Duval County students: Record fight, face penalty

Task force of parents, teachers and administrators rewriting code of conduct


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Major changes are on the way to the Duval County school system, not only dealing with the safety and security of students but also to rules about dealing with technology and violence.

You've probably seen cell phone video, taken inside of a school of a fight. This year new plans have been put into place, to penalize the students behind the camera. 

Duval County Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said the new policies they are creating will penalize students for videotaping fights. He's also focusing in on preventing cyber bullying, and anything else that could distract a students from learning.

Recording and posting school fights online is a perception issue plaguing every school district in the entire nation. Dr.  Vitti calls it abuse of technology to promote violence. Something that could soon land the student behind the camera in trouble.

"What bothers me as an educator, superintendent, parent, is that if a child knows a fight will occur, and they position themselves to video tape that fight, and not prevent it, there is a level of responsibility, and I think repercussion have to go along with that," said Vitti.

Vitti said students should run for help, rather than record. He said a task force of more than 60 parents, teachers and administrators are rewriting the code of conduct to spell out the rules.

At the end of August, the task force will decide on a penalty for those recording fights, and those who are caught online, cyber bullying or making threats.

"What I don't want to see happen any longer is that students use technology in a way to promote fighting bullying, to exaggerate to sensationalize it, there has to be clear repercussions that it won't happen any longer," said Vitti.

"I don't agree with them taking pictures, putting that stuff on you tube, I wish schools had more cameras inside," said Tamara Harvin, a concerned parent.

Harvin said it's a step in the right direction, for students.  Vitti hopes setting stricter penalties, will help the district deal with an issue they have with public perception.

"I do believe we do a better job than the general public thinks we do, but it's on us, the leader, me the superintendent of this district, to transform that perception," said Vitti.