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Silver and Gold: Mail Call

Zivia Reischman

Dear Teen Pages, I greatly enjoyed your serial Silver and Gold. I found it to be a masterful portrayal of the teenage social scene…

Thursday, January 19, 2017

D ear Teen Pages,

I’ve been following Silver and Gold, but as the story progresses I am finding the content very disturbing. Of course, I felt terrible for Sheva as she went through her ordeal with her classmates, and hoped for some sort of reconciliation. However, the way things are turning out leaves me feeling that this serial is minimizing the potentially damaging effects of bullying. What Sheva experienced was a very potent bullying scenario — lies, rumors, whispers, exclusion, being made the pariah of the class. That is enough to hurt a teenage girl for life, and yet when Fraida and Leah, active participants in the bullying by their roles of exclusion, ask her for forgiveness, she immediately agrees. It seems that everything returns to normal between them after that. And as soon as Sheva realizes that Adina is the one who orchestrated her acceptance to seminary, she seems ready to forgive her and move on. I find this to be an unrealistic and dangerous portrayal of the realities of bullying.

What Sheva experienced would, in reality, have long-term ramifications to her self-esteem and mental health. It is understandable for her to want everything to go back to normal, but what your readers need to realize is that these girls have inflicted long-lasting damage that cannot be rectified with a simple apology. It is imperative that your readers understand the responsibility these three perpetrators — Fraida, Leah, and Adina — hold. I feel you are giving your impressionable teenage readership an oversimplified resolution and not imparting the true severity of the long-term damage bullying creates. I fear the evils of bullying have been minimized and that when your readers read about the quick forgiveness, they will have less respect for the gravity of the consequences of their unkind actions.
The teen years hold a powerful dichotomy: teens desperately want to be appreciated for who they are as their own unique, individual selves, but they also desperately want to be accepted as part of the group. It’s important to be aware of when you are falling into group-think by default. Remember: in the end, every person is responsible for what they did or didn’t do, regardless of who else was doing it as well, or what justifications they had for doing it.
Mrs. Dickstein (Of Silver and Gold fame)

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