The talk of the halls: Gossip’s grip on the students of CHS

A survey of 45 CHS students from April 26 to
May 2.


A survey of 45 CHS students from April 26 to May 2.

Mackenzie Prince

Whispers and stares fill the halls of Communications High School, oftentimes unbeknownst to those the conversation is about. Despite the smaller student body and close-knit community, CHS is not immune to the incessant cycle of high school gossip.

According to Collins English Dictionary, gossiping is described as an “informal conversation, often about other people’s private affairs.” However, gossiping is far more extreme than that, explained Linda Stade, educator and founder of Linda Stade Education.

“It is insidious. It is easy to initiate, difficult to counter and it can devastate the target,” said Stade. “From an early age, we learn to recognize the power of gossip and as much as we all fear it, we have all been guilty of participating.”

Sophomore Jordan Juliano of Long Branch asserts that, despite knowing the harm it causes, people will still engage in gossip due to its persistent presence in social scenes.

“Gossip is a very damaging and toxic thing to do and it definitely hurts when the gossip is about you,” Juliano said. “However, it is something we have all participated in and you can’t really escape.”

Within high schools, gossiping is incredibly hazardous and, in some cases, detrimental to students’ mental health, according to WordEffect, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the power of words.

“Other studies have shown that the effects of bullying and gossip can be associated with loneliness, depression, anxiety and even suicide,” WordEffect stated. “Gossip pits students against one another. It can fill a room with negative energy and damage the reputations of everyone involved.”

Although CHS purports a small and supportive community free from gossip, junior Maddie Lee of Red Bank believes CHS may actually be more vulnerable to this phenomenon.

“I definitely know there is a lot of [gossip] about people from different grades, especially because it is such a small school,” Lee said. “Stuff gets around real fast.”

However, other students find no difference between gossip at smaller schools and larger schools, like freshman Leigh Batzar of Middletown.

“With any school, there is always going to be gossip within the school and within the grades and different friend groups,” Batzar said.

Guidance Counselor Melanie Sambataro suggests preventing the potential harm gossip can cause by avoiding it altogether, even if it doesn’t appear to be done with bad intentions.

“Gossip doesn’t usually have the intention of being positive and people should really think about who they could harm when they gossip,” Sambataro said. “Then ask themselves why they are wanting to gossip in the first place and try and think of other ways to handle that situation.”