The Faces Behind School Fights

Marisol Orlina, Editor

High school students are gullible.
Two weeks ago, during the passing period between sixth and seventh period, along the balcony hallway beside the science classrooms, students gathered to watch a scene supposedly happening on the floor below.

News flash. There was nothing there. But the group continued to draw new onlookers because students had just assumed a fight was occurring.

More realistically, one person had probably heard yelling or saw a cluster of students forming below and went to look from the railing. Others passing by most likely noticed and decided to join. This cycled repeated, resulting in numerous high schoolers deeply invested in, quite literally, nothing.

How could a fight be so exciting it tricks students into wasting their seven minutes to get to class? The psychology of in-school fights affects not only the perpetrators, but everyone around.

It’s not strange to be going through Snapchat and seeing stories featuring students with their cameras out flocking to what appears to be an uncoordinated scramble of hands and hair. Typically, a fight is meant to demonstrate danger or something you’d rather avoid. High schoolers don’t.

According to a study applied by the National Center for Educational Statistics, as of 2019, an average of 8% of a high student body has been involved in an at-school physical altercation.

The way this data appears within school is sparce, and majority students strongly refute the idea of ever instigating or participating in a school fight.

This doesn’t mean fights are disregarded or disliked, however.

Fans of the UFC might not want to be involved in the sport themselves, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable.

People crowded along the balcony to watch, not out of concern, but for entertainment. Professional fighting leagues have grown in popularity, which is an obvious factor in the fascination of school fights. Additionally, media can take on tones of violence, whilst still being admired. In a journal published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a girl involved in the study said “I want to be like [a certain musician], this guy been in jail two times and they happy.”

Especially with extensive access to the internet, it’s no doubt social media has a play in what violence can be entertaining. However, here’s my fourth wall break.

I am a high schooler; I know other high schoolers. I, myself, went to look down from the balcony. From what I’ve recognized in my own understandings as well as my peers, high school fights are often insignificant. Rather than supplying a long-lasting source of interest, they’re a quick burst of drama requiring zero in-depth investment.

Seven periods, five passing periods, the day gets boring. With very little at stake in minor school fights, can be a source of distraction, or a way spice up the day.

Although there is never justification for the altercations, there is reasoning behind their
popularity amongst non-fighters. And eventually the blame circles back to the naiveté and
gullibility of young adults.

Psychology Benefits Society 
National Center for Education Statistics
National Center for Biotechnology Information