Excerpts from Interview with Lorna

Two students have a conversation.

Lorna, an African American student from an urban, working class family, was not close friends with the other girls in the case study.

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.

Patty | Rhonda | Jill | Sue | Lorna | Teacher

The Fall of Eighth GradeLorna’s perspective on the incident and its aftermath.

Listen to audio


LORNA:  I saw something happen to another girl in the school that I didn't really approve of. 

INTERVIEWER: What happened?

LORNA: Well, there was, like a lot of people - Sue, she was like a center for a target, or whatever.  People like to make fun of her because of past things that happened, like in the sixth grade.  So, I just - like, she didn't do anything to me.  She said - people said that she said something about me, but she didn't say it to my face. So, I just, like, I mean, I'm friends with her - it's nothing - but she's not, like, buddy-buddy, she’s just like, we're just friends or whatever.

I think it was because of, like, not a survey - like, a rumor that happened.  People said that she had said something about them, and that she had started saying something, she had told everybody, and that she wasn't really a good friend, she was a liar and stuff like that.

INTERVIEWER: Do you know what she said?

LORNA: No.  Whatever it was, it had to be pretty bad, because everybody's mad at her still, and it's eighth grade now.

Well, they probably made her feel like she was, I don't know, she had some, like, incurable disease that she would die from, and that if anybody would come near her, they would die, too.  I mean, a lot of people are just that mean that they would just make somebody feel like that, 'cause a lot of people prank called her house, I mean, they wrote mean letters to her and stuff. …I have an idea of who was doing it, but, it was mostly boys, like, the girls would say something nasty about her or whatever, like, behind her back, but they wouldn't go to that extreme, to call her up or write letters or whatever like that.

People are just still, like, making fun of her, and they're just still not hanging around with her.  Well, she has friends, but they've been her friends all along, so I think that's pretty good.

The Fall of Eighth GradeLorna’s perspective on her role in relation to the incident and its aftermath.

Listen to audio


LORNA: I didn't really know her, so I, like, kind of stayed away from her, but, like, this year I just got sick of all the stuff that was happening to her.  So I just, more or less, became more of a friend than I was last year.

INTERVIEWER: And did you do anything about what happened?

LORNA: No, I just wasn't a part of it.

INTERVIEWER: Okay. And how do you feel about that? 

LORNA: Well, if I had been a part of it, then I know that a lot of rumors would have been said about me, that she would have probably not have said, but other people might have said that she had said.

The Spring of Eighth Grade

Listen to audio


LORNA: Like, nobody thinks about it.  Well, they think about it but it's like, they laugh it off or something. So, like, everybody's friends now. So, she, like, sits at our table sometimes. And, like, I mean, everybody's friends now. 

INTERVIEWER: So, everyone who was against her before is friends with her now?

LORNA: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: It sounded like, from what you said, a lot of kids were against her. But you came forward and you were friends, so I wondered what was going on for you? Why did you make that decision?

LORNA: Why not?  I mean, she didn't do anything to me -didn't say anything about me.


LORNA: Just because she said something about my friend doesn't mean I'm going to jump in every time they have a problem.  Like, I don't think it's fair for, like, a whole group of people just to pick on one person. That's just not fair.

Discussion Questions:

>> What stands out for you about Lorna’s perspective on the incident?

>> If you were an adult in Lorna'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?

Search Our Global Collection

Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.