The Truth About Gossip


Megan McKenzie, Photographer

A little insight: When our editor in chief first assigned me this article it was supposed to be about a sexting scandal that recently attracted attention to Portage Northern. After much investigation and questioning, I realized the people who knew the real story were not going to tell it to me, and the people telling me stories didn’t know what really happened. What I discovered, though, is just how much gossip is travelling through the halls of PortageNorthernHigh School.

Avery Adams* (12) was skyping Brady Thomas* (12) one night when he asked her to take off her shirt. She was reluctant at first, then after much persuasion she agreed. It didn’t seem too bad and nothing bad can happen when it’s just the two of them right? Wrong. The boy hit the print screen button, and, voila, the topless picture of Avery was his. Thomas then proceeded to show the picture of to the majority of the football team. Then, the police and principals became involved because the picture was shared on school grounds. Now not only is Adams a victim, but she is also a suspect.

The problem with all of this information is that it didn’t come from our police liason or our principals; it came from the very own students of PortageNorthernHigh School. And the issue with that is that this information could be gossip ranging from no truth at all to the complete story. To put a perspective on things: many of the football players had not heard of this story and claimed that they had not even seen the pictures. Is it true? What really happened? Is it news or is it merely gossip?

Another issue is that the story varied whenever it was told. In some versions Avery sent the pictures in a text and the text was sent out to everyone, while in other versions, the Thomas* posted the picture on Twitter for everyone to see. Trying to find out the real story is extremely hard when each person puts their own twist on it. “If someone wants to know something about another person, they should just go ask them,” says Gabe Allen (11). If high school students were mature enough to go ask the person they heard something about, then high school would not be such a hot spot for gossip.

“Everybody does it, but everybody hates when it’s about them,” says Cassie Lins (10). Gossip can be all fun and games when it’s just two friends talking about another. It can even seem okay when everyone else finds out about it. The real problem becomes when other people are saying things that may not be true. “Well if it was a secret then I obviously wouldn’t want other people knowing,” says Meghana Venugopal (10). But really what is a secret in high school? Only two best friends know at first, but chances are they are going to tell other people who are going to tell many other people until it gets around to people who were far from the event and the truth.

“I do gossip,” says Gabby Childers (10), “but not intentionally. When I’m telling someone what I heard about someone else I don’t think ‘Oh I’m gossiping!’ I usually realize it after I do it and then I feel bad.” Whether gossip is intentional or not; it still hurts people and conveys information in the wrong way. “Just brush it off and move on. People will forget about it in a few weeks,” says Sami Deboer (10).

Whether what is going around is valid information or not, does not mean it is okay to spread the information. The Avery Adams* story is now floating around the school hallways even though it continues to be openly investigated by police in the area. Adams has now left Portage Northern to escape the gossip funnel of high school. And no one, no matter whose fault it is, should feel that they have to escape.

*Names have been changed