School officials in California are investigating a "fight club" that allegedly took place on a high school campus after receiving several complaints from parents after videos of students punching each other appeared last week on Facebook.
The video clips published by local news outlets show the students, said to be students at Grass Valley's Nevada Union High School, participating in a boxing match on school grounds while their classmates looked on and cheered.
Two of the videos show teenage boys fighting while wearing boxing gloves and no other protective gear. Another video shows footage of a student wearing what could be a baseball uniform, writes Jason Silverstein for The New York Daily News.
However, some students at the school say the fighting matches are nothing to worry about. They were "just some guys having fun," senior James Herlitz told Fox40, adding that the students had no malicious intent.
"No one was like, âOh, I'm trying to beat this kid up.' It was more just like, âI think I can take you, I think I can take you, too. All right let's go for it.'"
Both current and former students have said the secret fights have been held for over ten years now, resulting in kids going home with bloody noses, black eyes, and even concussions, reports CBS News.
It is thought that the 1990s cult film Fight Club provided the inspiration for the secret boxing matches. The film, starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt, portrays the life of a depressed insomniac who forms an underground club with his friend in order to fight other men who are upset with the way their lives are going, writes Sian Hewitt for The Mirror.
Parents and the school district disagreed, instantly launching an investigation and shutting down the location where the fights took place, which is said to have been a baseball clubhouse at the school. In addition, the videos were removed from social media, reports Hannah Parry for The Daily Mail.
No actions against students or school workers have been made public so far, although the school is currently trying to determine who was involved. An investigation is also taking place to determine whether any school personnel should be disciplined.
Similar discussions of fight clubs in schools and even day cares have popped up recently in New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia. In most of the cases, school employees were said to have pushed for the violence to occur.
One instance found two employees of a daycare center in New Jersey being criminally charged for allegedly staging fights between toddlers and posting the footage to Snapchat, reports Priscilla DeGregory for The New York Post.
"Approximately a dozen boys and girls at the day care center can be seen in the video clips shoving each other to the ground and attempting to strike each other," prosecutors said.
In response, the school sent out an email to parents which downplayed the incident, saying staff members had encouraged children to push or shove one another while on the playground.