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Manners Matter

“Being at Old Orchard Mall kind of reminded me of being home in Africa, by the watering hole, when the animals are in heat,” remarked Cady Heron about her fellow classmates as the scene in “Mean Girls” flashed to a group of students: a boy on all fours, a group of students acting like monkeys, a girl tackling another girl into a fountain.

 

The scene is of a high school classroom, presented in the most satirical and exaggerated way possible. It is a dog-eat-dog world filled with students who may be the best or worst mannered people you will meet in your lifetime.

 

In high school, teenagers are stuck in the awkward stage between childhood and adulthood, tiptoeing the fine line between acting in a way that is either understandable or completely unacceptable at their age. You would think that in a school where a majority of the population is over 15 years old, a student stabbing another student with a pair of scissors would not just happen on a bright, sunny day, and two students getting into a fist-fight over a taco during lunch would be completely irrational. Sadly, it does happen, and it is not irrational.

 

But those are just minor infractions that occur in schools in affluent areas, and these infractions rarely reflect the rest of the student body. These events usually happen once during a school year – twice at the most (unless the school is populated with juvenile delinquents) – but the majority of the student body is not blameless when it comes to a lack of basic manners. The most obvious testament of bad manners is a lack of respect for teachers.

 

In school, there are two different types of teachers: those who lead with an iron fist and command the attention of a classroom and those who rule with a golden heart and are rewarded with sidebar conversations, interruptions and outright disrespect. And then there are substitute teachers who live in a category of their own, and when they teach, any semblance of basic manners flies out the window and all hell breaks lose.

 

While the school attempts to enforce basic etiquette through the threat of punishments, such as detentions and suspensions, these loosely implemented punishments only teach students to be respectful so they do not get in trouble. Students do not actually learn the true value and importance of respecting teachers, who put the time and effort into teaching the course material thoroughly.

 

If you are not an offender of ruining the productivity of a class, I applaud you. And if you are, I can most definitely assure you that Nicki Minaj did not tell you to go to school so you could interrupt the class with your sidebar conversations.

 

By the MoCo Student Staff Columnist Anja Shahu of Walter Johnson High School
 

About The MoCo Student

In 2012, Student Member of the Board of Education John Mannes created a countywide press network to help build a conduit to share fresh and relevant information written by youth to the wider Montgomery County student body.

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