A terrible video of six teenaged girls beating a peer has sparked nationwide discussion on where blame should be placed for the behavior and the video, which police said they put on the Web. According to a local paper, The Ledger, the beating was vicious and remorseless and the situation complicated, involving a group of cheerleaders, one of whom (the victim) – reportedly a troubled teen and honor student, who was not living at home and on probation at the time of the incident – allegedly had been trash-talking the other girls in phone text messages and on MySpace. The six other girls retaliated by setting up the 35-minute beating for videotaping with a couple of boys serving as lookouts outside the house where it occurred. They then reportedly either uploaded or linked to the video from profiles in MySpace and YouTube (MySpace and YouTube both told InformationWeek that the footage had not been uploaded to their sites, which could mean it was linked to from elsewhere on the Web). "The girls … ranged in age from 14 to 17. All have been arrested and charged with felony battery and false imprisonment," according to The Ledger, and doctors are hoping the victim, who was still recovering from a concussion a week after the beating, would fully regain hearing and vision on her left side. MySpace and YouTube are reportedly working with law enforcement on investigations. The local sheriff told The Ledger that "investigators suspect there were as many five video clips of the incident taken by more than one camera," and they'd so far only been able to track down one of them. Here's a discussion NPR aired with bullying expert Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes.
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