Walkersville High School Must Be a Place Where Students Feel Welcomed and Safe

by Brianna Drury

In a recent video message FCPS superintendent Theresa Alban addressed the topic of civility. Civility is formally defined as formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech. [1]

In Alban’s video she mentions that at some schools in Frederick County, students have been disrespectful of others personal opinions regarding the election and other issues. Following the election there was a rise in vulgar language being used, especially towards minority groups. The beliefs of neither the president elect Donald Trump or his former opponent Hillary Clinton should result in the bullying of any students at Walkersville High School or any other Frederick County Public School. It is shocking how the results of the election could become such a massive problem.

Many students have yet to learn the importance of respecting other’s opinions or views, political or otherwise. Students should be able to put themselves in the shoes of the victim of these uncalled for and vicious verbal attacks on minorities as well as be able to sympathize with all students in one way or another. We are all in high school and it is hard enough trying to make good grades, work, and be a teenager without any added stress. Many students in high schools across the world suffer from things like depression, bipolar, ADD/ADHD, or anxiety. You never know who you could be talking to, how sensitive they are, or how they will decide to cope with the bullying.

Bystanders are just as guilty. If you witness someone getting picked on or bullied and you don’t do anything you are letting the bully hurt someone. If you see any physical altercations however it is best to notify a teacher and let them handle it. Another thing you can do is ask if the person getting bullied is okay or if there is anything you can do to help.  

Kirsten Schwantes has noticed some frequent  accounts of racism in Walkersville High School. “Some people don’t understand other people’s circumstances and are very closed minded,” said Schwantes.

Many adults at the school feel very strongly that racism and closed mindedness is an issue at our school. “If students are seeing instances of bullying or harassment they should report it to any adult in the building so it can be dealt with,” said assistant principal Sheri Murphy.

“I think there is an issue in society in general so we are going to see issues like this or others as well. My feeling on anything is one, we need to talk about it or it just festers, two, We need to educate everyone on the effect of hateful speech and actions and what differences make our country and school special. The election has given people a platform to be more open about their opinions. The more students and staff address hateful speech and actions the easier it will be to impede,” said guidance counselor Ryan Defibaugh.

“I think just like anything else in our lives there is a reaction to these incidents, like a death; the election is an example of this. People grieve in different ways, sometimes through anger. But I think the majority values all people. We have to do that through civility, kindness, patience, and compassion,” said principal Tracy Franklin.

Students shouldn’t have to be afraid of their peers or hate being in school due to the hostility of others. School should be a welcoming place filled with open minds and open hearts.