Rep affects students

Stagg’s reputation causes students to be stereotyped at local convenience stores


“Are you from Stagg?” the security guard asked. “Yes,” my friends and I said.

I felt their eyes, as I walked into the store.

Students are often asked this question as they walk into a store around school, stores like Dollar Tree or 7/11. And I understand why.

It’s embarrassing and, in fact, humiliating but several students steal from these stores on a daily basis. That’s not new to me. What irks me is the generalization students have created for all of us.

Stores require every student to have their ID on at all times when entering one of the establishments. If a student is caught stealing from one of the stores, it is reported to the principal, Andre Phillips. The student then faces the consequences, which I’m assuming is some sort of suspension. But this isn’t my point.

It’s like we’re digging ourselves into a deeper hole. And I say “we” because I’m a student as well, obviously. Although I’m not part of this group of people that steal, their behavior affects all of us. I’ve been asked to take my backpack off, to put my ID on and to wait in line to come inside a store and I know why. I don’t blame the employees for suspecting every student,  because we’ve given them a reason to be suspicious.

I don’t look like a thief yet I’m looked at when I go to the store. I’m followed by a stare, waiting to see if I’ll steal or not. I don’t blame them, I blame us. We caused this. Assumptions are made about all of us, including the ones that remain innocent.

The students have done this to themselves. Maybe there is some unknown reason why students have the necessity to steal; beats me. But it frustrates me why students wonder why they’re asked to take off their backpacks. It frustrates me when they complain about having to wait in line to enter 7/11. Because at one point it was decided that only three students at a time would be allowed inside the store.

Generalization comes with a little bit of truth. That generalization being that students will often steal, leading others to be seen as thieves as well.

The way students are portrayed won’t change overnight. But what can change in a faster rate is they way we behave. Little by little our actions will speak differently of us, as a whole. But only if we all cooperate.