Dealing With Bullying And New Technology

Monday, June 1st 2009, 9:28 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK - The News On 6 on Thursday reported on a fight in the Hilldale High School Baseball locker room.  Parents of the students involved say bullying is what started the fight.  But, only two students were punished.  Bullying is an old and widespread problem that has now evolved with technology.

Cell phone cameras and social networking sites have upped the ante and the definition of bullying has evolved.

"It has all bullying characteristics to it and again where it started.  We can do the blame game all day long but, I mean, this is a frightening situation," said Michael Brose with the Mental Health Association.

05/28/2009  Related Story: Locker Room Fight Upsets Muskogee Parents

The actual bully or bullies in this video could be subjective. The cell phone camera was recording before the fight began showing that the fight may have been pre-meditated. Are the bystanders also bullies for encouraging the fight? 

"I sit here and watch this video and see my son get hit in the head like that after what I been through with him.  Yeah, I was pretty upset," said father Donnie Yarbrough.

The two boys actually fighting were suspended. But the others were not punished. All schools have anti-bullying policies in place. But, the way the policies are enforced varies from school to school. Brose says it's the schools' and the parents' responsibility to tell kids bullying will not be tolerated in any form.

"Parents get caught up in somehow my child's right," said Michael Brose with the Mental Health Association.  "Certainly there needs to be accountability established."

Accountability that may be hard for schools to come by when fighting and bullying is sensationalized with technology and on the web.

After airing the video, The News On 6 received several e-mails from people who say they have seen similar bullying and fighting situations.  The News On 6 contacted several school districts.

Jenks Public Schools responded saying they don't have a school policy that specifically prohibits videotaping fights:  "What we do have is a very broad Student Behavior Policy that lists a number of behaviors considered unacceptable and punishable."

The Jenks district contends that recording a fight could fall under that category.