State News

School Attorney Orders YouTube to Remove Video of Students Fighting

Posted February 28, 2007 10:50 p.m. EST
Updated March 1, 2007 10:33 p.m. EST

— An attorney representing Lee County High School has contacted the Web site YouTube.com to order the removal of a video showing students fighting in a boys' bathroom at the school.

Fifteen Lee County High students, ages 14 to 17, were suspended and arrested Wednesday for taking part in the video. Police officials said many of the fights were staged and typically showed two students fighting while others cheered.

In one clip, a boy trips and hits his face on a wall-mounted hand dryer while his opponent continues to punch him from behind. In another video, the same student spits blood in a sink.

No one was seriously injured, but some students received minor injuries, according to Darla Cole, the school system's chief resource officer.

"There was no malicious intent involved," Cole said. "They weren't mad at each other. And if there had been a fight where somebody was mad, word would have got out."

Police began investigating when they learned about the fights last week. The postings were discovered after one student, claiming he had fallen in the bathroom, was treated for a cut to the head.

The fights, which occurred in the morning before school started, violated school rules that regulate aggressive behavior and the use of electronic equipment, according to Cole.

Principal Greg Batten said the students' motives are complicated.

"People are looking for fame and fortune, and sometimes people don't always look for it in the right way," he said.

While the action from inside the bathroom appears staged at times, the potential for escalating violence has the school on alert.

"Somebody could have gotten hurt seriously," Cole said. "That is why we have taken a hard line on it."

The students were charged with disorderly conduct on a school campus. The 11 underage teenagers will face their charges in Lee County's juvenile system, while the four older teens will make their first court appearance Monday.