Jill, a white girl from an upper-middle class family, did not see herself as having much influence on others.
Below you will find word-for-word excerpts taken from interviews conducted in 1998 as part of a Facing History and Ourselves evaluation study. Please note that the names have been changed to protect the privacy of the students. Also please note that the voices on the audio recordings are those of actors, and are not the actual voices of the students originally interviewed.
The fall of eighth grade: Jill’s perspective on the precursor to the incident and the incident.
Jill: Sue and I were friends, and Rhonda and Tina were all friends with Sue, and then she started being really rude to me, and just, like, I didn’t like it anymore. Like, she would try and tell me what to do and everything, and when I wouldn’t, she’d get mad.
Interviewer: What kinds of things did she try to tell you?
Jill: Like, to go out with certain people, and, like, if I didn’t, she’d be mad. And, like, she’d talk about me behind my back, and she’d try and make me, like, do things for her or whatever. So, when I stopped, like, talking to her and stuff, Rhonda showed me letters that she’d written about me and stuff.
She was kinda controlling, like she would write letters to me, and if I didn't write back in time, she'd get upset, and it was like-- it was all focused on her. And it was... I just didn't like it. And she would, like, talk about me behind my back, and then say I was her best friend and stuff like that. And she read my diary, and so I really didn't like her anymore.
The Spring of Eighth Grade: Jill’s perspective changes.
JILL: Yeah, that was basically a gang-up against Sue and stuff like, you know. But now, I mean she has different friends and we’re not like enemies but we’re not friends, we don’t talk to each other. I mean like we say hi but. Um everyone, everybody got mad at her. She, I mean, she had a couple friends that- but hardly anybody. But there was a good reason for it. When she was really rude to all of us, she treated me very badly. So as a friend I stopped liking her. And it didn’t have to do with anyone else not liking her. It was just that I didn’t like her and then everyone else stopped liking her.
I think a lot of people stopped because no one else did. No one else liked her.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think you were the first to stop liking her?
JILL: Yeah, no, I really do. I think that, like, I remember the day that it started and I was the one that told her that I was mad at her. And, like, then everybody else stopped liking her.
INTERVIEWER: And do you think that had to do with- because you were mad at her?
JILL: No, I think, no I just think people started to realize how, how rude she was.
I think like I realize how mean we were to her but at the time I didn’t think that it was that big of a deal because she was mean to me, and she had been mean to me, she was getting what she deserved. But now it’s just like, I was childish.
INTERVIEWER: What happened over the course of the year, do you think, to make you change about what you thought about that?
JILL: Well she really felt, I didn’t, I left her alone and I stop talking about her behind her back and just like let things cool off. It was like, it was like she wasn’t there kind of, and so I stop being angry and everything just calmed down. And then this year, um, I think we had to work together on a project in a group and I just, like, forgot it all. I just, like, talked to her, you know, we had to work together and I didn’t feel like going through that.
INTERVIEWER: Were there any apologies made?
JILL: No, no.
INTERVIEWER: And now how would you summarize the way you feel about her?
JILL: She’s nice. I really don’t want to be friends with her anymore. I think it would be too weird. And she’s just not my type, I guess. She’s just not anyone I want to hang around with.
>> What stands out for you about Jill’s perspective on the incident?
>> If you were an adult in Jill's life (e.g. teacher, parent) what would you want her to consider that was not apparent in her perspective on the incident? What if you were one of her peers?