OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- School administrators and police are working together to investigate fights involving students that were recorded and posted on the internet.

"Initially it came to us as a possible fight club, that we haven't been able to discern whether that has happened here or not," explained Old Orchard Beach police Lieutenant Timothy DeLuca. "What we do know is that there have been approximately threetofour arranged fights."

In one of thevideos, which was posted on social networking site Facebook, twofreshman girls are seen with boxing gloves strapped to their hands and receiving instructions before they start pummeling one another. Dozens of students surround the girls as they trade blows, while it appears adults encourage and even instruct the combatants.

Police and school officials say they are more concerned about the incidents because no one intervened.

"It is more disturbing, because now we have a group that is less apt to intervene," saidDeLuca."To allow it to happen and take place, certainly there is a dynamic there that we don't want to get out of proportion or blown out of proportion."

The mother of one of the girls seen in the video says her daughter is a victim, lured to the town's Memorial Park and intimidated by the adults that were present to fight the other girl. She says the fight is just an extension of bullying that had been going on for the past few years.

"It is very disturbing, and one of the things that I, as a lifelong educator, worrygreatly about these days is the power of social media to either benefit or harm the welfare of society," stated Patrick Phillips, superintendent of R.S.U. 23.

He says the power to victimize, harass or bully someone using technology has become a major issue facing educators.

"It has become a much different story because of social media technology," said Phillips. "Again, a student goes home at the end of the day, gets on Facebook, and kids are talking, kids are sharing information with each other, there is a lot of cyberbullying going on, and it has had a profound influence over how the school has to deal with the idea of educating our kids when they all come back and the arguments are spilling over from school into the home or from the home into the school. It has definitely made life more complicated and more challenging."

Police say those involved in the fights could face assault charges, and those who promoted, organized or even attended could be subject tocriminal penalties as well.

The Old Orchard Police Department is continuing to investigate the fights, but officers believe they may have broken up the 'fight club' before it really got off the ground.

Superintendent Phillips says everyone needs to continue to work together to stop bullying. "The phenomenon is community wide, in and outside of school, and the response needs to be community wide as well."

Read or Share this story: