OAK CREEK, Wis. – A Facebook page devoted to posting videos of fights at Wisconsin’s Oak Creek High School is disturbing parents and prompting school officials to speak out about the issue.
“It’s very disturbing to see that’s what’s going on in the community,” an unidentified parent told Fox 6.
“I think it’s good to expose the truth of what’s going on in the community so we can express our concerns,” another parent, Julie Richter, told the news site.
Nearly 300 Facebook users “liked” the page “OAK CREEK Fights” (now deleted) and hundreds more followed the page where students at the school have posted numerous fights, both on and off campus.
In one video, posted less than a day ago, a student backed his classmate up against a locker before decking him with a right hook.
In another posted April 10, two students scuffle in the yard outside of school, repeatedly slamming each other to the ground and pummeling each other in the face as other students record the incident and chime in with advice.
Three other videos appeared to show fights in the school’s bathrooms, while another shows a violent brawl in the hallway as dozens of students record and watch the melee.
Still others appear to have occurred off school grounds, at local parks and residences.
“You kids are pathetic. This is how you get attention? This is how you become popular?” Leah Tabora posted in the comments of one video. “I hate to see what happens when you enter the real world. You kids are pitiful.”
Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District Superintendent Tim Culver addressed the controversy after someone called in to the district to alert officials, the Oak Creek Patch reports.
Culver contends that all of the videos posted to the page that occurred at school have already been thoroughly investigated and students have faced consequences. Regardless, he said district officials have contacted Facebook about the page but the company refused to remove the footage, though the page went offline early Wednesday afternoon.
“Sadly, someone is using Facebook to promote criminal activity among school age children and Facebook has denied our multiple requests to have the page taken down. A number of teenagers made and posted videos reporting a handful of fights that occurred over the last 18 months, some occurring on school property,” Culver wrote in a prepared statement.
Culver described the videos as “disturbing” but wrote that “90-95% of our students always do what’s right and earn great honors in may endeavors from the courts to the stage.”
“This came to our attention last week due to a thoughtful person calling us,” he wrote. “Since then we have viewed the videos and documented that in every case occurring on school grounds where we could identify the students, the participants have already been suspended or expelled and additionally referred to police for legal consequences.
“Fighting in Oak Creek-Franklin schools is prohibited and will always result in, at a minimum, suspension or at a maximum expulsion, and referral to our School Resource Officer.”
Culver also defended the school’s discipline policy and told Fox 6 he believes the number of fights during the current school year is less than previous years.
Ironically, “while Fox 6 News was at the school covering this story, a fight broke out in the student parking lot across the street from the school, and our crew called police,” the news site reports.
In his public letter, Culver encouraged the community to contact school officials if they witness a student fight, and invited parents to visit the school before jumping to conclusions about the situation.
“You will be amazed given that there are 2,100 teenagers, in a space way too small, how polite and well behaved the public spaces are,” he wrote. “This is what makes it exceptionally sad for me to think that people seeing the criminal, even felonious videos might gain a different perception.”
Aside from the fights, the OAK CREEK Fights page also pokes fun at the school’s associate principal, 42-year-old Kimberly Leannais, who was charged last month with her third operating while intoxicated offense.
One meme on the page shows a cartoon with Leannais’ face and a Budweiser bottle in hand walking a line while police oversee the field sobriety test.
“Oh f**k not this again,” the caption read.
Culver said district officials will continue to investigate those posting the fight videos while leaning on Facebook to remove the page.
“We will continue to try to identify who is posting these wrongful images hurting and/or embarrassing many people who thought their ordeal or consequence was over in the past. We will continue to reach out to Facebook to see if they will stop the glorification of violence and crime by youth,” he wrote.
It’s unclear whether it was Facebook that removed the page or those who who created it.
It now reads: “The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.”