High School Stereotypes Can be Dangerous

Stereotypes Stuck to a Student

In the media saturated world, stereotypes plays an important point for many students in high schools, and with “Mean Girls” style. With the jocks, nerds and teacher’s pet all popular stereotypes; hierarchy and stereotypes are exposed to students at an early age starting a popularity race.

Bell State University researcher, Don E. Merten, was interested by the ‘mean girl’ stereotypes and conducted interviews with junior high students in attempt to find out what caused these popular but mean girls. Merten said that ‘the cliques popularity made it attractive’ and sometimes conforming to the stereotypes turned friendly people into the opposite.

These stereotypes play a large role in how we classify and judge people. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science published a research paper by Raymond Gunn; he found that “strong peer relations … is marginalized by the damaging stereotypes.”

Some schools are becoming aware of a need of combating stereotypes to reduce bullying, as stereotypes increase bullying and the use of power plays to ‘fit in.’ Students from Gunn High school, as part of the Palo Alto ‘Not In Our School’ program, took part in a Dissolving Stereotypes project where they wrote stereotypes such as ‘every Hispanic is a border-hopping Mexican’ and ‘Asian people have no lives’ on paper and dissolved these stereotypes in water.


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