Violence prevention expert weighs in on Discovery fight video
GRANGER, Ind.---School violence prevention experts and community members are weighing in on the charges that two Discovery Middle School students are facing in the alleged assault of a classmate. St. Joseph County Prosecutor, Ken Cotter says that person hitting the other student as well as the student who took video of the incident would have faced felony battery charges if they had been tried as an adult.
Ellen Kyes is the program director for Take Ten, an organization that focuses on conflict resolution and violence prevention in schools. She says Thursday's charges could cause students to rethink the way they conduct themselves in situations of bullying or violence.
”If you’re recording somebody being beaten up, and you’re not intervening to stop it, it certainly looks like you’re on the side of the bully,” said Kyes. “You have an ability, if you are present, to do something about it.”
Kyes says these types of acts are not necessarily happening more frequently, but are being highlighted because of video and social media.
“Back in the day, if you weren’t there when something was happening, the worst you could do is hear somebody’s story about it. Now you see it and you see it happening in close to real time,” said Kyes.
In a letter on Thursday, the Discovery Middle school principal informed parents of the press conference to announce the charges the two students are now facing. The letter also encouraged parents to have a conversation with their children about notifying an adult as soon as they become aware of an incident that “threatens the safety of our school and other students.”
Kyes says that while the root of these incidents is unclear, prevention comes from making students believe they belong to a community.
“If you don’t take time to build that community, you don’t then have the types of relationships that you need in order to get kids to help each other out,” said Kyes.