The Decoders Podcast: Talking about the Tupac “Wake Me When I’m Free” Exhibit

Hosted by MARCO GARCIA GARCIA, SYDNEY HAMMONDS and CARLIE GONZALEZ

7 minute listen

Twenty students from Orangewood High School took a field trip to the Tupac Shakur “Wake Me When I’m Free” Exhibit in Los Angeles on April 27. Carlie Gonzalez, junior, asks Marco Garcia Garcia, junior, and Sydney Hammons, senior, about their experience visiting the exhibit and about Tupac overall.

Opinion: Students need a better system to report inappropriate staff behavior

By SPENCER MOORE

In eighth grade, the students in an honors science class were quietly finishing a water cycle worksheet as their ears catch the sound of a young man, watching a YouTube video on his phone. The piercing silence was perforated by this sudden blast of car noises, coming from the video the boy was watching. The teacher, frustrated by this mild act of defiance, grabs a chair nearby her desk, thrusts it above her head, and slams it onto the floor, creating a deafening roar. This was one of the first instances in which students suddenly realized that teachers needed to be held more accountable for their actions. From the perspective of the students in this classroom, this teacher received no consequence for their inappropriate behavior, and continued instruction the next day.

This event shaped much of the student body’s perception of this teacher. It was one of the first times in which students realized that as they get older, they must be treated as such, as with the increased responsibility of growing up, it also comes with a greater need for mutual respect. Across the district, many examples of teachers overstepping their boundaries have occurred either at the elementary, middle, or high schools. There are teachers who use their authority to silence discussions outside of what they believe to be true, not to mention the problematic power dynamics that exist in the intrapersonal relationships that the students have with their teachers. Any opinions shared by students are lambasted by these specific teachers, almost to the point of public mockery. While it is cruel and unhelpful to defame or otherwise degrade the character of these teachers on a public scale, this is illustrative of a greater trend at the Redlands Unified School District.

Currently, students have no official way to evaluate their courses, nor report teachers specifically for their inappropriate behavior. The only format for students to voice their concerns is through their assigned counselors, who have been known to, on numerous occasions, dismiss the concerns of the student and write it off as teenage angst and attitude.  It is crucially important, however, that the district establishes a secure line for students to evaluate their courses.

Not every poorly behaved teacher is acting in these extreme manners, though, as there are some who simply do not input grades regularly, give unstructured and unfocused lessons, and have personal issues that bleed into their teaching responsibilities. One major way for teachers to be evaluated is through standardized testing, whether it be at the district, state, or national level. This has its own problems though, as many students suffer from test anxiety, and others don’t pay attention to instruction, it is not fair for the quality of a teacher to be judged through the work their students complete.

Most major collegiate level institutions already have a system for evaluations of courses directly by the students, so why shouldn’t high schools? Many opponents of this idea have brought up the fact that college students are acting as customers of their school, but high school students are not, therefore they should not be permitted to review a service that they do not pay for. This equivalency is false as by federal law, all minors are required to receive some form of schooling. If they do not, the parents and/or legal guardians will be fined and in some extreme cases, the children are taken from their homes. If students are required to attend a school, would it not be more imperative that they are able to share their thoughts and concerns? Not all of these evaluations are needed for reasons as innocent as simply not doing their job very well, sometimes the behavior requires further measures to cease inappropriate personal conduct.

The SpriGeo system, buried under tabs and links on the district and school websites, has been recently put into place to address harassment concerns on campuses but it is not specifically designed for reporting of interactions and behaviors of teachers and other staff members. Many students feel that they still do not have a secure line to specifically address the issues that come up with campus staff.

The system further has problems lying in the fact that in the actual report filing program, it states that their grade should be listed, if known, and it suggests that students talk to an administrator, completely negating this premise of anonymity, not to mention how it asks for the person reporting the issue’s name. While optional, it may lead students to believe that the promise of anonymity is misleading. This ignorance of teacher harassment and misbehavior further isolates the student from putting a stop to the issue.

Teacher accountability is not limited to only the behavior that they exhibit in their instruction though, as it also extends to the personal relationships they share with students. RUSD has paid over 41 million dollars within the last five years in settlement money for sexual harrassment lawsuits alone. This number far exceeds any competing figures in other school districts. Unprofessional and off putting behavior could have been reported earlier, possibly even stopping some of these cases from ever occurring. If the school district decided to create and heavily publicize lines of help for these specific instances we would likely have a great deal fewer cases of this abuse. The SpriGeo system, while a step in the right direction, needs further improvement and clarification as to what types of reports it accepts.

The board of RUSD are elected to their offices by local citizens, to serve the adults of the community and their children, while providing the highest quality school environments they can, as it is crucial to the benefit of their education to give students a safe and secure place to learn. It is the campus staff and teacher’s job to keep their students safe and provide them with the highest possible level of quality in education, which also includes a good environment for students to work in. 

An image of the safety section of the RUSD 2025 plan. Other sections of this plan can be found at RUSD.net

The district pushes forward its ‘RUSD 2025’ plan, and while to the general populace, this is regarded as a step into the right direction, and even into the future, it makes very little substantive progress in regards to the safety of students. The 2025 plan does make mention of safety in Redlands schools, but frames every point made in regards to safety as an outside issue, as opposed to pointing the lens of misbehavior upon itself, which unfortunately is where most of the danger lies. Excellence in education may be the district slogan, but it certainly is not the district standard.

Correction: The last two paragraphs and image were accidentally omitted in the original publishing of this post at 8:30 pm on May 12, 2022. It was corrected at 9:13 pm on May 12, 2022.

