Five High School students on Long Island have been suspended for watching a schoolyard fight between two boys and not doing anything to stop it. The vicious brawl at the Half Hollow Hills High School East in Dix Hills ended up on YouTube (it's since been removed), and the teens who taped it and cheered the fighters on each received suspensions lasting... one day (today). So they essentially got a long weekend out of it. And yet one student at the school thinks even that slap on the wrist is unfair. Free the Half Hollow Five!
"People shouldn't get suspended for something they didn't do," one student tells WPIX. "They're just standing there." An excellent philosophy! Truly, Half Hollow Hills is turning out America's next generation of civic-minded community leaders, the kind who will walk by a homeless person dying of stab wounds, or look on passively as President Palin's jackbooted thugs round up all the snarky liberal bloggers and send them to Real America Reeducation Camps.
To be fair, that student is probably just another dumb desensitized teen who doesn't represent the student body at Half Hollow Hills High School East, which, despite its maddeningly long name, is supposedly a pretty good school, according to one Gothamist intern who grew up in the area. One of the school's sophomores, for example, thinks it's good that administrators sent a message, telling WPIX, "Just because people think it's entertainment, so they post it, you know, without thinking. Now it's like, 'Wow, I could get suspended for that.' "
School officials tracked down the students using surveillance cameras, and the school's spokesman tells Newsday (paywall) that "sensationalizing violence like this is inappropriate and students need to understand that." In fact, every student is required to sign a code of conduct at the start of the school year requiring them to report any inappropriate behavior, particularly fighting. The Wall Street Journal reports that the two students involved in the fight got five-day suspensions, and Superintendent Karnilow tells Newsday, "We feel strongly that anyone witnessing an event that could potentially harm another needs to report that event. We feel that those who do not take action to protect others share some culpability for the occurrence and therefore need to be held accountable."