WINNER 1st Prize, NHHS Print Journalism by Kiori Snyder

Think Before You Speak

“Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me”…right?  Truth is, emotional damage leaves a greater impact than physical damage on an individual.

I feel that when attending a large public school that facilitates students of all different backgrounds, ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, and minorities, the subject of discrimination should never be taken lightly.  As I walk through the halls everyday I can’t help but hear terms such as “that’s gay” and “retarded” being thrown around as if they mean nothing.  Society today doesn’t realize how they are affecting the feelings of others when they use discriminating language. Why do we do this, to build ourselves up at the expense of bringing others down?

With the pressures of being a teenager in high school, discrimination at school should be that last thing on our mind. Luckily, our school houses clubs that bring the students together, such as BRIDGES, an active club on campus with many diverse members. They promote non-discrimination with various activities and their “That’s W.H.A.C.K.” (Words Hurt And Can Kill) campaign.

BRIDGES president, senior Mary Clare Doolin, feels “it is wrong that people are being discriminated against because of something they can’t help or change.”

Spanish teacher, Ms. Branch also does her part in promoting equality.  In her class room, if a student uses any type of controversial language, they must face their consequences by putting money into her “Swear Jar.”  Branch feels that although her efforts only help a little, they “make the students aware” of their actions and how they can affect others.

Principal Michael Vossen believes that “the priority of the school should be to have a positive learning environment” for all of the students and that “respect should be part of the school’s culture.”

No one should ever fear coming to school will cause pain and suffering upon them; to combat the prejudice we face at our school, students must come together and treat others the way they should be treated.