Twisted Bullies' Web of Violence
By PHILIP RECCHIA
Lehman HS fight
November 26, 2006 -- The brutal handiwork of schoolyard bullies is becoming a popular form of online entertainment among Big Apple kids.
Not-so-amateur videos posted on Internet sites like YouTube.com show teenage students being beaten down while their classmates look on with more amusement than concern.
This disturbing phenomenon, known as "cyberbashing," began in Great Britain around 2003, and has only migrated to the U.S. in the past year, where it's spreading like wildfire, says Parry Aftab, executive director of Internet watchdog group WiredSafety.org.
In one locally produced video, a mob of pupils from Lehman High School in The Bronx punches and kicks a freshman of Middle Eastern descent as he emerges from the Tremont East diner across the street.
They then shove him against a brick wall while he cowers from their blows. At least two other students, meanwhile, scramble to capture the twisted action on cellphone cameras.
The final, edited product, which runs nearly three minutes, comes complete with a hip-hop soundtrack and opening title - "Mamood Had a Bad Day!"
A similar video shows one male student from Brooklyn Technical High School taunting another, significantly shorter boy into a bare-knuckles brawl. Then, as about 20 classmates look on, the bully knocks his "opponent" down before punching and kicking him repeatedly in the head.
That shocking spectacle, which was shot directly across the street in Fort Greene Park, has generated nearly 1,000 viewings.
"The plain old schoolyard fight isn't enough for these bullies and their cohorts anymore," said Aftab. "They're looking for attention online, and to get it, their fight videos have to be more violent than the hundreds of others being posted each day around the world."
In the New York City metro area alone, The Post found a dozen more school beatings posted online.
"Many of these videos are staged events, like mini reality shows," said Stephen Daley, founder of radKIDS, which teaches physical resistance to bullying. "Since they remain online for everyone to see, the chances of even more violent retaliation become infinitely greater."
Debra Shaw, director of the newly opened New York State Chapter of BullyPolice.org, which seeks to prevent bullying through parental monitoring and legislation, says cyber-bashing is no mere case of boys being boys.
"What we're seeing are often criminal assaults," she told The Post. "If a parent beat his own kid the way these kids are beating their classmates, that parent would be arrested and the child taken by authorities."