Girls, Boys Differ on Conflict Response

Written by Kendall Hitch an Esther Seawell

In a school filled with more than 1,400 people on a daily basis there are bound to be some personality conflicts; freshman vs. seniors, sophomores vs. juniors, and sometimes teachers vs. students.

   According to a Highlander survey conducted this week for both genders and all grades,  56 percent of boys and 76 percent of girls have had a personality conflict with a teacher.

   The difference lies in how girls and boys handle these conflicts.

   While 28 percent of girls said they would do nothing, 36 percent of boys said they would either act out in class or confront the teacher as a result of the conflict.

   Former Seaholm counselor Dennis Rozema said that these behaviors are on par with basic boy versus girl psychology.

   “Boys will respond where girls tend to take a step back and think,” Rozema said.

   Assistant Principal Deb Boyer said she sees these behavior patterns reflected in the students that are sent to her for discipline.

   “Anecdotally, it’s more males that are sent to me than females,” Boyer said.

   Boyer said the problem isn’t so much disagreeing with the teacher as it is how students handle the disagreement.

   “It’s usually an inappropriate defense that gets them into trouble,” Boyer said. “It’s not that you’re not allowed to defend yourself or give reasons or try to explain, but it has to be done appropriately.”

   Junior Josh Smith said that he does not let conflicts with teachers go unaddressed.

   “I tell them off,” Smith said.

   According to senior Danielle Beauregard, arguing with a teacher is often not worth the effort.

   “I just usually ignore the situation,” Beauregard said.

   Over a quarter of girls agreed with Beauregard and said that they would do nothing in the face of a conflict. According to the Highlander survey 10 percent of girls said they would skip class to avoid a teacher conflict, where 0 percent of boys said they would handle a conflict in this manner.

   “Girls are pretty good at avoiding things,” Rozema said.

   In the context of one week, the Highlander survey reported that girls skip more often than boys. 16percent of girls will skip once a week and 6 percent of boys will skip this often.

   “When I see a student who is constantly out of one specific class, that may be the head to head conflicts,” Boyer said.

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