having class, acting with class was something you could do, regardless of what income you have (she was a single mother raising four children), what education you have, what your family name is. Class is about having dignity and knowing your self worth and being able to walk with your head held up because of the choices you are making.
It seems to me making the right choice is often harder than making the wrong ones. Doing what's wrong is easy. It's hard to walk away from a fight, it's hard to ignore rumors or jibes. It's hard to be the better person, but, it is the classy and right thing to do.
Is anyone teaching these this? Do they not understand how class-less they look rolling around on the ground, screaming and fighting in these videos than can be seen by anyone and everyone around the world? Do they not realize they don't look cool, but, look utterly ridiculous? I heard from many teachers and principals that parents are often egging children on with comments like, "Don't you let them talk to you that way." "You better handle that person."
This attitude is not going to help these young women as they go out into the workplace, where they will need to learn to solve conflicts without using their hands and feet. This attitude will not help them as they become mothers of our next generation.
It takes a lifetime to create a good reputation and only one day to lose it. A good reputation is not that you're not to be messed with or that you'll throw the first punch. A good reputation is you study hard and are a good friend and know how to forgive and can talk about differences, ignore ignorance and ask for help when needed.
I don't understand what's causing all the fighting or how to stop it, although I believe the answer certainly begins at home.