A couple of more words on “Yik Yak.” A normal blog on this site is read by three to four hundred people. At this point our “We don’t need Yik Yak in Worthington” post has been read by almost four thousand people. It’s good to see that parents have passed the word on to others and moving forward it will be important to educate one another on what is out there that affects our children. The world of technology applications is constantly changing. While it was Yik Yak last week it will be something new next month (look out for anonymity apps Whisper and PostSecret as well). Our vigilance is needed.
Most often even things that are negative have positives. In this case the positive is just another example of how our current group of students amazes me. While I believe kids today have unique challenges that my generation didn’t face, I also believe that they often handle those challenges in more positive ways than my generation would have. While some of what was posted on Yik Yak was vile and gross, our students today are much more compassionate, accepting of one another, and free from the cliques and social groups that dominated my generation. While today we have an occasional fight in our schools, back in the late 80’s when I grew-up in Worthington, a normal Friday night was to gather at the Continent and fight anyone who had on a letter jacket of another color. Today’s kids are much more likely to hang-out with kids from multiple schools.
Before Yik Yak was “digitally fenced in,” our student leaders at Thomas Worthington asked principal Jim Gaskill if they could address their classmates. I’d like to share with you the statement they read over the PA system to their peers:
“Hi, this is ______. I have a couple things to talk to you guys about. I believe I speak for the whole student body when I say this Yik Yak nonsense needs to stop. For those of you that are unaware of the situation, Yik Yak is an app that allows people to post messages anonymously, therefore not taking responsibility for the hurtful things they are saying. In the past couple of days, this app has been abused to the point where people are really getting hurt. We are better than this, you don’t really mean those things you are saying, and please recognize that what you’re posting truly affects the individuals you are talking about. We are a family here at Thomas Worthington, and especially on a day like today, when we remember a time of suffering that brought us all together as a country, this needs to stop now. As a school, we are working on getting the app blocked, so if you have it downloaded, please delete it and if you don’t, keep it that way. The only way that this is going to go away is if we recognize the impact of our words and take responsibility for the things we say. Thank you. Stay GussStrong and please make an effort to make today a great day to be a Cardinal!”
I’d rather students don’t have to deal with apps like Yik Yak. However, when they do it can be a learning experience. And when that learning includes students policing one another and the student body as a whole making a decision to rise above the negative, even Yik Yak can be turned into a positive situation.
We have great kids in Worthington! I’m proud that our student leaders had the courage to take a stand. That learning will serve them well in the future.
Go Cards! Go Wolves! Go Newts!
-Trent Bowers, Assistant Superintendent