Supporting one another essential to success

Editorial Board

Relationships forged at school provide a sturdy social safety net that teens can call upon in times of difficulty, yet for many others, a school’s social environment can be a stressful one, in which students can face toxic friendships and dating relationships, or complete ostracization at the hands of their peers.

Connections are a major aspect of school life, and they can affect a student’s overall school experience and social development, according to the National School Climate Center, an organization promoting a sustained, positive school climate. A healthy school climate includes the idea that individuals are engaged and respected, and that they feel socially and emotionally safe, according to the NSCC.

Peer relationships, however, may also limit a student socially and academically, and detrimental connections can contribute to a negative social fabric that should not be tolerated within our community.

Friends have important roles in a student’s high school experience, and the influence that schoolmates can have on a student’s behavior include both healthy and harmful pressures of how that individual chooses to act, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Development.

Peer pressure can become a deleterious force pushing teens to do things they normally would not do. A student may give into these influences in order to fit in, according to the AACAD.

The way these social pressures manifest in a student’s actions can contribute to a negative social environment. At times, a teen’s friends may even pressure her to bully or isolate others, or to engage in risky-heavy behaviors, according to the Office of Adolescent Health, an organization under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Although these societal tensions may put a lot of stress on students in their ever-present message to ‘fit in,’ these are not sufficient reasons for girls neglect the welfare of their peers.

The need to promote a wholesome social environment particularly connects with Goal Four, as our school supports the creation of a community in which each individual is valued, respected and cared for. This ideal also connects with our network’s principle of Cor Unum, in which the students and staff under our international community are powerfully interconnected with One Heart.

Unhealthy peer interactions can be an immediate and serious threat to student’s emotional and psychological well-being, and students should take into consideration the implications of their own interpersonal interactions so as to promote a healthy, inclusive social environment that allows our peers to have a socially and academically enriching experience during their four years at our school.