YouTube video scoured in fight aftermath
By Tory N. Parrish
Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Organizers might have used social media to round up people to join a large fight at a Swissvale bus stop this week, and authorities are using social media to track them down.
About 25 people showed up to watch 10 Woodland Hills High School students and several adults brawl at the bus stop at South Braddock and Woodstock avenues about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday. The fight occurred after one involving students at the same stop a day before.
Alan Johnson, substitute superintendent at Woodland Hills, said word about the second fight might have spread on Facebook. Swissvale police broke up both fights and made some arrests, Johnson said.
Police Chief Greg Geppert did not return calls for comment.
Investigators and school officials used a cell phone video that was posted to YouTube to identify the 10 students. The district suspended three of them pending the outcome of the investigation, Johnson said. YouTube granted the district's request to remove the video.
The investigation moved to reviewing the video to determine what role people played to determine what other disciplinary actions, including expulsion, the school will take, Johnson said. He expects more disciplinary action.
The nine-member school board will not get involved until it needs to vote on discipline, Vice President Marilyn Messina said. The district would not tolerate violence, she said.
“I don't think that the regular citizenry tolerates that behavior,” she said.
School officials aren't sure of the cause of the fight, Johnson said.
“We suspect that it was probably a dispute between a couple of students that just escalated,” he said.
The district has 4,100 students from 12 municipalities, including Braddock, Churchill, East Pittsburgh, Rankin and Wilkins.
Johnson said faculty and students have been working hard to wipe away the district's reputation as place of violence and low achievement. The high school made Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act for the first time last year.
“So if something like this happens, it really detracts from that,” Johnson said.
Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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