Opinion: A holistic college process is necessary

By JAZUI MEJIA

CollegeBoard suffered through two grueling years, but alas, high school juniors are taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test once again. As students bubble in their information on their registration papers, they chat amongst themselves, many admitting that whatever score they receive on the exam, they will not be submitting to colleges. 

If the pandemic brought students one benefit, it was the test-optional phenomenon where universities now give first-year applicants the option to not submit their SAT if they do not believe it will reflect their strengths as a student. All University of California schools and California State Universities officially do not require SAT or ACT scores and private institutions vary. Nonetheless, the majority of private or out-of-state schools have gone test-optional, from schools like the University of Redlands to the infamous Harvard University. If this is the case, why are a concerning number of students reporting that their teachers are claiming that private and out-of-state schools do require the exam for admission? 

Paige Williams, a senior at Redlands High School was recently accepted into the University of Redlands, yet she has never taken the SAT. “I would say that the experience of applying to colleges has been much less stressful. I don’t think that standardized testing such as the SAT should be used to gauge a student’s academic ability and intelligence” says Willaims. She goes on to argue that, “Colleges and universities should start to use SAT scores as placement tools rather than admissions criteria.”

Once again, the same question is asked: why are educators lying to their students about the college admissions process despite having access to the most accurate information and the latest resources for this matter? There can only be a couple of answers, and those answers reveal the grueling realities of our educational system. First, educators around the nation could be inheriting the responsibility of saving the CollegeBoard’s SAT as it quickly declines in popularity and need. Second, educators hold an internal stigma against this unconventional route of applying for college and are not ready to see a holistic approach to college admissions. Now, what exactly is a “holistic approach”? When it comes to college admissions, this means that college admissions officers will look closely at a student’s extracurriculars and accomplishments outside of the classroom as opposed to a student’s test scores or grades. In essence, taking holistic approaches can benefit both students and colleges, as they will be providing broader opportunities for students based on their character and how that character melts in with the culture of a particular school. 

During these crucial times when the SAT is constantly being challenged or debated, it is imperative that students understand what options are available to them and how necessary the SAT is for them personally. The same should apply to colleges, considering that looking at a student’s personal accomplishments is much more telling than any other aspect of their application. For example, an NYU applicant with a score of 1500 on the SAT can ironically never guarantee that the student understands gentrification in New York City. However, a different applicant’s involvement in a social justice-based club is more likely to comprehend not only gentrification, but a variety of other social issues on college campuses and can perhaps even be of great assistance to that institution’s community one day. If such methods of admission are practiced constantly, colleges will secure an enriched student body because their students have been and will continue making the world a better place. 

This shift in mindset should not just take place amongst college administrators, it must be promoted primarily at high schools. Encouraging AP classes and the SAT/ACT make up the majority of a school’s recommendations for college-bound students while participation in activities or community service is nothing more than an afterthought. Instead of meeting with students to only discuss their class choices, counselors should get to know their students and inform them of clubs or service opportunities that align with their interests. Counselors should also speak with students on how they can highlight the extracurriculars they are a part of on their application with more intention, Many times, students do not realize the power of extracurriculars until they reach their senior year and are scrambling to engage in any activity that will allow them to access to scholarships and grants. Nonetheless, students can only be blamed so much when schools are telling them that by solely focusing on their endeavors within the classroom, they are on the perfect path to their dream school. 

Changing systems is never an easy task, but with the concept of the “new normal” reaching the college admissions process, there is simply no other choice. Each group, be it students, teachers, or administrators all have a role to play in making the college process the best it can be. All groups should align themselves with the holistic review, inform each other on what that looks like, and feel confident in the unique abilities of each applicant. It will be a collective effort to unlearn any internal stigmas and detach from fiercely competitive academics, but it will surely result in students seeing intentional (and mentally stable) professional futures. 

Opinion: Students need a weekly mental health break

By MEL MAGANA FRANCO

School is draining. Any student can agree, some more than others. 

“It’s draining because you wake up in the morning everyday and go to school for how many hours, six to seven,” says Niamonie Calloway, junior at Orangewood High School.

Students work, deal with family issues and some play sports. A break is well deserved. It would help students stay in a more calm state of mind. 

Students are the new generation coming up. It’s a lot of pressure on adults, of course, to make sure we are great individuals. But students, as kids and teens, we feel pressure. We feel like we have to meet everyone’s expectations and we become stressed. Everything is new to us.

We deserve at least one mental break weekly from all the thinking and the expectations and all of the worry.

Research shows that academic stress leads to less well-being and an increased likelihood of developing anxiety or depression. Students who have academic stress tend to do poorly in school. This mental health day will be a good thing for students’ future and mental health.

Having a mental health day off will encourage students to come to school when there is school. Students don’t come to school because they are drained or have higher priorities to deal with. With a mental break day, they will wait just for that day to come so they can get it out of the way. If you look at attendance around scheduled breaks, like Spring Break, the week before and after students are more likely to attend because they know they have that break. When there is school for days and weeks on end, students feel like there isn’t a break so they start to miss school. With scheduled mental break days, students will be more encouraged to show up to school.

It is true that some students may take advantage of this. Yes, some students may still not show up on scheduled school days. The school can make a rule that if they miss school without an actual good excuse, they can’t take the mental health day because it will be replaced with a make-up day. A few teachers on a rotating basis will be on campus on these mental health days for those students who need to make up missing work from an unexcused absence.  Those who showed up during scheduled school days should get the mental health break.

Students not only need a break, but would benefit from a mental health day off each week.

Opinion: Students should be able to excuse their own tardies

By ANDREW SIMMONS

There is an issue in high school attendance: tardiness.

There are many reasons students will not show up to school on time, as well as why students should be able to excuse their own tardies.

