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Saturday, April 16, 2011
The War In Hayward Will Be Televised
HAYWARD HIGH'S APRIL 8 MELEE AND OTHER BRAWLS ARE FEATURED ON YOUTUBE
By Steven Tavares
Students at Hayward High School have taken to YouTube’s catchphrase, “Broadcast Yourself” in a string of shocking and well-viewed videos showing chaotic and violent melees on its campus.
The footage, in most cases shot shakily, feature students throwing blows, wrestling upon the ground and hurling racial epitaphs. The tenor of the brawls featured on YouTube are surreal in their intensity and breadth. All include not just one isolated fight, but, at times, numerous conflicts at once with dozens of spectators following the free-for-all as it randomly flows across the campus.
The Daily Review today detailed one such fight April 8 including a suspected adult gang member tussling with a student. The clip shot by a student of the brawl is featured above and labeled "Nortenos vs. Blacks." It shows multiple conflicts between blacks and Latinos, a female fighting a young man, a teenager with his shirt torn off and a car rolling up on the fight acting as getaway before police sirens are heard in the distance.
When viewed consecutively, the constant images of students punching and kicking each other is frightening in its ease and acceptability among the teenagers in the videos.
Along with a rise in gang activity, the dreadful state of Hayward’s school district is easily the city’s top problem. These videos show a city in total chaos and almost irretrievably peace. In light of these clips, it sort of makes what Hayward Lt. Roger Keener’s solution to ban gang colors from the clothing of high school students a little trivial when so many young, mostly minority students find knocking each other and potentially killing one another one day quite acceptable.
As a journalist, I find Hayward’s immense problems, exactly that—immense. So large that it pains me to think of any solution that would even make a dent. Hayward is simply unhinged and threatening to become a menace. And the problem persists because too many see these kids fighting all over the city and assume it’s just non-white kids using their city as playground for gang activities. I find too many duck from reasoning the depth of the youth's anger.
These displays of violence are really an allegory for how they all feel. They are not fighting each other as much as fighting for their collective lives.
Below are two more videos of intense fighting on the campus of Hayward High posted in recent months. More videos are readily available on YouTube: