Abington Senior High School, located in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County, is in the midst of a week-long event christened “Fight Week” by the students.
Over the past few days, the high school has become a more dangerous place, with at least five intense fistfights breaking out in the halls and being broadcast on the internet in the few days since Fight Week began.
The fights are not just for show, either; the high school students are genuinely trying to hurt each other, it appears, with some of the videos onlookers have taken of the fights showing students kicking each other in the head or putting each other in choke-holds.
“One of the videos showed a student punching another student to the floor, before kicking him and then grabbing, lifting him up and throwing him backward to the floor again. At that point, a school resource officer can be seen rushing to the scene and tackling the fighting student to the ground,” reports the Philly Voice.
“In one case, a young man was out of control and punched our School Resource Officer,” said Amy F. Sichel, the high school’s superintendent, in a letter sent out yesterday.
Sichel also said that some of the high school’s students have even been arrested, although no weapons of any kind have been used.
“It’s all over social media. That’s where I’ve seen most of it. I think it’s just ridiculous, everyone is fighting for just no reason.”
In the letter she sent out, the high school superintendent agrees with Matt by blaming social media for the virality and resulting popularity of Fight Week.
“Unfortunately the use of social media blows these situations out of proportion and sensationalizes the matters, which only adds to the issues.”
And therein lies the scariest part about Abington High School’s Fight Week: the dangerous nature of the fights is not as disturbing, some students agree, as the fact that their classmates seem to want to make Fight Week a well-known, well-publicized event.
The fights at the high school have been filmed and chronicled on social media sites, where the posters attempt to thrust the videos into the public spotlight by accompanying them with the hashtag “#AbingtonFightWeek.” An AbingtonFightWeek Instagram page was even created to host the videos, although it has since been taken down by law enforcement.
John Spiegelman, an Abington Town Official, noted the threat social media use among high school students can pose in an interview with the press yesterday.
“This is the downside to social media. It can bring people together. It can encourage people to help one another when they’re down. But at the same time it can be used to tap into the basis of the reptilian instincts and just gin up fear and panic.”
And the high school is indeed taking measures to bring fight week to a halt and to protect its students — local social media interactions are now being monitored strictly by police and parents have been assured there is now a much stronger security presence on campus.
But, some may argue, the damage has already been done. The news of Fight Week is out. Only time will tell whether the grisly tradition catches on or inspires similar events at high schools elsewhere in the country.