Mental health

Students may be dealing with mental health issues at home of which they don’t feel comfortable disclosing with school staff.

They could be living with depression and having trouble finding the motivation to get out of bed.

They could have obsessive-compulsive disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or other disorder, any of which can affect what time a student wakes up and what time they are ready for school in the morning.

Transportation

There is an assumption that all students have a way to get to school on time, but many students have compromised means of transportation and or live a further distance from the school than most students

A majority of high school students do not have their learner’s permit/driver’s license and many students or their families also do not have cars. A few examples of why students may not have access to a license or car include not being able to afford it, not being permitted by their guardian to do so, or simply being too afraid and not wanting to drive.

Some students have to bike safely up and down hills and through car-busy highways and roads, take city busses or even use costly ride-share apps.

Family size

Schools tend to neglect the fact that many students have many siblings, all in different age ranges, attending schools with different starts times, as well as possibly living in a one guardian household.

It would not be unreasonable to accept the verity of limited time in the morning. With this in mind, there is the challenge of trying to get every child in that family admitted to school on time every single day. No matter how prepared and organized a large family may be, there can always be unexpected obstacles like a traffic jam, or a type of mechanical error with their vehicle. 

Are students responsible and trustworthy enough to excuse their own tardies?

While it is understandable for teachers and staff to be skeptical about the very real possibility of students abusing the ability to call in sick, it is also important to note that the trust between students and teachers is generally strained due to prejudice from teachers towards students that are late or miss school frequently.

More than often, instead of trying to figure out why their students are missing school hours, the teacher will give the student unneeded and discouraging discipline. Students that get punished for something they had no control over may be less inclined to take responsibility the next time they could have control over their situation.

Many students, contrary to many adult beliefs, have very real and very complicated issues. Some of these problems, students might not be willing to share with teachers, especially in front of their peers during class time, which is more than often the time and place teachers choose to confront late students. This is a very disconcerting and uncomfortable situation that is far too familiar to many young adults in highs school. One could argue that a more appropriate time and setting to address the tardines of a student would be after class when the student is no longer occupied or in the presence of an audience of their peers.

Teachers may find that in listening to their students, they will also find understanding. Sympathy for students can go a very long way, and they may be less inclined to lie about their whereabouts, or wander the school halls with meandering minds.

The denigration of students’ personal issues is a disease among schools. The allowance of young adults to be trusted and involved with the responsibility of attendance issues may lead to a more adamant will to attend school and attend on time, of course keeping the issue of transportation in mind.

Ultimately, trusting the judgment of high school students for calling in to excuse missing class time in advance could gradually diminish tardiness. Allowing students the responsibility to excuse their own tardies may motivate an initiative in students to protect that responsibility by not abusing it.

Opinion: Students can help stop the spread of bullying

By ANGELINE ASATOURIAN

Content warning: This article mentions teen suicide.

“No one heals himself by wounding another.” -St. Ambrose

Hand drawn and colored image of how a student feels when being bullied. (AYEISHA FORDHAM/ Ethic News art)

Bullying is a serious problem not only across the United States, but also in communities that we live and go to school in. There are a lot of ways that students can prevent and help a victim of bullying, from just thinking before you post or speak to seeking resources or help from an adult.

There are many different effects of bullying, from distractions to tragedies. Students should not have to be worrying about what other people think about what they wear, who they like or how they look. Bullying can cause a lot of chaos, drama, and lead to fights in school, when school should be about having fun while getting an education. 

In the worst cases, bullying can lead to suicide. Bullying is the leading cause of suicide in the United States for the ages of 11-17, according to Americashealthrankings.org. It is a huge problem across the United States. According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “In the past decade, headlines reporting the tragic stories of a young person’s suicide death linked in some way to bullying (physical, verbal, or online) have become regrettably common.” 

Students should try to help anyone who is being bullied. Words and actions can help prevent it from continuing or getting worse. 

Actions you can take if you or someone you know is being bullied:

If you see something, say something 

If you see someone being made fun of, you should get an adult involved to stop the process. 

If you are being bullied, tell a trusted adult 

If feel you are being made fun of in a way that you makes you uncomfortable or you are afraid for your safety you could go to the office or the adult you trust the most. 

Image created using Canva. (DEBBIE DIAZ/ Ethic News image)

Questions to ask yourself if you or someone you know is being bullied:

How can I help? 

Who is someone I can trust to assist? 

What could be the outcome if no one says anything? 

Actions you can take to prevent or help stop the spread of bullying:

Don’t start or continue rumors about others

Even if you did not start the rumor, do not continue it. Whether or not you believe that the rumors are true, do not continue them.  

On social media, think before you post 

Social media has been being used for many things and one can include bullying. Before you press that post button, think about the effects of what you are posting. 

Image created using Canva. (DEBBIE DIAZ/ Ethic News image)

Questions to ask yourself when speaking or posting about others: 

Is it true? 

Is it kind? 

Is it directed against someone?

Everyone can play a role in helping their families, friends and peers so students can get an education safely without the acts of bullying on campus. 

More resources that can help:

For information on who to contact and how to approach a bullying situation: 

https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/get-help-now

For cyberbullying resources go to:

https://internetsafety101.org/cyberbullyingresources

More resources for educators and families created for helping children being bullied: 

For Redlands Unified School District bullying resources: 

https://www.redlandsusd.net/Page/10701

Opinion video: Is Thanksgiving being overshadowed by Christmas?

Directed by MIYAH SANBORN, KENDRA BURDICK and AVA LARSON

Filmed by KENDRA BURDICK

Featuring SPENCER MOORE and AVA LARSON

With Christmas music, decorations and festivities often beginning in November, Christmas is sometimes believed to dominate the holiday season. Ethic News staff members Ava Larson and Spencer Moore debate if Thanksgiving is given less attention due to its close proximity to Christmas. 

