by Jethro Swain
At a high school of roughly 300 students, only a fraction of the size of other Portland and Beaverton schools — Lincoln High School has 1,476 — word spreads quickly. When an event or a rumor gets out to the student body, it’s only a matter of time before the majority of students know some version of truth.
The validity of these truths are varied, but everyone seems to know something that they heard from someone.
Recently at OES, it seems like there has been a lot of speculation on acts of misconduct by students — particularly upperclassmen. The blinds in US Head Jordan Elliott’s office have been closed all week, and Dean of Students Kara Tambellini informed me that she’s been busy with meetings since Monday.
“I would say rumors spread quickly, especially because of OES’s policy that leaves the student body in the dark while these events are being worked on. It causes a lot of speculation on what’s happening because the students don’t know and are often left without information for weeks,” said junior Andy S. when asked about how and why rumors spread at the school.
I talked with Jordan about the way OES handles rumors and speculations. “They are just rumors and we need to remember what that means,” he said. “Rumors are based on some truth but aren’t necessarily the truth.”
“As far as informing the students, once things are resolved, then we want to inform people. But there’s a period of time between when something happens and when we make decisions where these rumors are created and spread,” he said.
Jordan is aware of the fact that the students are left in the dark, but, because things change during the disciplinary process, the school can only inform its student body when everything is wrapped up. Until that point people are left to speculate based on what they hear from students, and not teachers.
“If someone who is in trouble tells one of their friends what happened, eventually it spreads and spreads till everyone knows what happened.” said Emilie D.
There was conjecture as early as this Tuesday, with speculation on potential punishments ranging from time-backs to expulsions. It’s only Thursday and already people are learning about which transpired events have happened and the decisions that may or may not have been made by the Disciplinary Committee.
As of now the number of people involved in multiple different events that are being investigated, all erupting at the same time, is unknown.
When asked how many people they thought were embroiled in the events Daniel L. said “everyone is gone, maybe like 100,” Annika L. said, “probably 10.”
“You hear so many things from so many people. Stories get changed and you don’t really know what to believe or what really happened,” said Erin B. “It seems like everyone has already heard what you just heard from someone else.”
It’s safe to say the DC is under a lot of pressure and that they have a lot of decisions to make going forward. “In four years as a DC rep this is the busiest I’ve ever been, by a long shot, and there’s still a lot more we have to do.” said Jared C. the senior rep.
“As an underclassman you find out things later than other people, because it takes time for rumors trickle down and the truth can be changed more because of the time it takes for the younger students to find out what happened from the older students,” said Alex S. “Yeah I agree,” said Luke S.
The timing of the events causes a lot of friction as well. And especially coming off of the police investigation and school announcement right before finals, it seems like the school is in a tough position.
“The most important thing we want people to realize, is that we want to be respectful of the students and families involved because this is a tough process for them to go through,” Jordan told me.
There’s no real way to stop rumors and speculations when students are absent from school, but there is a value of respect that the people involved in the events deserve. As a student body OES should try its best to respect the disciplinary process by keeping assumptions to a minimum.
In the words of Emerson L., “There’s a lot of crazy things going on in the culture these days.”