Schools see more fights between girls

Tuesday, October 7th 2008, 4:06 pm
By: News 9

By Lori Fullbright, for NEWS 9

TULSA, OK -- Fights between girls have skyrocketed at Tulsa Public Schools. Two teens are currently suspended and face criminal charges after allegedly attacking a police officer's daughter at Booker T. Washington High School last week.

There were 22 fights in the first month of school last year.  This year, in the first month of classes, there were 87.

TPS Police believe it's due to people placing videos of the fights on the Internet.

Last week, someone recorded the moments before the fight on a cell phone.  Police said two girls from another school got a friend to open a door at Booker T. Washington so they could sneak to the second floor and find their target.

"This is not just your typical two people are in conflict and fight.  This was a premeditated assault," TPS Police Chief Gary Ruddick said.

The recorded video shows someone in the crowd pushing one girl into another and the fight escalated from there.

Police said the fights are disturbing in that even when one person is down, the attack doesn't stop as the punching continues.

"It really bothers you to see these beautiful young women engaged in violence, acts that are vicious. It's disturbing and sad to these young people embracing this violent behavior so eagerly," Ruddick said.

Teachers and principals said the rage we see in society is reflected in our schools. The teens feel they must prove their toughness in school, to show they can survive on the streets.

The making and airing of the videos on the Internet seems to make them feel important, since they can be viewed from anywhere in the world.

Tulsa is looking at options other districts use to cut down on fighting, mainly taking the kids to court, where they face punishment of fines, community service and even jail time.

"Most school districts where they're issuing citations, booked to court for fighting, have seen a tremendous reduction in the number of fights that occur," Ruddick said.

Ruddick said that needs to be coupled with teaching parents and children that fighting isn't the way to solve problems and doesn't prove self worth.

The two girls who attacked the Booker T. Washington student could face criminal charges and will either receive long term suspensions of more than 10 days or be sent to Tulsa's alternative school called TAC.