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Students’ Responses to Trigger Warnings in the Classroom

Photo courtesy of Meredith College

Following The Meredith Herald’s previous article highlighting professors’ views about using trigger warnings in their classrooms, several Meredith students were also interviewed about their opinions. From these interviews, it is clear that students feel trigger warnings are important. To student Charlie Hatch, ‘23, “it’s important for trigger warnings to be incorporated so that the class can get mentally prepared to have [a] conversation” surrounding a sensitive topic. Stella Bowers, ‘23, also stressed the importance of trigger warnings, saying, “by offering a trigger warning before talking about something, you can give [students] an opportunity to leave the situation.” Juno Montgomery, ‘24, stated, “[Trigger warnings] can benefit the Meredith community by creating a more compassionate and understanding environment that…allow[s] students to avoid topics that are sensitive to them without forcing them to disclose personal trauma to teachers that they do not have a close relationship with.”

When asked about her experience with faculty not providing trigger warnings, Bowers recalled a time when a professor made her class watch a video and didn’t give any warnings for the content it contained. She wishes they would have given a warning beforehand because it upset her greatly. Bowers explained this discontent by saying, “I think what upset me the most is how the content caught me off guard. I really respect the professor who assigned this and know they didn’t mean any harm.” Her sentiments were shared by other interviewees like Montgomery, who stated, “I think that trigger warnings are important because we never know what people have been through, and a simple heads-up allows them to maintain their dignity and mental health in an academic setting. ”

Based on what both students and faculty have shared, trigger warnings in classrooms would benefit the campus in significant ways and are long overdue. Through enhanced conversations, focusing on being more sensitive to students’ experiences and being aware of the importance of trigger warnings, classrooms will become more trusting, progressive and comfortable for all students.

By Rachel Van Horne, News Editor, and Freya Dahlgren, Staff Writer


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