Should teens fit in at Chicago Public Schools?

Teens in Chicago Public Schools want to “fit in” at school, but not everyone is accepted into a clique, so they feel left out. The students and their parents are fighting to change this because teens often begin to feel depressed, and their parents don’t want any tragedies to occur. However, teens that have their own clique want to keep the status quo because they think the “other” kids are not cool enough.

Marco Vazquez, 24, a recent graduate from Harold Washington College, was not accepted into many cliques in his high school years. He thinks that high school students should be able to work together and help each other rather than discriminating other students. “High school should be a place where students can feel safe and free to talk to whomever they want. There shouldn’t be students that have to eat at a separate lunch table just because they’re not in a sport or good looking,” he said. “If every student was able to socialize with any other teen in school, there wouldn’t be any reports of kids getting depressed and much less committing suicide.”

A student at John Hancock College Prep, 16, is one of the most popular students of the school. His thoughts are very different from Marco’s.  He thinks that having cliques in school is the best thing about school. He said, “If all the students got along with everyone else, there wouldn’t be any kind of social balance.

Cliques are supposed to separate the soccer team’s captain from the math team leader.  Not every student is the same and that is why cliques are made up of students with similar ambitions.”

According to sociologist Robert Crosnoe in an article “The Burden of the Bullied” published on May 9, 2011 on the University of Texas website, students who have problems in high school tend to ignore the idea of attending college. “Kids who have social problems are at greater risk of missing out on going to college simply because of the social problems they have and how it affects them emotionally,” Crosnoe says, “not because of anything to do with intelligence or academic progress.”

What does wanting to be in a group say about a teen’s values?

How does being rejected by a clique affect students’ social and scholarly life?

What do you think causes them to make negative decisions in order to be accepted into a group?

By Elbert Perez, Hancock Junior

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