Why Speaking Up is Important


Peter Amato, Staff Writer

High school is a complicated place for every teenager worldwide. Personal experiences with school are different for each student, but it’s still complicated nevertheless. Because of this, sometimes teens can make irrational decisions when faced with conflict. A few years back, I was in a scenario where I wasn’t sure how to react. One of my peers was using the social media site Instagram to post rather offensive content, and even on occasion sent it to me directly to get a reaction. The reason I relate this to school is because they tended to act the same way in class, acting irresponsibly behind teachers backs. Unfortunately, when I saw and heard these offensive claims, I didn’t do anything to stop them. Since a majority of the insensitive content was online, I didn’t know who to tell. As for the times they misbehaved in class, I didn’t want to be a snitch. In hindsight I could’ve told any member of the school’s staff after class, and if I did it wouldn’t have gone on for as long as it did. Luckily after a while their Instagram account was reported, and I cut contact with the student. I might’ve not spoken up in that scenario, but there is one more that I can recall where I did say something, which ultimately led to a better outcome. This was several years ago, before I even entered high school. There was a student in my grade who would berate me for my clothes, appearance, and hairstyle. I noticed that they tended to act this way to other kids as well. As it kept happening, I would continue to go home upset, and since I was young my feelings were very outward. I ended up telling my parents who then wrote a letter to the teacher informing them on the situation. I’m glad that I told an adult because the student no longer bothered me afterwards. If I stayed quiet about the bullying, the student might’ve continued acting that way to many other children. Developing minds aren’t the best at handling difficult situations, which is why some conflicts end up becoming physical fights. Instead of holding back thoughts, students should go to someone with more life experience, as they will likely have some sort of input and/or control. I suppose the main reason teenagers and children alike don’t go to teachers is because of fear for backlash from their peers. Although, is being accepted more favorable than doing the right thing? Every person has a right to express their true feelings, no matter what others may think. I understand why students globally are anxious to speak up, but in the end it will be worth it. Don’t stand back and let a conflict get out of hand, and don’t fuel the flame by attempting to counteract the conflict. Instead, talk with someone you trust who has experience on the matter, and get it resolved through reasonable measures. In the end, it is you who has control over who to express your feelings to, so you might as well do the responsible thing and stand up for right to a friendly/safe environment.