I have always thought that sticking gum on furniture was simply one of those scenes from movies like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”—until I first-handedly experienced the touch of a slimy, slightly wet piece of gum on the bottom of one of the auditorium chairs when I first attended the new student orientation at SIS in sixth-grade. Within the first few weeks of school, I experienced another culture shock when I found out that many of my peers simply left remnants of their snacking goods without cleaning up after themselves.
Of course, we were sixth-graders, so it is understandable that many of us were accustomed to our mothers cleaning up after us. However, by the time one transitions into high school, there are no acceptable excuses for leaving behind trash in classrooms, floors, or any given area.
Some of us may have never done the laundry or washed the dishes by ourselves. Nonetheless, such a fact does not legitimize the littering that is rife in our school—it merely accentuates the existing stereotype of the distinct privilege of SIS students who do not take responsibility in throwing away their own trash.
My misery upon seeing certain trash comes in many different levels. To be honest, I do not mind throwing away empty plastic bottles for my fellow students. However, once that item crosses the red line of sanitary conditions— such as wet gum or huge chunks of cookies––that sight places me in a state of total despair.
Teachers always threaten students that the littering in classrooms can lead to the removal of the snacking rule. But what about the students who have never left behind trash? What about the students who always recycle their plastic bottles? Although it may be just a few people littering, the repercussions of their actions reaches all levels of the school: hungry students who have never littered, teachers, as well as the cleaning staff who ultimately have to clean everything up for us.
As developing adults, I hope that we refrain from sticking gum on chairs or leaving cookie wrappers for someone else to clean up. No one wants your wrapper “gift,” despite any good intentions you may have.