Intolerance on the homefront

By Lauren Smith

   Intolerance has become an extremely prevalent issue. We’ve begun to hear tragic stories of teenagers killing themselves, due to bullying, daily. We’ve witnessed it. It is no longer just a national issue, but a personal one.

  It starts mindlessly. People throw the word “grummit” around like nobody’s business, but there’s honestly no excuse for calling people names. Bullied children are told to keep a stiff upper lip and ignore the perpetrator. By making someone else feel bad, this person is making themselves feel better about their sad, pathetic lives. But that no longer seems to be the case. Name-calling is just accepted. It’s part of the adolescent way of life.

  With no malicious intentions apparent, people have begun insulting each other, calling each other fat, stupid, etc. High school is a rough period of one’s life without having all of a person’s insecurities and then some laid out, clear as day, in front of them, making them weak and vulnerable. How is someone supposed to ignore that? How can a teenager, let alone a child, be expected to not listen to someone who feasting upon the thoughts that eat them up inside.

   And unless things get physical, very little can be done to stop the monstrosity that is bullying and even then, who is going to run to a teacher and play tattle tale? So we’re left with a blanket of depression falling over our peers. It feels as if we’re losing the fight.

  Student groups such as FCA and C₂ have taken this dismal opportunity to offer a source of light. Succeeding in bring the school closer than it has ever been before, FCA hosted “Family Time” in front of the PAC in the two days following Meagen Allen’s death. Serving as a place for students to vent and be surrounded by people with similar emotions and thoughts, FCA’s idea, advertised on Facebook, brought hundreds of students together.

  C₂ hosted a spirit week type event where students had a theme for each day to promote equality and acceptance of our peers. Posters were placed all over the school reminding students that they were loved and everyone was encouraged to complement each other.

  Though the efforts of these two groups were incredible for a couple of weeks following these heartbreaks, school wide unity has appeared to drop back down. Acceptance should be a constant way of life, not just a rare occurrence in the wake of a tragedy.

  As members of the Leander High School family, we should consider it our duty to build each other up, not knock each other down. Derogatory terms need to completely exit our vocabulary and a moratorium should be placed on bullying of any sort, even if the perpetrator claims to be “joking.”

  No one should ever have to feel so miserable that they consider taking their own life. School should be a place where one can walk into a room and feel safe, a place where it is easy to remember that someone values their presence. Because everyone deserves to be loved. Everyone deserves to feel valued.