Viral videos can become your claim to fame as a millennial. There is a dark side to social media though, and there are often casualties.
High school senior Suleida Zayas says:
“It’s cool to record a fight. It’s cool to be on social media because of fight, and I think that’s where a lot of us mess up.”
Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware is in disarray after the death of sophomore Amy Joyner. Joyner, who was known as a peacekeeper throughout the school, had allegedly deescalated situations on campus before. Thursday however, a violent bathroom assault resulted in Joyner being airlifted to the hospital, where she unfortunately did not survive the injuries she sustained.
The most disturbing part of this tragedy is that the fight was recorded and circulated by students involved. Police Chief Bobby Cummings says that the school is not known for its violence.
“There were a few girls that were involved and at this time, our police department is investigating the incident. We have people that we’re speaking with.”
Three girls have been questioned – and are possibly facing long prison sentences. Charges are likely to be pressed in the upcoming week after the autopsy and cause of death are properly determined.
Wilmington city councilwoman Sherry Dorsey Walker has been close to the victim and her family for years. Walker was asked to speak on their behalf.
“They’re asking people to just be calm and pray for them.”
The family wishes for spiritual healing, without retaliation.
Illinois State Rep. Terri Bryant proposes a bill to criminalize the filming and posting of fight videos to the internet. Bryant submitted the bill in February after a video of students engaging in a fight blazed through social media. While this type of protection could possibly save lives – censoring the internet challenges the 1st Amendment.
Amongst breaching freedom of speech, the argument can be made that filming a fight for proof of someone else’s crime can be helpful to the victim later in seeking justice.
The question to ask, though, is how are we to keep children safe? Adolescents and young adults post their entire lives to the internet. Must their violent deaths be immortalized on social media too?