What Happens in Girls Club

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image courtesy of The Two Germanies

By MOLLY KNEFEL

When a teacher attempts to exorcise a class of Mean Girls she finds there’s no such thing

Girls Club did not turn out to be the festival of sisterhood I hoped for.

The first rule of Girls Club— “what happens in Girls Club stays in Girls Club”— was violated at a rate which defied space and time. How were Girls Club secrets leaked to other classmates before the girls even left the room?

It’s not because the kids broke the rule first that I now break it, but because years have passed and the stakes are no longer so high. At the time, I was as invested as the kids were in the drama of our weekly sessions, meant to foster communication and community between 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. My vision was that of early consciousness-raising groups— theirs was, literally, that of the show Bad Girls Club, which, some told me later, was why they signed up. All of our emotions were so charged and volatile, it was impossible to imagine how the drama and gossip wouldn’t define and ruin us forever. The kids were mean girls, after all— an identity I envisioned like a chronic illness, one that had been lying dormant inside them and had to be treated immediately. Even then, symptoms could linger long after.

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