The Online Hoofbeat
Bystanders promote violence by being passive when conflict arises: CommentaryFriday, January 26, 2007 By Yev Chinikaylo Staff Writer
Cries of “Fight, fight!” echo across the cafeteria and people sprint down the halls to get to the center of attention. A crowd quickly gathers to enjoy the break in school monotony. The crowds of students standing there and watching the conflict are actually egging the fighters on, whether they mean to or not. Just providing an audience is enough to make the people involved fight even if that were not their intention at first. Providing the audience is the same as actively helping the fight and is, therefore, also wrong. Of about 20 Owen students questioned, all said that if there was a fight, they would stand and watch. Their main reason was pure entertainment. Entertainment at others’ expense. These people also said that they would not try to stop the fight because they feared personal injury in the process or retaliation from one or both of the fighters. Is this what should be happening to keep the school safe? No, in fact the exact opposite should be taking place. People should not stand and watch a spectacle that could eventually lead to someone getting seriously hurt if no one intervenes. This is just promoting violence and crime. If the audience were put in a position where the only thing that could save them from injury was the intervention of another, would it be justifiable for others to stand and not do anything about it except maybe even offer encouragement? The victim wouldn’t think so. What the bystanders should do is go and immediately get help. Instead of running towards the fight, people should form a crowd around the nearest teacher and yell “Help, help!” If this is not done, someone could potentially get seriously injured or even killed. If that happens, all of the students will suffer because there will not be a moment without adult supervision in the school and the students will not be trusted with any responsibility. The students’ rights would be heavily curbed. In all cases, the bystanders play an important role. Even if they are just standing there, they give the fighting groups or individuals an audience to please and if they don’t intervene, it may encourage the bully to keep going because he does not need to fear any repercussions from figures of authority. The bystanders hold the power to stop a conflict or encourage it. It is up to them to either deter violence in their schools or promote it.