Photo courtesy of Teacher's Digest
Charter Oak High School

Favoritism by teachers: The legend that’s not a legend

Favoritism for certain students by administration and teachers has gained almost urban legend status, but administration insists is not true by any account. However, almost every high school student will claim that it is. Students accuse certain teachers of favoritism while teachers and administration continue to deny the accusation and accuse students of being “overly dramatic” or “too immature to understand fair treatment.” Students are tired of being ignored and of having their complaints minimized.

There are many forms of favoritism, and almost every high school student has experienced it in either a negative or positive way, especially here at Charter Oak. The worst kinds of favoritism include scolding certain students for either eating, talking, or being on their phones while in class, but then allowing certain student(s) to do all three and sometimes will allow them to sit at the teacher’s desk while doing it.

There are also instances where one student gets suspended from school or a sport while the other guilty party receives no punishment at all. For example, during this year’s last football game against Rancho Verde, a fight broke out amongst students and security. Days after the fight, only one student was suspended, while the other students, who were just as guilty, were let off with a warning.

Then there the attitude differences in which certain students will get a kind, warm greeting when they say hello, ask a question or go to talk about how to fix their grade while other students will not receive the same treatment. Many accounts have witnessed a teacher scold a student for talking, and then that teacher talks to a certain favorite while the rest have to do their work.

Corrine Littlefield, junior, said, “Some teachers treat some students completely different if both didn’t complete an assignment.” Sarah Keller, sophomore, gave an example. “There was one girl in my chemistry class who was always absent, and one day we did a lab. She wasn’t there, and while other people that were absent had to make up what they missed, the teacher gave her an A and didn’t make her do it,” Sarah Keller said.

The most annoying type of favoritism is when a student gets his/her phone taken away or sent up to the office or outside for talking and when another student simply getting a warning. Now this is type of favoritism many have experienced, especially at Charter Oak. There is no reason students should be on their phones during class, but if a teacher is going to take one student’s phone away, shouldn’t all students receive equal treatment?

Other students have also recognized inequalities.

“[Students] are allowed to play games on computer, and other kids aren’t,” said Martin Colmenares, junior.

Sophomore Katie Galdamez, said, “When I do all my work and I talk for a little bit, my teachers get mad, but when other people don’t even do their work and talk, the teachers don’t get mad. When I mess up on something and someone else did the same thing, the teacher gets mad at me, and I get marked down. It just really sucks to work hard and not get recognized, or make mistakes and get called out.”

Another claim of favoritism that is often denied involve those involved with sports programs, ASB leadership, or highest grades. Football, basketball or baseball players are favored just because they play for our school. Football and basketball players are often walking around campus during a class period with a group friends, but are never stopped by security or scolded by teachers. When the security or teachers do talk to them, it is about how last night’s game went or to congratulate them on the “big” win.

Multiple individuals complained about favoritism in the athletic department. One student complained, “They only let people who they know to be good on the team without even trying out, and then other people who try so hard do not make the team.” 

“People transfer from other schools because they didn’t make the team and come to our school to take somebody’s spot because they know somebody in the school, like a teacher or a coach,” said another student.

The perception of multiple students is that athletes receive favoritism from faculty. Another student claimed, “Some girls [are] always on the softball team, and no one else is ever given a real chance.”

Students with the highest grades are often treated like royalty by teachers; they do no wrong. They are allowed freedoms because they got A’s on a couple of tests.  

Then there are the ASB students, which are known as the worst of all for receiving favoritism.  

Earlier this year, an incident involved a student and an ASB member. The ASB student received a five day suspension (for a different reason) with no suspension from any other school activities while the other student received a five day suspension AND was kicked off the baseball team. Students were outraged with the administration’s choice of punishment for both students.

Individual have this to say about ASB: “Some students in ASB are given more advantages than others and they are more likely to win like the elections. Also some students should be in trouble for some stuff,” said one student. Another student complained,“In ASB, favoritism is demonstrated by the teacher to her certain students by letting them get off the hook and allowing them not to do anything while others are working.”

“At times I feel like ASB can be so biased towards an individual, which causes conflict because the associated student body is supposed to unite the school rather than polarize it,” a student said.

There was also a rumor that a teacher spoke to one of her favorite students, telling her to run in the ASB elections against a student who had a history with the teacher. There is no proof that this rumor is true, but students didn’t hesitate to believe it.

Gavino Loera, junior, said, “It is obvious that certain staff and teachers allow issues to slide and choose to not acknowledge them just so they don’t have to be caught up in an incident. If people would eliminate the favoritism and more or less enforce equality, there would be less issues.”

This is what COHS principal Joe Strycula had to say about favoritism taking place at Charter Oak, “They (teachers) shouldn’t be treating students differently, but do certain students develop certain relationships with certain teachers, certain coaches, certain administrators, absolutely.”

When he was told that athletes are allowed to walk out of class whenever they desire, he was shocked by the news. “I am not aware of any student that have the authority to walk out of a teacher’s classroom that in session and if they are, that is a big problem

When asked if he had ever received any reports about favoritism of teachers from students, “I have not.” He also goes on to say that if you have a complaint against a teacher, administrator or propter, to come and report the issue.

According to a Google survey, 60 percent of the students strongly agreed that favoritism was a problem at COHS. Thirty-one percent agreed, and five percent were neutral, while two percent disagreed. Students surveyed said that most favoritism is seen in the classroom, and second most is in sports. They then voted that athletes receive most favoritism.

Students should not be treated differently because of their title, grades, religion, sexuality or even looks. According to faculty and administration, every student is treated equally.

According to students, they aren’t.

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