A California teen who stepped in to stop an attack on a blind student is being hailed as a social media hero.
Huntington Beach High School became Internet famous on Wednesday after a video of a fight between students went viral. The fight, however, was anything but the usual schoolyard scuffle. The disturbing video showed one teen striking a blind student in the face repeatedly. The attack did not go on for long before a large, third student knocked the attacker to the ground ending the altercation.
Junior Cody Pines was the student who ended the assault. The Internet and his peers have largely praised him as a hero and, while the school is still investigating the issue, it appears the administration and police agree, as the instigator of the fight was arrested Thursday and charged with misdemeanor battery.
Cody told the New York Daily News he “didn’t really want to hit” the other student, but had to do something.
Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, the scene depicted in the viral video is not new to most students. In 2013, 20 percent of high school students reported experiencing bullying, according to StopBullying.gov. Some 70 percent of young people say they have witnessed bullying.
Schools nationwide are trying to implement initiatives so Cody, and students like him, will not have to put an end to the epidemic of bullying by themselves.
“When we think about bullying, it impacts education, it can cause school avoidance, loss of concentration, absenteeism," said Julie Herzog, director of the National Bullying Prevention Center at the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER), to The Christian Science Monitor earlier this year.
PACER is an organization that creates curricula for schools to use to teach kids how to intervene and stop bullying. Rather than trying to create a top-down program to end bullying, they are trying to educate students in different ways to help.
Hillsboro School District in Oregon is trying a similar approach with their “Re-think, Redefine, Where Do You Stand?” campaign launched in October 2014. The campaign aims to make students think about how they want to deal with bullying.
“We knew based off of research that this had to be a student-led effort. The ways of having schools initiate things without the buy-in of the students are over,“ Casey Waletich, the director of safety and operations at the Hillsboro School District, told the Monitor.