Feminism posters evoke crude responses from students

Photo by Becky Hoving 17

Photo by Becky Hoving ’17

By Megan Doyle ’18

Feminism posters outside the cafeteria and bridge area on the second floor provoked multiple inappropriate comments to be written and posted on the wall.

On Monday, April 17, the Women’s History class taught by Cathy Schager created two interactive banners, asking students to write what feminism and gender equality meant to them. The comments quickly became vulgar, including “pussy,” “f**k you,” “black on black violence,” “helps me pull the trig,” “whoever made this should kill themselves,” and “f**king amazing.”

“It made me feel disrespected,” Abby Suppan ’17 said. “Being rude isn’t cool. People were being ignorant and derogatory.”

Although students in the class who made the interactive activities anticipated the negative comments, some of the students were overwhelmed by the severity of the responses.

“I knew going into it people were going to write some stupid things and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it really seemed like kids were competing to see who could write the most offensive thing,” an anonymous senior girl in the Women’s History class said. “I’m honestly disgusted to say I go to Staples.”

When Assistant Principal Meghan Ward was faced with the issue, she immediately started taking down comments she deemed particularly inappropriate. She admires the ideas from the Women’s History class, but wants to ensure the staff is creating a positive atmosphere.

“There’s an element of that which will occur in any high school. Kids are kids,” Ward said. “But we also want to make sure we are doing our part in facilitating the environment that could make a moment or an idea like that flourish. And I think that we’re struggling with that a little.”

The anonymous senior girl agrees that Staples has been ineffective in dealing with bullying. She and Suppan think the administration needs to take action.

“Staples hasn’t addressed bullying in all four years of my attendance and I think it’s time people open their eyes and the administration cracks down on this,” she said. “It’s not a good feeling knowing someone at Staples wants you to kill yourself.”

Ward, however, has a more mild approach to the situation. The administration met and agreed to continue at the same pace with discussions.

“I think we’re just going to work in the mode that we’ve been working in to try and facilitate positive conversations around these topics,” Ward said.