IPS principals talk safety following viral fight video

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 11, 2015)-- Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) secondary school principals met Monday afternoon as part of a district-wide safety meeting. It follows a viral fight video released, detailing an encounter inside Northwest Community High School last week.

The video taken inside the halls sparked outrage and concern for those who work directly with the city's youth.

"This is not a that's their problem. This is our problem as a community," said Ontay Johnson, executive director of 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.

Johnson said the video shows Indy teens need coping skills taught to them in school.

"I don't know that our young people know how to handle someone talking about them," he said.

In fact, the idea of emotional intelligence is what IPS officials discussed with principals Monday. The district also identified common discipline issues and solutions IPS will work to provide. IPS said they are also in the process of outlining a student code of conduct specifying unacceptable behaviors and punishment. Part of the code concerns "digital citizenship," the idea that students posting fight videos on social media could be suspended for their actions.

"I think it's a great question they're going to have to wrestle with. We haven't taken a position on that as an association, but I think it's bigger than that," said Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Meredith said disciplinary procedures are only a part of the remedy for school violence.

"It may not be as simple as a code of conduct," she said.

What's key, Meredith said, is driving home the point that violence in school is a community problem.

"Every adult that comes in contact with a child, they bear some level of responsibility to model and talk with students about appropriate behavior, not just online but in situations like this as well," she said.

IPS held public meetings in April regarding their code of conduct.

The proposal will have to be approved by the school board before implementation, and a spokesperson said that will likely happen before the 2015-2016 school year.

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