Caught on Tape: Teen Girls Fight at Philadelphia High School

Photo: Three teen girls have become YouTube stars for brawling with one another inside the halls of Edison High School in Philadelphia
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Three teen girls have become viral stars for brawling with one another in the halls of Edison High School in Philadelphia.

The fight happened Tuesday in one of the school's stairways, school officials said. Video shot by a student shows two girls attacking another on the floor. The two students kick and punch the girl repeatedly. No school security can be seen breaking up the fight. Other students can be seen gathering to watch the fight.

"The students involved have been suspended with the intent to expel, and at present, the mother of the young lady who was assaulted does intend to keep her at the school," said Shana Kemp, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia School District.

School officials said that the young girl attacked in the fight does not have any serious injuries. Philadelphia police are investigating the fight, the officials said. Edison High School serves more than 1,500 students.

The video is one of thousands posted on YouTube showing teen girls fighting. Psychologist Jim Garbarino studies teen violence and said that while teen boys are still more violent than teen girls, the gap is narrowing.

"In a number of ways, you can see the disparity in physically aggressive behavior between girls and boys narrowing," said Garbarino, author of "See Jane Hit: Why Girls Are Growing More Violent and What We Can Do About It." "All the barriers to girls' physical aggression have in many ways been removed."

Garbarino said that when boys and girls are born, they are equally agressive as infants and children, but societal attitudes typically suppress agression in girls as they get older. Images on television and in the movies have shifted, though, to show more aggression among female characters, he said, and that has affected girls' behavior.

Also, girls are encouraged more today to participate in activities like sports that encourage aggressive behavior, Garbarino said.

National crime statistics show that over the last ten years the number of arrests of females has risen by 11 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Teen arrests have gone down for both males and females over the last ten years, but there's been a sharper decline in male violence than female violence. Male violence decreased by 22 percent over the last 10 years. Female violence decreased by 13 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Video Posted on Web of Teens Fighting

Garbarino said that posting video of girls fighting on YouTube is another way to encourage and normalize aggression in girls.

"You look at one video and then it pulls up related ones. One video of girls fighting puts you in a stream of thousands...becoming sort of a self sustaining, self-escalating phenomenon," Garbarino said.

"Every [violent] visual image strengthens that impulse in kids...the craving for celebrity is so great, it doesn't really occur to them that there are consequences," he said.

The person who posted the video of the Philadelphia minors has not been identified and has removed their account from YouTube.

Sociologist Nikki Jones studies fighting among girls in tough inner cities like Philadelphia, and said that part of what appears to be an increase in aggression in young women is really the result of stronger enforcement by police and school officials.

"We are much more quick to arrest teen girls for fighting than we were 30 years ago," Jones, author of "Between Good and Ghetto: African American Girls and Inner-City Violence," said.

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