Respect on the Decline
Ashley Segrave - Associate Editor
September 30, 2009
Filed under Features
Respect for authorities is not what it used to be. It could be argued that forty years ago students feared people in positions above them. Although this is not a way to form a healthy relationship with others, it still emphasizes that fact that those in a higher ranking than students have earned their position either through studies, or due to age.
Becky VanValkenburg, Executive Assistant to the Head of School, stated that, “Culture has gradually gotten away from giving authority figures respect.”
Students have forgotten that not everyone is their peer, and seemed to have misjudged the places that they, as teenagers, have in society.
“There is a lack of decorum by some students,” states Betty Richardson, Upper School Administrative Assistant.
However, the culture has made long strides in having people become united on the same playing field, in regards of status. With the new technologies such as Facebook and texting, people have become more informal and relaxed with those that they interact with.
The downfall of this is that students have become less formal, feeling as if they can address their teachers as their peers when, “there should be a healthy respect,” as VanValkenburg states.
An example of a common mistake made by Westminster’s kids, is when asking for a note to go to class. Instead of addressing their teacher as Mr. Jones, students believe that they can just ask for Jones. The only time that this is appropriate would be in regards to a teacher towards a teacher and Richardson validates this belief.
An issue that she has seen at Westminster is that students may enter a room, and instead of giving the proper greetings and introductions they proceed to start firing away questions. It is important to be polite, especially when it is concerned with an environment that people may be entering for the first time.
Although this lack of respect is becoming more common, it is not to say that all students at Westminster behave in this manner. Marty Peters, library chair, emphasizes this point claiming that most students this year have been relatively pleasant and courteous.
Showing respect to adults can go a long way.
“I had two students from Parkway West help me move this summer. I was a little leary when I learned they were two of the top athletes in the school,” said Scott Vonder Bruegge, journalism teacher.
“They had better manners than just about any high school kid I’d ever met. I asked them about it and they essentially said that interacting with adults the way that the majority of their peers made them just look like everybody else. They said they could have gotten a tattoo to be different the same way as everyone around them. Or, they could do something really different and simply go through life saying ‘please, thank you, yes sir and no ma’am.’ I paid them double what I said I would.”