(KENDRA BURDICK/ Ethic News video)

Opinion: High schools focus too much on four-year universities

By CRAIG MORRISON

Is college the only choice after high school?

In most schools, there is too much of an emphasis on a four-year university and not enough on other opportunities. Some of these opportunities could include trade schools or jobs that only require a high school diploma. Receiving a college education can create a huge student loan debt and this can take a while to pay off.  

An image of an electrical board that an electrician may work on. This is just one of the many careers that are available out of high school.

“File:IL-76-electrican-panel.jpg” by Vivan755 is licensed with CC BY-SA 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

One negative aspect of a four-year university is the student loan debt. The price of a universities’ degree can be massive, even with financial aid. According to U.S. News, most college graduates have around $30,000 student loan debt. EducationData says it takes an average of 20 years to pay off. These numbers can be persuasive in the argument questioning the necessity of college.

An alternative to going to college is getting a job with a high school diploma. Jobs such as plumbers, insurance sales agents, patrol officers and electricians all require only a high school diploma. These jobs range from 30K-50K without the need for a college degree, as reported by U.S. News. The money made from this also won’t be going towards paying off the college debt; another reason for its benefit.

Another opportunity besides a university is a trade school. At a trade school, people can earn an associates degree in two years and then start their skilled profession. This is much faster than a four year university and it will provide you with more hands-on experience. The price varies by school but they cost an average of $33,000, according to BestColleges. They can last from three months to a year for a diploma and 18 months to 24 months for an associate degree. This is a noteworthy alternative that is not discussed much in high schools.

In schools, students need to be more aware of these opportunities that they have. Counselors and teachers are more focused on promoting college pathways for students, rather than trade schools or jobs. This can be fixed by integrating discussions about trade schools or having pamphlets with job information available. This would allow students to gain the information they need while also keeping the college pathway available.

In most high schools, there is too much focus on attending a four-year university. There is little talk about opportunities such as trade schools and jobs that require a high school diploma. These options can be more beneficial or attractive to a student, but many are not aware of them. This can be fixed with information available in pamphlets and discussions about alternatives to college in schools. It is always important to know that there are options.

Opinion: Homework should decrease in Redlands Unified School District

By EMMITT MURPHY

Homework has been required in academic settings for years, but is it really helpful for students? This question has been thrown around within the academic setting for decades since it’s invention in 1905 as a punishment.

Homework is an unhelpful tool to students and it is about time it is removed or at least decreased in schools. Homework does not only increase burnout and take up more of students’ free time, but it doesn’t improve academic abilities, as well.

Burnout has already been a problem for students in the Redlands Unified School District, making it hard for students to actually learn. This problem is escalated with teachers giving out homework on the weekends, which are supposed to be students’ break days. 

Redlands High School freshman Adrian Sandoval stated, “It’s a feeling that if you don’t face it, you feel even more disappointed, but if you deal with it, it ends with even more exhaustion — but that’s the only way to become calm and orderly again. If you don’t keep in the lines of managing time good and bad, it all ends up bad.”

The weekend homework point bleeds into the argument that homework takes too much of a students’ free time. Work life balance is constantly pushed in today’s society, but students are never able to achieve a healthy balance with the tons of homework pushed on them. Students are told that they should be able to have time outside of school, but the amount of homework received would tell them otherwise.

Citrus Valley sophomore Jasmine Rosales poses for a picture on November 12. The picture is supposed to symbolize the overbearing amount of work students receive.

With later start and end times, many students are unable to consistently get home at reasonable times. This means they could spend the rest of their evening doing tedious assignments that might not even help them.

This is the most common complaint among students: homework doesn’t help them improve academically. Alfie Kohn, an American lecturer and author with a focus on education, stated, “There is absolutely no evidence of any academic benefit from assigning homework in elementary or middle school.” 

Kohn also states, “At the high school level, the correlation is weak and tends to disappear when more sophisticated statistical measures are applied.”

What could be a solution to this homework problem? Simple, ban or decrease the amount of homework a student gets. 

Most, if not all, problems would be solved by just decreasing the amount of homework students get. Burnout would be decreased and students would have more free time without homework.

Homework has been a problem for most students for years and it’s about time something is done about it. 

It’s time districts learn what Doctor Kevin C. Costly of Arkansas Tech University has found in his research, that “In-school supervised study had a greater impact on achievement than homework, and achievement did not increase when students spent more time on homework.”

Opinion: Schools should teach pronouns to support students, reduce discrimination

By MARSHALL SCOTT

Trigger Warning: This article mentions suicide rates.

Every 1 in 4 LGBTQ youth use pronoun combinations outside of the gender binary construct, according to Trevorproject.org.

Newer pronouns should be taught in schools to show their importance. Nowadays, more and more people, old and young are using different pronouns than the standard she/her and he/him. It could help students feel more supported, especially if they’re not supported at home. It could help reduce discrimation and increase the respect of gender non-conforming individuals. 

Nowadays, people have been using them more than the “normal” pronouns. The news station Time says 26% of individuals identify as non-binary while 20% question if they are transgender. 

Ryleigh Fort, a student at Citrus Valley, who uses she/they/he pronouns, states, “I think that newer pronouns, such as they/them and neopronouns should be taught in school because not everyone uses the ‘regular’ she/her, he/him pronouns. It’s also helpful for people to get accustomed to using them when they’re older. Not only that, it can help people who feel trapped in the wrong body feel more comfortable and not as dysphoric.” 

