Chewing gum should be permitted in middle school

Illustration by Antonia Pavoncelli

Since 1848, many middle schoolers have enjoyed chewing the thick, colorful and chewy candy we call gum. Administrators have banned gum however, multiple studies have shown that it can stimulate your brain, help you focus and are beneficial to 

Even though students may deem the chewy substance distracting, scientific research has shown that chewing gum helps focus and exercise your jaw. A study conducted by the Brain and Cognition journal in April 2013 concluded the same results. The participants were told to press a button with the right or left thumb. Each subject had two sessions recorded with or without chewing gum which was odorless and tasteless. Results showed that the average reaction time was meaningfully reduced during chewing. Additionally, after interviewing a number of close friends, most found it beneficial to chew gum while studying. 

However, a few teachers are staying that if students have gum, they will stick gum under tables and/or chairs. One idea is to have a warning system in place similar to technology strikes to those who get caught chewing gum and disposing it in an inappropriate way (under the desk). After the first time, they will get their privileges revoked for a week and will have to peel all the gum from where they placed it. The punishment would get more severe the more times they are caught. That way, people are less inclined to leave a mess. 

However, teachers also have to trust that their students can be responsible enough to not make a mess and leave a mess after chewing gum. According to an article in TeachForAll on how teachers and students should trust each other, the author states “The purpose of schools is to develop a place where all students learn at high levels. In order to achieve this, we must establish meaningful relationships.” So, if students and teachers have mutual trust to do the right thing, the classroom environment will be better for both parties.

 Gum may be sticky and hard to clean but if the administrators put faith in their students and trust that they will do the right thing, then maybe the rule will be revoked. 


About Lana Masri ('27) and Ayla Rafiq ('27)

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