The Student Life Office has launched an anti-gossip campaign that has ironically produced a murmur amongst the student body. For the past two weeks, signs have been placed all around campus discouraging students from spreading rumors and gossiping. Such actions have long presented an issue both in our community and beyond, which has led many students to ponder the timing of this new movement.
The posters’ messages have a similar theme: “Don’t Gossip”, “If it’s not your story to tell, don’t tell it”, “Rumors hurt.” The SLO is working towards fostering a more inclusive atmosphere at Deerfield by addressing the problem that has become a part student life.
The gossip culture at Deerfield is prevalent. Drew Garzone ‘23 and Brian Grant ‘23 recounted their impressions as freshmen, saying, “From the first week, gossip seemed to be embedded into the freshman experience. However, we had both previouslyiorly encountered similar behavior at our old schools.” This sentiment echoes throughout the student body; we have all participated in spreading rumors, despite not necessarily having bad intentions. This raises a problem specifically at Deerfield because we live in such a small community which could fuel the propagation of rumors.
Even though rumors are indeed a problem at Deerfield, many have difficulty finding a method of prevention. Chijioke Achebe ’21 said, “I don’t think there’s such a thing as a ‘cure’ for gossiping; on some level, it is an inevitable aspect of high school, although it shouldn’t be.” He strongly believes that the responsibility for making change falls primarily on our shoulders, both as students and as members of this community. In order to follow the SLO’s initiative, we should contemplate the steps we can take as individuals to improve this aspect of Deerfield. When faced with this problem, Hanna Deringer ’20, said, “Take a second before saying something that holds the potential to be harmful and consider the impact it may have on the people around you.” It is imperative for us to hold ourselves accountable for our words and not let this initiative die with the posters.
The SLO’s posters show the evident fact that words have the power to harm; they are a reminder that we have a choice every day to change our community for the better in a significant way.