MCPS: Students Lead a Panel and Activities to Address Gaslighting

by MCS Staff

Per MCPS: Students at Bethesda Chevy Chase High School (BCC) took the initiative to organize, over the period of two months, lectures, performances, and panel discussions to unwrap the effects of gaslighting in their school and their communities (video available here).

“It’s important for the school system to address gaslighting because their students, whether we like it or not, are facing gaslighting through parental figures, teachers, even their colleagues, and their peers,” BCC student Jeremy said.

The goal is for students to be more aware of the ways that people try to get them to question their identity, their choices, and their realities, according BCC teacher David Lopilato.

As part of the initiative, the students invited Superintendent Dr. Monifa B. McKnight and other guests to participate in a panel discussion called “Gaslighting, Prejudice, and Racism: Three-generations of struggles and successes.”

“I believe that our students cannot learn unless we create those spaces to make them feel welcome, safe, and valued in our schools,” Dr. McKnight said.

The first student to desegregate BCC, Doctor Betty Holston Smith, class of 1959, was also part of the panel. She shared her experience as the only African American student in the school back then.

According to Merriam-Webster, Gaslighting is the “psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.”


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