Students who may not feel supported at home could feel a sense of security at school when people understand how to use their pronouns. The Trevor Project, a LGBTQ organization, says, “Affirming LGBTQ youth’s gender by using pronouns that align with their gender identity has shown to improve mental health outcomes.” 

Pronoun pin that was obtained in the beginning of the school year. (MARSHAL SCOTT/ Ethic News photo)

When people intentionally misgender someone it can be very hurtful to a person’s mental health, especially if they’re already struggling. An act as simple as asking for someone’s pronouns and respecting their pronouns could potentially save someone’s life.

According to the Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, “TGNB (Transgender and Gender Non-Binary) youth who reported having their pronoun respected by all or most of the people in the lives attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected.”

By having schools teaching students about newer pronouns, the rates of suicide, discrimation to one’s gender identiy and much more could be dropped immensely. Starting as young as first grade would be an appropriate age to teach kids about pronouns. Having just a lesson on the pronouns could be using, whether it being neopronouns, or the standard pronouns would help people who may not feel connected to their assigned sex at birth.

Pronouns such as they/them, it/its, xe/xem and many more should be a part of schools curriculums to ensure the students understand the importance. By doing so students would feel like they’re understood, and could potentially be excited to go to school without having to worry about not being accepted.

Correction: The last three paragraphs were inadvertently not included in the original publishing of this article at 2:45 pm on Nov. 9. The correction was made at 5:25 pm to include the full original article, with the intended last three paragraphs included.

China limits time on video games: What do you think?

“What do you think?” is a series of articles asking the opinion of others on different subjects, rather than having the writers share their opinion. Each “What do you think?” segment will share information on a different topic and provide an opportunity for readers to answer a related interactive poll question at the end of the article.


By NADIA CENICEROS

Guess it is “game over” for some gamers in China. The Chinese government has banned people under 18 from playing video games for more than three hours a week. According to the official China news agency, minors will only be allowed to play on weekends or public holidays for an hour. Minors will only be able to play for one hour between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. at night. This law was put into place on Sept. 1.

Video game consoles like Playstation are being used to a limited extent in China (NADIA CENICEROS/Ethic news)

Before this law was decided, in 2019, minors were only allowed to play for only 90 minutes on weekdays and three hours on weekends. China is blaming video games for children having nearsightedness, addiction and laziness. Parents were concerned about their children because they were “becoming too addicted to the game” and it is “affecting their mental and physical health.” Children can find their way around this ban so the Chinese government has asked all families to cooperate to prevent kids from playing longer. Officials say that this will help kids to get better grades and to be more focused.  New laws will now be issued at local schools, putting specific requirements so students do not play video games.

Citrus Valley High School students Marquille Glenn (left) and Brooklyn Lane (right) answer a whiteboard question. The whiteboard question was “Is there such a thing as ‘playing video games too much?’” (JASMINE ROSALES/Ethic News Photo)

Tencent, a multinational conglomerate company and the largest video game company in China, have sent out a statement on the situation. The company said that they have been working on “various new technologies and functions for the protection of minors” since 2017. The company also said they will “continue as Tencent strictly abides by and actively implements the latest requirements from Chinese authorities.” The Chinese government has required minors to register for games with their real names.

Caleab Losee, a junior at Citrus Valley, answers a whiteboard question.  (JASMINE ROSALES/Ethic News Photo)

The National Press and Publication Association, also known as the NPPA, is the regulator which approves video game titles. The NPPA have made all video games connect to an “anti-addiction” system that is operated by the association.  Xi Jinping, the current Chinese president, had said three months earlier how gaming can make children unsuccessful in their academic classes and warned publicly about the endangerment of youth video game addiction. This statement caused the NPPA to consider the situation.

Citrus Valley students Ashlyn Gaines (left) and Madalyn Higham (right) answer a whiteboard question.  (JASMINE ROSALES/Ethic News Photo)

Some of the citizens have very different opinions on this new rule. Some American citizens believe that China will become better in their education and more children in China will succeed more than Americans. According to The Edvocate, Chinese students “outperform American students.” The Edvocate explains that China focuses more on “fundamental understanding of calculations” while American education focuses on “creativity and how the student will use the knowledge in society.” This causes more students in China to do better in the education system than students in America.

Amelia Cox, a student at Citrus Valley, answers a whiteboard question. (JASMINE ROSALES/Ethic News Photo)

There is no log-in required to participate in the poll below. Once a person votes, they can see updated poll results.

Opinion: Teachers have too low of a salary   

By NATHAN DENNIS

Many teachers don’t get the recognition for their work to educate their students in class, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when it’s even more difficult to teach students. Many teachers provide time for students that need help before and after school outside of their scheduled hours. Teachers’ salaries are too low considering the time, dedication and effort taken to educate their students. 

The Redlands Unified School District typically does not provide supplies except the bare necessities like pencils and computers. If teachers want to purchase other supplies, such as colored pencils, markers, whiteboard markers, erasers, notebooks and paper, they have to use their own money. 

Outside of their scheduled hours, teachers grade work, volunteer for school-related activities and events without any additional pay and provide a flexible time for tutoring test make ups, before school, during lunch and after school.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an additional hurdle that has hindered teachers ability to teach. During distance learning, teachers tried as much as possible to communicate and interact with their students. Teachers provided time for students that did not understand the material being taught to give additional support before and after school, using video conferencing platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom.

According to the RUSD Management Team Salary Schedule, a staff member’s education, experience and position in the school affects their salary.

“Teachers aren’t paid nearly enough, and they feel less appreciated, more stressed, and less supported than they have in the past,” The National Education Association says. 

Considering all the extra time, money and effort teachers give to their school and students, they all deserve an increased salary. A teacher’s pay is not enough for the many things they do for their students. 


