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Posted January 10, 2003 

Names That Hurt
Vivian Nolan, Director of Admissions
King George School
Sutton, Vermont

[Submissions from students in Pamela Kirschman's current events classes, published in the 11-18-02 Caledonian Record.]

By Kate Salko
King George School

Name-calling has become an every day, normal habit for students worldwide. Students are not even given consequences for their verbal abuse towards others. I have seen it happen to kids everyday in public and private schools. Some of the ignorant people today feel it’s necessary to verbally hurt others to make themselves look more important or of a higher social rank. When this happens the people being put down by insignificant and childish names could be left feeling inferior. This could also possibly affect them so they don’t voice how they think or feel aloud. Even though the words that are being called to one another are not in any way appropriate or mature they still can damage confidence and hurt feelings.

So why do people use this mechanism towards others? It’s not just the students who should be focused on but people all over who do this. I feel it should be taken more seriously in schools especially because kids are very impressionable on each other. This will continue to happen, that’s why I think students should be aware that it’s more than a word they are using. Words do affect people, but it’s also the attitudes and prejudgments that come with them.

By Gabrielle Nicole Haddad
King George School

I grew up in a town called Mahwa, N.J. We all thrived on making fun of each other. If you made fun of the less fortunate that was what made you popular. It was based on how quick and witty you were. Popularity was the thing that most people worked for in my school. This part of life I link to maturity or lack there of. Maturity comes over a span of time. In some cases some teens mature at a faster rate than others.

Name-calling and teasing is also another way of showing that there might be some insecurity among teens in our generation. This may be due to being made fun of at an early age. No one is truly mean at heart. Everyone has a good side. Sometimes they may be so hurt or feel so alone they decide to hurt people, so they won’t get hurt themselves.

There are many aspects of name-calling. It is a nasty and hurtful habit that we may pick up while we are young and impressionable. It is something as human beings that we need to address. Please just be aware that sometimes all these kids need is love and positive attention.

By Lauren Sheller
King George School 

Could you fall asleep each night knowing that you participated in killing somebody’s baby? For example, if you called a girl fat, and one day she became anorexic, wouldn’t you have some responsibility? Yes, that girl makes her own choices, but you would have contributed. Could you live with yourself knowing that? The reason why I use the term “somebody’s baby” in the opening sentence is because I want to stress that even if you don’t care about the person you may have directly spoken to, that person is somebody’s baby so you are not just affecting one person. For example, if a person were to commit suicide it would affect those who love him or her. I want people to realize how even the “littlest thing” thing in their mind can affect so many people. The thing about calling somebody names is that it is usually something that person can’t control or change and that you know would hurt them. To even think of it as “little” is such a justification. In a way it is sociopathic, because you have to lack empathy to purposely hurt somebody and think it is no big deal. So could you go home at the end of the day, and be okay with yourself knowing how many people you could have affected with one word, or do you choose not to think about it?

Stephanie Saunders
King George School

Name-calling is common among adolescents and hurtful. It can cause kids to feel badly about themselves and to lower their self-esteem. 

Names as stupid, gay, retarded and fat, etc., are all names that are often used around high school-aged kids. There are people who really are gay or retarded. When these names are misused it is offensive to people who really are gay or retarded. It’s a put down to them and because it is used as an insult it can make people who really are gay or retarded feel extra badly about themselves.

There are many more names used in name-calling than the examples I have used. When girls are called names it can seriously damage their self-esteem because in high school aged girls it’s often low to begin with. With eating disorders being so common these days, even just being called fat by someone can start an eating disorder in a girl and really hurt her.

Name-calling is unnecessary and just plain old mean. People do it to feel better about themselves and it should stop being such a common thing.

By Brooke Schurgin 
King George School

Suicide? Murder? What makes people think name-calling has nothing to with these things? Why do people become anorexic and/or bulimic? 

It’s acceptance. Someone calls another person fat and they feel out of place and unsure of themselves. Kids or teens have so many things to worry about, name-calling just adds to the stress. All of the people in this world, well, most of the people, are very sensitive to these names and feel such a need to fit in.

People need to be more careful with what they say to other people, because you never know how they’ll react or what they’ll do. Life is tough on people. Name-calling is a sensitive subject.

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