Education: Fight scenes seen by many

2008-04-08 00:00

A CELLPHONE video of two Heather Secondary schoolgirls fighting outside their school has shocked the Pietermaritzburg community.

Pictures from the clip, which has been widely forwarded from phone to phone, were published in the Sunday Times Extra this week.

The Sunday Times reported that the grade nine girls were fighting about rumours one allegedly spread about the other by drawing on the walls of the girls’ bathroom.

Pupils who witnessed the fight about two weeks ago captured the scene with the camera function of a cellphone to pass on to their peers who had missed it.

The video shows the girls wrestling, pulling each other’s hair, pulling down pants, ripping uniforms, punching, kicking and trying to strangle one another.

The drama finally ended when boys in the crowd pulled the girls apart.

Parents are concerned about the effect the widely circulated video will have on the girls.

“This is really going to have a bad psychological effect on both these girls if everyone is talking about them at school,” said a concerned parent.

Psychologist Ishara Maharaj said that the graphic portrayal of two girls involved in an act of aggression not only serves to perpetuate the sensationalism involved in viewing such acts of violence, which is what may have motivated fellow pupils to take video footage, but also serves to degrade and further humiliate the girls.

“I ask then, where is the social conscience of the media when it neglects to protect our children from further harm and humiliation.

“Adolescents in their stage of turmoil and angst are having to deal with a constantly frustrating and confusing society where basic needs of love, safety and security are not being met consistently or not met at all,” she said.

Maharaj said potentially violent adolescents who tend to have fewer internal coping skills lash out at the world in order to feel a sense of control and power.

Biological, psychological and social factors contribute to why some people are unable to withstand insults, said Maharaj.

“To address adolescent violence and aggression, we need to acknowledge it as a societal issue that affects all of us. All role players need to become proactive in addressing the crisis that our youth are experiencing,” she said.

“Sensitive issues need to be discussed openly and honestly, and feelings need to be expressed in a safe and secure space of love and unconditional acceptance,” she added.

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