Hanoi's education department on Friday asked the city police to investigate the minute-long video clip of a schoolgirl violently kicking and grabbing the hair of another that was posted on the Internet.
Mai Sy Nhat, head of the Department of Education and Training's student affairs office, said the education industry "has to depend on police's interference", as they couldn't check the authenticity of the clip or identify the girls given the clip's blurred quality and unclear information.
Later the same day, Ngo Minh An, head of Hi-tech Crimes Prevention Team, said they had found the clip's original version which was longer than the one posted on the net, and were studying it to see if the fight was real or playacting.
If it was real, police would have the victim's injuries assessed and take action, he said.
The clip, floating on the net since Wednesday, shows a schoolgirl grabbing the hair, dragging and kicking at the face of another girl in a park.
It also shows several other students sitting on surrounding benches, watching and recording the incident. Some even join in to beat the girl.
Soon after, an online forum of Tran Nhan Tong High School students said the girls were 10th graders in their school.
This prompted the education department to meet the school's leadership on Friday, but Q.A. and D., as the suspects were referred to, denied the allegations, although they admitted to fighting at a lake near their school on March 4.
Vice principal Phan Thanh Tung said they found no injures on the girls' bodies, but the girl who was beaten in the clip had a pair of black eyes, showing evidence of a fight.
Nguyen Hiep Thong, director of the education department, said he was angry after watching the clip as the incident took place in a public place, but no adult interfered, and other students watched indifferently.
The department said strict punishments would be handed out to all involved students if the clip was found to be true.
Dinh Phuong Duy, another education official from Ho Chi Minh City, said he was concerned about the students' sense of dignity and mercy.
This is the fifth video clip of schoolgirls fighting to be posted on the net in recent months.
It has prompted Tran Quang Quy, deputy minister of Education and Training, to order education departments on Friday to take steps to prevent violence among students.