Chicago principal says school fights are being fueled by social media

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A fight at a south side Chicago charter school is prompting a social media crackdown.

The fight erupted last Thursday in the cafeteria at Longwood Charter school when one freshman girl punched another. The ensuing melee involved 16 girls who were all arrested by Chicago Police.

“It was, it was crazy,” said freshman Michael Tate, who was in the cafeteria at the time

FOX 32 talked with several students about what things are really like at Longwood.

“Fights don't happen here every day, that was literally the first fight of the year, so when it happened it was just like, there, it happened, it's over with, let's move on,” said Longwood Senior Summer Hale.

The principal says the girls were involved in another off-school fight in November. But this most recent one one was fueled by angry words on Facebook.

“I don't even know if the kids call it cyber bullying, I would call it more so, trash talking, instigating, and they just go back and forth,” said Longwood Principal Kenyatta Starks.

The situation was made worse by all the students caught up in the excitement.

“So that's why everybody was thirsty to get their phones out and record, to get it on social media so they can make it seem like Longwood is one of the schools that you see around the city, one of the bad schools, which is defined as 'cool' nowadays, which it's not,” said Longwood senior Kameron Moore.

“I hate social media,” said Longwood parent April Farrar. “Social media is playing a negative role in our kids, fast way to get instant recognition.”

As a result of the fight, the school has a new cell phone policy.

"If you are blatantly being disrespectful on social media or cyber bullying or doing anything in appropriate and you bring a cell phone to this school, we will take your cell phone daily. You will have to sign a contract, you and your parent will sign a contract, your cell phone will be turned-in in the morning, given to a specific Dean and you will pick it back up at the end of the day. This is not an option," said principal Starks.

All the girls involved in the fight will have to adhere to the new policy.

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