Student describes how miscommunication spreads rapidly in rural small schools

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Kelsey Aultman, Features Editor

A lot of children grew up playing the game telephone. Youth ministers or a camp counselor would use the game to show how quickly rumors and misinformation can spread.
I remember rolling my eyes at this when I was younger, but now that I’m in high school, I finally understand what these people were trying to tell us.
Going to such a small school means everyone knows everyone, so when there is drama or something out of place happens, usually the whole school will know within the first 10 minutes of that specific event happening.
For example, when I was in junior high, I had a class upstairs. Somehow I got ink on my hands, so when I went to the upstairs restroom to wash my hands —I had never used this bathroom before—I walked into the boys bathroom. Of course, there was a high school boy going into that bathroom before I walked out. I was already incredibly embarrassed as I returned to the classroom. I hadn’t been sitting in my seat for more than five minutes after when a boy in my class said he got a text from one of the high school girls telling him I had walked into the men’s bathroom seemingly on purpose. Then, to make the situation worse, just a few minutes later, I was called into the principal’s office to explain why I had been in the boys bathroom.
This is just one example of how fast information can become misinformation and how quickly rumors spread. Although this situation is pretty minor and humorous, many more severe rumors have been spread here.
I know I was very embarrassed and still slightly am; I can only imagine how some other kids feel about the mean-spirited, degrading rumors that have been spread about them. It can be damaging to their reputations and even personal mental health.
Teenagers in general love drama. Even if they’re not starting it, they’ll want to hear about it or talk about it; however, it’s still important to be aware of how words can impact others, and that a lot of the information coming from someone that isn’t a first-hand witness can very likely be twisted or incorrect.