Link of Certified :  CEAppA-1.20.21.8.11.20.pdf, 

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://ethic-news.org/2021/10/16/opinion-los-profesores-tienen-un-salario-demasiado-bajo/

Opinion: Students take a stand for a change in school dress codes

By JASMINE ROSALES

Dress codes were created and enforced to help “keep students safe,” but has it come to a point where it’s going past boundaries?

This has been a recurring topic and will continue unless there is a happy medium between both administrators and students. When it comes to dress codes, it’s made to keep both boys and girls responsible for their “learning environment,” but how does it affect someone’s learning? With school back on campus after a year of distance learning, this issue has arisen once again and students are more vocal than before.

From recent messages, students at REV hang posters to bring attention to the girls’ dress codes. This poster was located outside the girls restroom in the G wing.” (Photo courtesy of Mia Aranda)

Clothing is a very controversial topic, given the many arguments on it. Many pieces of clothing have been labeled as “provocative and inappropriate” to one person while it can be the complete opposite or not even an issue to others. 

With dress codes, everything varies between the material and the person, nothing fits the same for every single person. For example, a shirt, for one person it may look oversized and a little baggy. But, if given to someone else, it may fit just right. Dress code rules are different for every school. Some are more unrestricted than others, and so on, but do dress codes really cater to everyone? The dress codes can be a little biased at times. Many students can go around, for example, with a tight shirt and if you have multiple girls wearing the same shirt with different body types, there is a clear difference in how the shirt may look.   

Many girls worldwide feel targeted because of the set dress codes. Due to the controversy, there have been many protests made by students who have been dress coded and felt depicted by school administrators.

Marshall Scott, a freshman at Citrus Valley High School, states, “If a female needs to cover their bodies because it’s distracting the males in the female classes, then schools should work on teaching males not to sexual females.” 

Girls are told they are showing off their bodies in an inappropriate manner in a learning environment or to go change because their body is a distraction. Though the school’s intentions are to dress code their clothing to make a safe learning environment and for their own safety, it has reached a point where it hurts the students’ self-esteem. 

Yes, keeping a safe learning environment is the most important thing. But, is someone’s education really being tampered with due to a girl’s shoulder and collarbone?

Countless dress codes occur everyday, but the majority of them are towards girls. Many girls, especially recently, have claimed how much social media takes a toll on their confidence and fits the so-called beauty standard created by social media. 

Daniela Mora, a sophomore at Redlands East Valley, says, “I feel like our bodies are being labeled as distractions and it actually makes me extremely uncomfortable. It’s sad to think that I can’t dress for the weather just because I’m a ‘distraction.’”

Going to school and getting dress-coded has been said to be demoralizing because of what is considered revealing. A student wearing a tank top being told her shoulders are considered a “distraction” can be both upsetting and demoralizing because the outfit worn to school could have been something the student felt confident in. From firsthand experience, getting pulled aside to be told an outfit is distracting or too “revealing” can make someone feel self conscious because what is considered “too revealing” to the human eye?

Found on the first floor of the H wing, more students from REV band together to bring more attention to girls’ dress codes. (Photo by AJ Corpus/Ethic News Photo)

Recently, students have had enough and are now taking this matter into their own hands and making a change for the future.

At local schools, students have made and posted posters around their campus and created petitions to minimize unnecessary rules in dress codes. Some students have even teamed up together and all wore something considered “out of dress code” such as tank tops, sleeveless shirts, cropped shirts that show midriff and so forth to protest that it was not a distraction.

At Citrus Valley High School, girls from all grades contributed on Friday, Aug. 27 and all wore clothes that are considered “out of dress code” to make a stand. Students at Redlands East Valley have painted posters and hung them around campus.  

As multiple dress code petitions circulate and more stands are made against dress codes, students around the world will fight until students have the freedom to dress the way they want. So until then, stay tuned for future changes in dress codes for an end to this controversy. 

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://ethic-news.org/2021/10/11/opinion-los-estudiantes-representan-un-cambio-en-el-codigo-de-ropa/

Opinion: Wearing and trading social movements like fast fashion hurts the cause

By EMMA MILLER

As new and old movements are spreading all across America, it may seem hard to keep track. One helpful way to encourage and uplift these movements is by speaking about them and listening to their voices. Genuine support is not easy; it takes both time and effort. This also means not trading one movement for another when a newer movement starts “trending.”

In a time when racial division is on the rise, it is necessary that each person and group stands and lifts up the other. But be careful not to replace one movement with another; following only the latest movement is not the step forward you may think it is. The “Black Lives Matter” movement is still necessary and is not over despite the victory in the Derek Chauven case. And all the same, the “Protect Asian Lives” movement is still necessary despite the killer in the Atlanta shooting being caught. When we simply replace the names of movements with others instead of acknowledging and battling each issue simultaneously, it creates a cycle where we do not ever solve any problems. This makes serious and important issues into trends to follow and forget when the next “trend” or issue comes up. 

Lives are being threatened and or made more difficult daily due to the fluctuation in hate crimes in the past year. According to an Anti-Asian Prejudice March 2021 Fact Sheet produced by the California State University of San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, in the year 2020, reported hate crimes against Asians have risen by 145%. This is simply the data collected of the reported cases and presumably, many hate crimes have been committed under the radar. 

An example of people seeing these movements as a trend was the Black Lives Matter Movement. Many people chose to use tokens that showed their support for the movement, but did not truly help. People who use serious issues as aesthetics, trends, or accessories are almost as detrimental as the people who oppose those issues. It makes a mockery of them and brings them down to simply being a phase. An opinion piece, “The problem of performative activism,” for Aljazeera written by John Metta says, “Today, it is common to see businesses with Black Lives Matter signs in their windows, but so much of the current support coincides with public announcements that feel more like marketing than social action. It seems that every company is proclaiming how strong their involvement is, while so much of their action is limited to words.”

