Gossip and rumors are commonplace in our society, taking place and often escalating in workplaces, online, among friends, in the political world, in neighborhoods, community groups and schools. There is a great deal of gossip and rumors that circulate among young people in schools and in digital spaces. Gossip and rumors can be harmful not only to the subject or target of those rumors, but also to others who identify in the same way, those who participate in the rumors and gossip, and the school community as a whole. Oftentimes, the subject of the rumors are people in vulnerable and marginalized identity groups, which can result in the rumors and gossip causing additional or sustained harm, alienation, isolation, and bias.
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to understand what gossip and rumors are, reflect on their own experiences with gossip and rumors and explore how some social identity groups may be more vulnerable to and marginalized by rumors and gossip.