Mackenzie Easlick ‘17 – News travels fast, and sometimes it can feel as if the latest piece of gossip spreads within a matter of minutes. One student can claim they know some crucial piece of information, and suddenly the entire school is buzzing about it. Maybe that is not such a bad thing; the school is conversing, connecting on a personal level, right? The problem is that many find the need to spread false information throughout these channels.

Late last month, RHS experienced an early release due to plumbing issues.

Not long after, students began to claim they knew something more about the “real” reason school was dismissed, spreading rumors throughout the halls. The stories were spreading so rapidly, even Principal Kaufman heard about those rumors and felt the need to address them over the announcements.

Many people wonder why it is so easy for this false information to spread so quickly. One of those reasons being growth of social media. When a student can fabricate a story and share it with a great number of their peers within seconds, people can start overlooking the legitimacy of said claims in the face of sensationalism.

“When a person has the audacity to fabricate a lie to make other people feel negative emotions, it’s just kind of counterproductive,” Cameron Kowalke ‘17 said. “What can you get out of making a story? What’s the point?”

According to nces.ed.gov, 13.2% of students have been subject to rumors during their school careers. There are multitudes of reasons why each individual case occurs, why each student makes up their own version of events and feels the need to share it over the internet. What this doesn’t explain is why it’s taken to be the truth, rather than considered logically. On paper, students seem to understand that not everything you read on the internet is trustworthy. In practice, however, those warnings seem to be forgotten.

The audacity of the last rumor will most likely be forgotten as the next one comes up, and whatever the last one involved will generally be thought about only once in awhile.
Maybe the lesson to be learned is that whatever you may read online or hear throughout the halls should be taken with a grain of salt. Next time you go to tell your pals the newest piece of gossip you saw on Twitter, maybe you should add a disclaimer. Or, even better, maybe you should only discuss things that you have verified information on.

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