Since starting in person at SLA this year, my eyes have been opened to a new perspective on different aspects of the school community — But not in a completely good way.
My first year of highschool was virtual and there was little I could work with when imagining what my life would look like when we returned physically. However, that didn’t stop me from looking forward to meeting new people and understanding SLA as a whole. There are a lot of good things about this school — [list a few of them here] However,I also think some people here tend to use all of this goodness as a way to sweep the things that need to be improved, or at least openly discussed, under the rug.
One of these things is harassment, of multiple forms. I realize it’s not easy for the staff here to regulate issues amongst a school of 500 students, let alone two schools sharing one building. However, all instances of harassment issues need to be taken seriously. For example, There are many times where unwanted interactions in the shared stairwell or the first floor — unpleasant moments that I’ve since become immune to — have occurred not just with me, but with people, specifically girls, at this school.
I can recall a time where I was headed to the fifth floor girls bathroom on SLA’s side when a student from Ben Franklin High school came over through the doors to shout and pound on the girl’s bathroom door for me to come out. I wouldn’t say this situation scared me or made me feel unsafe and this is only because things like this happen all the time. But this did leave me questioning why this is something that me and other people have to experience and have become so accustomed to.
Whether it be catcalling, following, touching, or shouting this kind of behavior would never allow anyone to feel comfortable in a school environment. But despite the fact that these instances of harassment have been brought to both school’s attention, almost nothing has been done to regulate it. It would be safe to say that there is a mutual agreement that nothing can be done so us students have to just deal with it like we have been.
And while the instances of stairwell harassment seem to mostly be between the two schools, SLA students also turn on each other. Online bullying in the form of ‘jokes’ is another issue that I’ve specifically noticed at SLA. It seems like students are completely unaware or disregard when the line is crossed. This is definitely not what I imagined would come from any student at SLA — but I also think it’s precisely that mindset that gives some students the space to get away with this bad behavior It’s been bad enough this year the health teacher had to have multiple classes teaching us how these actions do entirely much more harm than good.