Students Spreading the “News”

Rachel Sloan

Her face turned. Her face contorted into an expression that hurt to look at. And right away she knew it was her they were talking about. It was the rumor.

High school is filled with small, nagging things. Homework, stress, friends—it all piles up and stresses students. But on top of all this is the constant and ever looming worry of what people think. Students worry if they are viewed as popular, ugly, boring and a number of other things.

Students for some unknown reason feel it necessary to tell everyone what tiny sliver of information might be true. Even if it was something over heard in a hallway, they tell everyone. They tell if it’s good, they tell if it’s bad, they tell if there’s a possible love interest or even a possible scandal. It’s like they can’t help but tell, like it’s a disease.

In a way it is. You tell someone something good, and you’re rewarded with being noticed and asked if you’ve heard anything new. If you keep information to yourself, you become lost in the crowd. And so the cycle continues and spreads. More and more students see it happening, hear the stories and begin the cycle themselves.

If there is a reward for telling, how do we stop the pain of students hearing stories about themselves that aren’t true? We don’t; you do. It is not a group effort, but rather the effort of individuals. As a group we cannot stop the cycle. As an individual, the choice can be made to choose to ignore the reward; to choose to keep yourself out of whatever story is being told.

The constant cycle of hurt does nothing to better the world for our children or ourselves. As individuals we become strong by standing away from the crowd, and avoiding the harshness of stories told.