School 'Fight Club' video posted on web

MOBILE phone footage of school fights are being posted on the internet. Pupils at Hitchin Boys School have set up their own Fight Club and have so far posted three fights on YouTube. The videos show pupils, believed to be aged 15, throwing punches at eac

MOBILE phone footage of school fights are being posted on the internet.

Pupils at Hitchin Boys' School have set up their own Fight Club and have so far posted three fights on YouTube.

The videos show pupils, believed to be aged 15, throwing punches at each other while other youngsters shout and cheer in the background while recording the action on their phones.

Two of the fights, which are taking place within school hours and school grounds, show pupils fighting on the school's tennis courts while a third is indoors in a darkened room.

An introduction to one of the videos says that the club was set up to "make our lunchtimes a tad more exciting".

Although there is a disclaimer before the beginning of one fight which says "all fighters in this video volunteered to fight and are willing to do so", the videos raise the issue of mobile phone use in schools and how pupils are able to post such videos online.

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Hitchin Boys' is not the only school whose pupils are posting videos online.

Pupils from John Henry Newman School in Stevenage have posted videos, one of which includes a pupil crouching inside the top of a school bin while another pupil runs over and dropkicks him.

Speaking about the footage of his school pupils, Hitchin Boys' headteacher Keith Wadsworth said: "It looks really horrible and we will be looking into it because they could be bringing this school into disrepute.

"The trouble is once it's on the web you cannot control it and it's in the public domain."

Discussing mobile phones in schools, Mr Wadsworth said: "Once mobile phones got cameras on them it lurched us into a new issue of being able to grab images at any time.

"Some are really entertaining and genuine but there are negative ones as well... if a student is found with a mobile phone it's confiscated until the end of the day. If it's the same student several times, it's taken for longer."

Nobody was available to speak from John Henry Newman School.

The Comet spoke to two other schools in Comet country which do not allow the use of mobiles in school.

The headteacher of Fearnhill School in Letchworth GC, Jed Whelan, said his school's policy is that "we do not permit them and the pupils here adhere to the school policy".

"If for any important reason a child needs a phone the parent can request it but only in extenuating circumstances."

Thomas Alleyne School in Stevenage allows pupils to take phones into school, as long as they keep them turned off.

Headteacher Jonathan Block said: "They are not allowed to be switched on, but if they want to bring them in and keep them in the bottom of their bags that is OK just in case they need to use them to call home if they are staying late or they get into trouble."

There is at least one school in Comet country which uses mobile phones to its advantage.

Samuel Whitbread Community College in Clifton allows phones as long as they are used for educational purposes and pupils adhere to strict guidelines.

Assistant principal Ursula Byrne told The Comet: "I'm very much of the opinion that once these things are out you have to use them positively.

"We are an engineering college and we look at technology and how it can enhance learning. We are looking at podcasts and blogging, as well as using MP3 players for revision notes and mobile phones for use with our interactive white boards in terms of using them for answering questions in quizzes..

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