With students you’re either in or out of their cancel culture


Canceled (adj.): to be over or done with.

“After the teacher’s comment about my project I canceled her from my class schedule” – a middle school student, Class of 2025

As a substitute teacher, I have a great relationship with 95 percent of students I teach. It used to be 99 percent until I was canceled.

The 5 percent no longer had a need for my class repertoires which includes rapping, teaching the kids to rap, purposely reading attendance names incorrect and dancing to the “Double Dutch Bus” at the end of class if everyone behaves. While getting work done, my classes are a happy fest.


But, the day I was called “Ok Boomer” it was over for me.

“OK Boomer” is a pejorative retort used to dismiss or mock perceived narrow-minded, outdated, negatively judgmental, or condescending attitudes of older people, particularly Baby Boomers.

Welcome to the Cancel Culture. It’s the embodiment of being the judge of your own life, but mostly the judge of others. As a trend, you can call Cancel Culture a student’s way of “digitally organizing” opinions of “stan” (teen slang for overzealous fans), and “obsession” over something or someone we like and cancel those we do not. One careless action can take a student from beloved to hated, and could end childhood friendships. Teen spectators of everything from pop culture to world events bask in the power that is the Cancel Culture.

Getting to know Cancel Culture won’t just improve your connection to your kids and their social experiences, but it will widen your understanding of the direction their world is headed. The idea of being canceled can translate beyond the classroom to college and eventual first workplace.


Cancel Culture moves quickly. It waits for no one and rarely warrants any explanation. The spectrum of cancelable offenses varies by individual and group. On the social level, another student could say something that offends your child and they decide to cancel them. In the pop-culture world, if a celebrity disses your teen’s favorite rapper, they may decide to cancel them from their orbit. To your kid, they no longer exist.


While it’s unfortunate that our world reduces people to one sole act, the level of accountability it sets on people is admirable. Within teen social situations, most people are canceled for super-objective actions. Cancel Culture turns human beings into shooting discs—totally fine one minute and then gone in the blink of an eye. But human beings, especially ever-evolving teens, are far more complex than Cancel Culture gives consideration for. – South Florida Mental Health Counselor Lori Moldovan, RMHCI

Because Cancel Culture is so very fast, it’s vital to realize if your child canceled someone or even if they have been canceled, it was likely impulsive and not fully investigated. Obviously, Cancel Culture does not define your child; rather it marks a moment in their life.


Cancel Culture can seem very negative, but this teen-created concept can bring forth positive changes in real life. One benefit is that students have banded together to cancel actions that were never okay.

Teens have canceled rape culture, racism, sexism, climate change, bullying and gun violence to name a few. Cancel Culture has led to national movements and if nothing else, that’s a reason to be proud of Cancel Culture and teens’ active and fearless ability to use it.

While rapid and ruthless, Cancel Culture is real and relevant. It’s not going anywhere soon, so it’s time to understand it. Perhaps in the near future, I can “get back” my previously canceled 5 percent.

This column is by Ritchie Lucas, Founder of The Student Success Project and Think Factory Consulting. He can be reached at 305-788-4105 or email at ritchie@thinkfactory.com and on Facebook and You Tube as The Student Success Project. Lori Moldovan RMHCI can be reached at 786-747-2855. She works with adults, couples, teens and children with a wide-range of mental health issues.

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