Cliques are small groups of between two and twelve individuals. Cliques are small enough that the members feel that they know each other better than do people outside the clique. Members of a clique share common activities and friendships. They are social settings in which adolescents hang out, talk to each other, and form closer friendships. Groups of friends, called cliques can be important for social upgrading, but in most cases the enormous power and effects of these cliques can create alienation, exclusion, and destructive results.
In my high school, as well as every other high school in America there are social groups of individuals, called cliques, that effect every individual whether they are an insider or an outsider. Generally there are the cool cliques, the athletic cliques, the freak clique, the skater clique, the smart clique, and the average clique. Almost everyone finds their place in one of these cliques, but there are always a few outsiders who go through high school never knowing where they belong. these are the people who are constantly ridiculed, picked on, and talked about day in and day out.
The effects can be devastating, even deadly. In Littleton, Coloraldo two outcast teenagers came into school one day and began shooting, targeting the athletes and other students who had made their lives awful by ridiculing them constantly. Seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold stormed their suburban Denver school with guns and bombs last April 20, killing 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives(Kenworthy 1). Augustana University education professor Larry Brendtro explained kids who feel powerless and rejected are capable of doing horrible things(Cohen 4).
A high school student, Jason Sanchez understands why the two outsider snapped by saying If you go to school, and you dont have friends, it drives you to insanity(Cohen 4). So what do these lonely outcast kids do if they are rejected by everyone Roger Rosenblatt discusses in his article, Welcome to the Works of the Trench Coat, how kids will discover self-worth by hating an enemy(Rosenblatt 1). The kids of Columbine for example look alike; they conceal differences. People who are attracted to clans and cults seek to lose their individuality and discover power and pride in a group.
As individuals, the killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were vulnerable, taunted by the other tribes in school– the cliques, the athletes– as geeks and nerds(Rosenblatt 1). The end result as a young girl involved in the murders reported was, He just put a gun to my head, and he started laughing and saying it was all because people were mean to him last year(Rosenblatt 1). The social warfare of cliques has no limits or boundaries; anything can and will happen. Columbine High School is only one example of how high school cliques can be damaging to teenagers.
At Glen Ridge High School a group of jocks raped a retarded woman. In that attractive upper-middle-class New Jersey suburb, thirteen jocks were present in the basement where the young womans body was penetrated by a baseball bat and a broomstick. The country was sickened by the inhumanity of a bunch of guys who were among the most admired and envied young men in their community and high school (Lefkowitz 653). These star athletes were not even afraid of being punished. They told their friends and schoolmates of the incident not trying to hide it at all.
Athletes are treated as kings of the school. This is not only true for the athletes, but for the cheerleaders too. In the article by Adam Cohen he says While others plod through high school, they glide: their exploits celebrated in the pep rallies and recorded in the school paper and trophy cases(Cohen 2). Another high school student Blake McConnell says that The jocks and the cheerleaders have the most clout, they get out of punishment — even with the police. Joe Blow has a wreck and has been drinking, and he gets the book thrown at him.
The quarterback gets busted, and he gets a lighter sentence ( Cohen 2). How does this prepare the so called stars for the real world whenever they are just an average working man How does this make the normal and less special students feel What about the smart people, where is their recognition for all their hard work and success Cohen noted that assemblies to honor the best students rarely lasted twenty minutes. The school yearbook displayed ten photographs of the most mediocre football player. But the outstanding scholar was lucky to get one grainy photo ( Lefkowitz 654).
This is leaving the impression on many teens that the jocks are superior while everyone else is below them. What kind of lasting impression will this leave on the kids Lefkowitz stated in her essay, I received hundreds of letters from people, some in their seventies and eighties, who recalled how excluded they felt when their schools anointed one group of guys as leaders(Lefkowitz 654). High school teaches us all many important lessons that stay with us all through our life, and sometimes the lessons inside the classroom are the least of it. High school is a chance for us all to invent ourselves.
High school for me was the best of times, even though when I was still in school and someone told this to me I just thought they were crazy. My senior prom, the football games, the pep rallies, and even the trouble I got into are all memories that I will look back upon for the rest of my life and just think how great life was then. I guess though while I was caught up in all the fun and games of high school I never stopped and noticed all the people being left behind. The people who remember high school as pain and suffering. The outsiders that we all picked on not stopping to realize what we had cost them, the best years of their lives.