School officials blame Facebook for fights

December 23, 2009 2:56:21 PM PST
Facebook is supposed to be a friendly pace - you even invite people in by "friending" them. But students in Scotch Plains are busy texting each other about the Facebook fights that broke out last week at the city's Fanwood High School.

Two violent fights broke out last week, all because girls trashing each other online.

"The second fight was related to Facebook. They are talking smack to each other," senior Chris Reade said.

Two teenaged girls were suspended over one fight while four others were suspended after another even more vicious brawl. It was sparked by something that they read on Facebook that they did not like.

"Started name calling in cafeteria, like three or four other girls came down. One had a bloody ring and said something about a nose ring ripped out and scratches in her chest," Rob Ayala explained.

School Principal Dr. David Heisey says teachers quickly stopped both fights. He says it doesn't matter where student's bully or taunt each other, the school department will make every effort to stop it.

"Whether making inappropriate remarks face-to-face or online, we don't condone it," Neisey said.

But there's little that schools can do to stop free speech once the students leave class. Some students are embarrassed that a site meant for friends sparked two fights "Over the break, it will calm down. Everyone's ready to fight now," one student said.

"I think parents should monitor. I'm friends with my dad on Facebook. He sees whatever I say," said another.

The high school is planning parent-teacher meetings after the winter break to explain how dangerous trash talk can be online, especially when a lot of people are watching and listening.