However, while it is helpful to raise awareness about the problems, one thing many people often mistake is their ways of supporting. For example, on the surface it might seem like a minor issue to interchange names between different organizations; like replacing “Protect Asian Lives” with “Asian Lives Matter”; however, many problems do arise from this. Each movement’s name has an important origin, and just filling in the blank with another group makes the movements seem interchangeable, when each is unique and important.

This is in no way, shape, or form attempting to sway people away from supporting Black Lives Matter or Protect Asian Lives, but to encourage those who wish to make a difference to do so in helpful and constructive ways that are ongoing. A great example of a positive way to help this movement is to visit blacklivesmatter.com and look at the resources they have listed there. To learn more about how to stop hate against the AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) community, there is information and resources on the following two websites; https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co/  https://stopasianhate.carrd.co/#

Opinion: Delayed grading by teachers creates confusion and frustration

By SPENCER MOORE

Distance learning is a struggle for many parties involved. Whether it’s distracting surroundings, intense workloads, or technical difficulties, parents, students, and teachers all agree that it is not the optimal way to learn and develop interests and skills.

While the focus of struggles is often placed on student’s and their difficulties, teachers also have all of the aforementioned issues. Whether it is helping their children with their schooling, intense grading workloads, or technical difficulties, teachers have issues with distance learning, sometimes arguably even greater than students. However, with all of these responsibilities, there is one role that sometimes finds itself being the subject of teacher procrastination, grading.

 Grading on time is a crucial portion to a successful teachers’ career and their students.

While teachers understand that things should be returned in a timely manner, what sometimes ends up happening is that, like students with their assignments, they get behind in grading; which in turn creates the action of not grading many, or in some extreme cases, any assignments until the end of the quarter or semester. What this does is cause stress in the student’s life and in certain cases, discourages them from even turning in work on time. This develops a habit of procrastination as opposed to a habit of proactivity in learning, which is one of the largest reasons students must attend schools. 

When asked about his thoughts on distance learning in general, Sophomore Max Cannon says, “It is the best that we can do regarding the times we live in. Although class would be significantly more engaging if the focus was on the learning as opposed to the assignments.’’

Many times, the reason for a teacher’s late grading is completely justified. Some of these reasons include childcare, technical issues, or unfamiliarity with the new distance learning protocol and software. The job of teachers is to have their student’s best interest at heart, and will often work to help the students become the best version of themselves they can be. According to edsource.org, in the Los Angeles School District alone, D’s and F’s have increased by a metric of 8.7%. This shows, in the simplest of terms, that teachers are not adjusting to their new responsibilities appropriately.

As distance learning has progressed, teachers have gained a better grasp of the softwares used for our benefit, both through training programs and trial and error. Unfortunately, some teachers do not want to expend the extra effort required to have the students comprehend and retain information while using these new softwares.

Teacher’s are not perfect when it comes to grading, and some can even be resistant to new ways of teaching. However, it is still important to give all people a fair chance to improve on themselves. Distance learning is difficult at times, and everyone involved has their personal difficulties, but it is still the educator’s responsibility to ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible, especially when it comes to grading.

Opinion: Responsibility of grades falls on students, not teachers — even in a pandemic

By ERICA BAUER

Despite the Redlands Unified School Board’s decision to freeze grades as of April 19, as distance learning continues, one thing is on student’s and teacher’s minds alike: grading. With a widespread pandemic taking the world by storm, most outside of the educational system are shocked to hear this, but yes, grading is one of the most stressful topics for staff, students, and parents. 

Unfortunately, as more and more work is assigned, both teachers and students often times fall behind. This brings even more stress into their daily lives on top of the chaos that is the early 2020’s. For teachers, grading has become a nightmare. With software not functioning properly, and having a certain curriculum they must follow, teachers are learning to adjust to the struggles of distance learning. As a result, students find themselves working day in and day out with little motivation. This is causing work to be rushed and inevitably pushed to the side, only adding to the workload. Grading and due dates during this period of distance learning is a huge trial for all involved.

“I wouldn’t say grading is more difficult necessarily, but rather more time-consuming,” said Danielle Persing Biology teacher at Redlands East Valley High School, “Significantly more time-consuming.”

“Instead of a stack of papers that I can easily shift through and organize, we have different tabs and links that we click through,” said Persing. “When you have 100+ assignments to grade, it takes time; and usually, the internet has other plans and takes a minute or so to even open a new tab or an assignment, making it take even longer.”

With distance learning continuing with no end in sight, many students find themselves in an endless sea of questions, “When will my work be graded?’’ ‘‘What will my grades be?’’, ‘‘Will my teacher be as understanding of my extenuating circumstances as they would in person?,” ‘‘ Will I be swarmed with homework on top of the extracurricular activities I already  have going on?” “ How am I supposed to finish all of this by Friday?” 

With all of these thoughts going through a student’s head, oftentimes there is a hidden variable that those involved tend to subconsciously ignore, the work done by teachers. 

“I want my students to have timely and meaningful feedback, but it’s easier said than done,” said Persing, “There are some assignments I’m able to return to students within a day or so, but then I’m not leaving any feedback for them to improve. So, every now and then I set aside a couple of hours after school to do so, but just like most students, having to stare at a screen takes its toll on you.” 

Their rules, beliefs, and expectations can tend to go far above what is achievable for students during this difficult time. Teachers have to grade all that they assign, and when they do not maintain consistency in their grading, it creates a tremendous amount of work they have to complete by the quarter’s end.

