Students and staff receive rude awakening

Students leave social experiment feeling disappointed.

(left to right) Taylor Smith, Jania Mills, Naomi Moore, Marcus Watkins, Dyamond ____, Jordan Jackson, Jonathan Watson, Savannah DaCosta and Kimi Elmore are pictured above with bruised and bloodied faces. The social experiment was spur-of-the-moment idea that raised many eyebrows and questions among students and staff.

Jessica Louis, Staff Writer

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On Feb. 3, Seniors, Kimi Elmore, Jania Mills, Taylor Smith, Savannah DaCosta, Marcus Watkins, Jonathan Watson, Dyamond McCollough, Jordan Jackson and Naomi Moore conducted a social experiment that caught the eye of a many, but actions from a few.

But before the experiment was conducted, one student, Jania Mills, came upon an observation that she thought was worth further research and analysis.

“Some time ago, my friend that I work with- she told me that she does get abused at home. Her confiding in me made me so upset because I wouldn’t know how that feels,” Mills said.

After this, Mills brought the idea to a group of friends to formulate a question and hypothesis. The question was if the school was a safe and caring environment for victims of domestic abuse.

Members of the group had split ideas, while some thought the make up they’d wear to illustrate symptoms of abuse would incite wide eyes, worry and inquiry, others felt that victims of domestic abuse are often, and would be over looked.

“I thought at first that teachers would notice immediately and do something about it,” DaCosta said.

“We thought we’d just figure out who here at Ola really cares about us, but now it has changed to what are the policies and how are teachers supposed to react,” Elmore said.

On the day of the social experiment, Elmore brought red, purple, an black lipsticks so the demonstrators could depict realistic bruises and blood stains as id they had really been abused.

By fourth period, the demonstrators were shocked and frustrated with the reactions- or lack thereof- that the received.

“Everyone is frustrated right now and I’m trying to calm them down because we’re still trying to get this message across and I’m realizing how important this social experiment really is,”Mills said.

“We got feedback from one teacher who said we were trying to fool people when that’s not the case. This is actually going on, and because of people like you who think it’s just a joke, you are the reason why people don’t speak out about it because you shun them or laugh about it,” senior, Taylor Smith said.

“None of my teachers would make any eye contact with me at all,” DaCosta said.

“It was really bad and kinda sad because I’ve come across teachers and they wouldn’t look at me or ask what was wrong. And even if it does look fake- at least a little bit of concern- but there was no concern from anybody and it shocked me,” McCollough said.

Though many of the students received negative or no feedback, there were some who caught the attention of worried and commending staff.

“My teacher pulled me out of class and asked me if I needed to go to the counselor and if I needed to go wash up. Then I told her about how it was an experiment for abuse in general then she started tearing up,” Smith said.

By the end of the day, the students came to the disappointing conclusion that not enough students and staff cared enough to acknowledge and inquire about what was right in front of them.

“But it’s really sad because I walked past teachers, principals, and lunch ladies and that’s all the feedback I got, Mills said.

Upon further inquiry, Elmore found that teachers were to report incidents and concerns privately, but even then, reports were not made.


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