SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Two girls circle each other, their fists clenched, as a crowd gathers. The teenagers keep their eyes trained on one another — each waiting for the other to make the first move.
Soon, fists fly. Hair is pulled. Knees are thrust.
All the while, their peers from Paso Robles High School watch and wait. The fight ends minutes later but will be the talk of the high school campus for weeks, if not months. An amateur video, shot with a cell phone, guarantees the fight a long life on YouTube and fuels more discussion on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.
It’s not the first time that videos of students’ fights have hit the Internet.
The growing predominance of such videos online provides a glimpse into the savvy and growing multimedia youth culture. The number of youths using such sites continues to grow — challenging school officials with the task of navigating the new terrain and protecting students from intentional intimidation.
While school district policies regarding schoolyard fights have long been in place, the growing use of the Internet as a tool to perpetuate student disputes is forcing them to quickly redefine local and state policies.
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