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Spartan Scoop

Spartan Scoop

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Spartan Scoop


How and why freshmen are discriminated against
Tony Hemenway
Students walking in the halls


…this kind of behavior would have never been able to take place in Missoula.


It is no secret that freshmen have always been looked down upon by upperclassmen. 

The freshman themselves may not experience this discrimination directly, although, those in upper grades as well as teachers are keenly aware of how these events may take place. 

With no real answer as to why this treatment has become the norm, interviews were taken from two freshmen who have been at Sentinel for a month.

The first question most would have is quite simple: do the freshmen know about this? Freshmen Ash Gregiore explained their recent introduction to high school life and how they understand this topic. When asked whether or not they have experienced this treatment directly Gregiore claimed this was “not really” the case. They agreed that the treatment was about the same as what they were used to during their middle school years. 

They also participate in theater and gladly explained that those within the theater department treat them quite well. Gregoire does also admit that part of the reason they may have been spared had something to do with them having two older brothers who also attend. 

Although, this does not seem to be an uncommon occurrence as another freshmen had a similar response. “I haven’t had any experience with that so far,” the freshmen confirms, in reference to any bullying that may occur. They have developed friendships with a few of the seniors which they admit could help their case. Though in regards to direct discrimination they have not been the target of, nor a witness to this to any extent. 

Then does it seem that this is all some unspoken rule? All those are able to freely express how they feel towards the freshmen unless they are present? 

Sophomore Dez Mcelraby seems to possess a very strong opinion of the freshmen overall. She goes as far as to call them “loud, not used to high school” and “obnoxious.” This opinion could be considered hypocritical considering Mcelraby was a freshman just a year ago. Although, when confronted by this she defended herself by saying that she held the same opinions about her own grade when they first came to Sentinel. 

This may not be the case of all upperclassmen but Mcelraby certainly speaks as though she has the voice of many behind her. 

One of Sentinel’s science teachers, Terri Murphy, explains that though she has never witnessed bullying she and the rest of the staff are very aware of how the upper grades feel towards the freshmen. She explains that it is something that “has always happened, and will continue to happen.” Murphy also advises that if one were to witness this behavior they should step in to “break the cycle.” 

This kind of behavior is somewhat prevalent and does deserve to be taken seriously. Although it may not be as bad as it seems, considering it is nothing compared to how past generations experienced their years in high school. 

Forty-three year old John Worrall explains that his high school experience (1995-1999) was a very different story. 

During his freshman and sophomore years of high school Worrall attended Frenchtown highschool. He says that during the late 90’s the freshmen would experience far more discrimination than today’s society would allow. 

He claims that during his freshman year he would be frequently harassed by seniors. He recalls that “during lunch break they would spit in people’s food.” He also mentions that harassment was much more outright when it came to boys and much more discreet when it came to the girls. 

This alone was difficult to deal with and once he reached Eureka high school for his Junior and Senior years he says it was a total game changer. 

Eureka high is in a small town outside of Missoula, “about three hours from here.” Worrall transferred at the beginning of his Junior year and said that what happened there was completely different than anything he had already experienced at Frenchtown.

He claims that before the end of the year the soon-to-be seniors would drive around and collect the soon-to-be freshmen to hold a sort of “initiation” for them. This initiation would involve taking the kids out after school bringing them to the woods to “paddle them and have hazing parties.” 

The groups would separate with the boys taking the boys and the girls taking the girls.

Worrall says that the boys would be mocked, shoved, yelled at, and beaten with paddles the boys had constructed during woodshop hours in school. The Junior girls would place the eighth grade girls in a circle where they would have various liquids poured over their heads. 

Those who would participate in this and “take it” without complaining would be accepted as “cool” during high school almost as a reward for going through what they did.

This had already been happening for years and when questioned if legal action was ever taken the black and white reply was no. “It was the ‘good old boy’ mentality,” Worrall explains.

The parents of the children knew and (to an extent) understood what was happening on those nights but saw no problem as “that’s normal behavior. When I was in high school we did the same thing.”

He explained that the reason those were able to get away with it as they did was because it was very old fashioned. “Living twenty years in the past,” he says. 

The reason these actions are no longer tolerated is largely due to schools starting to play a larger role in anti-bullying campaigns. He agrees this is most certainly a wise decision as he would not want his children to be participating in these activities in any way.

 He additionally states that, even back then, this kind of behavior would have never been able to take place in Missoula. 

It has become evident that the treatment of freshmen, though still prevalent, does have the ability to change. It was seen how dangerous the actions of the past were and that cycle did manage to break.

Some might believe the current treatment we give freshmen is wrong, others might think it to be simply a part of growing up. What we see as fair play may be considered cruel by future generations. 

Even so, it is now known that we have the ability to change how we want things to be done if it is seen fit. In reality the deciding factor is quite simple, ‘would I have wanted to be treated differently?’



About the Contributors
Caitlyn Busig
Caitlyn Busig, Reporter
Tony Hemenway
Tony Hemenway, Photographer
"How can the Earth be flat if my life is constantly going downhill?" -Tony Hemenway