NEWARK, Ohio (WCMH) — A “fight club” Facebook group shows dozens of videos of children, mostly teens, fighting each other.
Newark Police say they want some of those teens and their parents to come forward now and report these acts of violence.
“If we’re not getting victims to come forward it’s difficult to determine that a crime was actually committed,” shared Sergeant Bert Gliatta, a Public Information Officer for the Newark Police Department.
Police have been studying the graphic video and images that have been posted on this Facebook page for the last year and a half.
NBC 4 has blurred the images to shield the identity of the minors involved.
The group, which only allows people who are invited in to watch and post videos, steadily grew to more than 1,100 members at one point. Now, after a backlash, it has dropped to about 960 members.
The backlash started after a fight that happened at the end of August was posted and an upset parent spoke out.
That parent says they demanded that Facebook shut down the page due to a “credible threat of violence.”
According to that parent, Facebook’s response was this “…it doesn’t violate our community standards.”
“Everyone has rights and there’s protection for everybody,” Gliatta said.
Newark Police Officers say the point where those rights end is determined in part by three factors:
1) The extent of injuries
2) If weapons were used
3) The location of the offense
“As a police agency we’re concerned that crimes are actually being committed,” Gliatta said.
They just need more people to speak up about what’s happening in the fight club.
The parent who initiated the complaint against the page says it features mostly middle school students.
NBC4 reached out to the school district about group and alleged attacks on students and they released this statement:
It is disheartening that anybody would take a video of a fight and post it online, whether it is a student or adult. As a district, we are able to address these incidents individually, based on a variety of factors. Incidents like this also help shine a spotlight on the issue, and can help parents and community members become more aware of what others are sharing online.
We talk with students about online safety annually, covering the following topics: safety and security when using email and social media; the dangers of posting personally identifiable information online; and the consequences of cyberbullying and other unlawful or inappropriate activities.
Our district acceptable use policy can be found at the following site: www.neola.com/newarkcity-oh by searching for policy number 7540.03. The section mentioned above:
Pursuant to Federal law, students shall receive education about the following:
safety and security while using e-mail, chat rooms, social media, and other forms of direct electronic communications
the dangers inherent with the online disclosure of personally identifiable information
the consequences of unauthorized access (e.g., “hacking”) “harvesting”, “digital piracy”, etc.), cyberbullying and other unlawful or inappropriate activities by students via any form of electronic communication , and
unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors
Staff members shall provide instruction for their students regarding the appropriate use of technology and online safety and security as specified above. Furthermore, staff members will monitor the online activities of students while at school.
Monitoring may include, but is not necessarily limited to, visual observations of online activities during class sessions; or use of specific monitoring tools to review browser history and network, server, and computer logs.