School Common Ground


Kathryn Kozisek, Community Events Editor

The age gap between high school and middle school is not much, but maturity wise, these few years make a big difference. During these years, kids grow up and mature so much in such a short amount of time.  

The middle schoolers feel the need to fit in with their older peers. Looking up to your upperclassmen is normal and it’s how we learn, but when two extremely different age groups get combined without any structure or guidelines, it can be detrimental to how they grow up. 

Grade-Mixing and Body Image.

Many middle school students haven’t gone through puberty yet or are in the process of it, so they just dress differently than a lot of high schoolers. When middle schoolers are peers with high schoolers, they can assume that they need to dress like the high schoolers so they can feel like they fit with the trends.

“It’s changing so many people’s body image.” Dani Doyle, a Timnath sophomore, tells us. 

Lydia Coleman, a freshmen student added, “Your body won’t look the same [as a high schooler] as it did when you were twelve.” Your body is going to change as you get older especially during your middle school years.”

Body dysmorphia caused by body image issues can cause eating disorders and depression because they don’t and can’t look the way they want to because they haven’t hit that stage in their life yet.

Clothes that I have seen middle school students wearing around the halls are so much more inappropriate than any other school I have ever attended or been to. Part of that might be because of social media influence, but many high scholars agree that we might also partially be at fault because of what we choose to wear, do, and discuss at school that just isn’t appropriate for a school that we share with eleven-year-olds.

Trying to mature too quickly to fit in with an older crowd is causing many problems. 

All the students and teachers I talk to are concerned that the younger students at are school are hearing conversations between high schoolers that are not appropriate for them. “I don’t want it to lead to drug and alcohol abuse.” Dani Doyle continues her previous statement.

“The complications from blending grade groups is something I see in clubs as well,” high school English teacher Halboth stated. “My Adventurer’s Guild Club is open to both middle and high schoolers, and we’ve run into issues about language and mature content, and how we navigate what is age-appropriate for different students. We’ve implemented maturity ratings for the campaigns so we can determine which games need to be high schoolers only and which are appropriate for middle schoolers to play.”

What can be done?

We obviously can’t just separate the schools into a high school and a middle school, so I’m not sure what the solution should be. But I do know middle schoolers are being introduced to different items, ideas, and topics at a far younger age than they normally would or should be.

At the very least, I don’t understand why sixth graders are right next to the high schoolers. Maybe we need to move the sixth graders over towards the foreign language classrooms so they’re grouped with the seventh graders. Putting high schoolers next to eighth graders seems to make the most sense.

High schoolers and middle schoolers both need to understand that we are at different developmental stages. Even though we’re in the same school, we are two different age groups, and we need to be careful about what behaviors are being encouraged for younger students.