“I’m also constantly thinking of and planning ways to make DL more interesting and engaging to keep up student motivation,” said Persing, “so time must be set aside for that as well. It’s a balance that’s difficult to find.” 

The question left wondering is, “Who’s responsible for all the stress and anxiety surrounding grading?” Teachers… right? Contrary to popular belief, I think that responsibility falls on students. Students often go to parents, friends, and even other staff members offering excuses as to why they have missing work and grades that stray from what they hoped to see on their report cards. Instead of simply being honest with themselves by taking responsibility for their forgetfulness or lack of motivation. With distance learning, parents, siblings, friends, and all of the other chaos that happens in a student’s life- school can sometimes be left out of the equation. However, students also often procrastinate, forget, and simply just get tired of all the work. 

Yet this still leaves us with the question, “Who is to be held responsible for the stress of grading and school?” The impossible question can not be answered with a single person or people, but a simple truth. With the world on lockdown and going a million miles per hour, all need to try their best to be understanding of one another’s circumstances. Students are expected to turn in their assignments on time, and to the best of their ability. While teachers should be held accountable for grading the work they assign in a timely manner- the best they can. Distance learning can be extremely difficult for anyone, but everyone must work together to make things the best they can be. 

The good and the bad video games bring out

By JASMINE ROSALES

Growing up in this generation is very different than it used to be. Most parents say they spent their time outside playing rather than being inside with a screen in their face. Many adults say that video games are bad for children for different reasons, but what do they really do? Do they have a positive or negative effect on the mental health of children?

Some may use their electronics to stay productive, while others use it as a distraction. They seem like the same thing, but, from a different perspective, they are two different things. Electronics can keep someone busy if they have free time, either as a distraction or a way to escape one’s reality.

Eva Valtierrez, a sophomore from Redlands East Valley, says, “Video games make me feel excited in a way, but also kind of destroys my procrastination because I am so focused on the game, but mentally puts me in a good state of mind.” Video games can provide an escape from reality for short periods of time when a person is stressed or overwhelmed.

If they are intended for entertainment, how do video games take a toll on someone’s mental health? There are different genres of gaming and ways to play, whether it’s alone or online. While playing online, players can work together with other people which can provide a form of social interaction. Playing a game stimulates the mind to focus on the goal and makes players aware of what’s happening on the screen.

Showing how video games can have a positive influence on players. Some positive influences that video games can hold are problem solving, social connections, and focus on a particular goal (Artwork by Mia Aranda)

Communicating with others can be rather difficult at times. In a tense situation, disagreements with other players can lead to arguments. This can take a toll on one’s emotions. Jenna Tampubolon, a freshman at Citrus Valley High School, says. “I feel like when people play video games, they worry less about their problems and then eventually isolate themselves from everyone which could lead to anger and or being depressed.” 

Some players say they love the rush of tense situations because it makes them feel alive or captured into the game, but sometimes it can be a bit much. Comparing some of these emotions to how it affects mental health still leaves the question as to what exactly provokes it besides playing with others.

In 1958, William Higinbotham created the game Pong–the very first video game. This game brought a lot of joy to those who got to play it. Fast-forwarding 63 years, video games have come a long way, as graphics, fundamentals and mechanics have improved vastly. As video games became more popular, other creators pitched in and went through different routes to create different games in order to expand the video game community. Varying from adventure, puzzle, horror and roleplay, the genres are endless. Even so, they all collectively provide entertainment to people all around the world. 

On the other hand, what do they do for us mentally? In a typical math class, the brains of students work to add up numbers to find the sum. It’s similar to video games, such as how in puzzle games, players have to think of possible scenarios as to which pieces would work and how to ultimately complete the task at hand. 

Adventure games are made to help you build on strategic thinking and memory formation, while horror games help build awareness and focus. Many who have played a game multiple times have more than likely memorized patterns and strategies throughout the entirety of their playthrough. This particular fundamental is important because many adults still believe video games are not a productive activity. Nonetheless, they still work out the brain and also how well one can remember things. 

Whether it’s making players smarter academically or makes them better people by learning from a character’s struggles in their own perspective, video games do have their benefits and positive impacts. However, the longer a person tends to use them as an escape, the more negative habits tend to emerge in the lifestyle of the person. Staying on a game for too long can severely damage a person’s mental health because that can be all that a player thinks about or looks forward to. Staying up all night while staring at the screen will not only tire the average person but will also make players seem out of touch with reality.

Many people have had to adapt to staying indoors and have naturally gravitated towards video games. Some parents have had to deal with their children being on video games too much since they have so much free time and causing a lot of emotion and stress on relationships. Many people have complained about video games causing their children to become upset and violent and withdrawn at home. 

Maria Phumirat, a concerned mother, says, “When I was younger, I would play outside until the sun went down and nowadays kids just stare at a screen and don’t even do their homework when they get home because they go straight to the computer.”

Overall mental health is the most important thing to maintain. Being emotionally involved with video games can sometimes take a toll on a person’s life. It is best to call it a day and take a break from the game from time to time, as video games are ultimately meant to be enjoyed. As long as players have self-control and manage their time effectively, video games are a perfectly acceptable activity for anyone to indulge in.

Editorial cartoon: Return back to school?

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By MIA ARANDA

The Redlands School Board voted on schedules for returning to in-person instruction for secondary schools on April 1. Middle school students will return to school on April 12 and high school students on April 19. Each student can choose whether they would like to opt for in-person instruction or continue with distance learning and may mark their decision on Aeries.

Opinion: Tackling toxic masculinity’s harmful stereotypes benefits all

By ALLISON STOCKHAM & MAKAYLA NAIME

Toxic masculinity is a social dilemma, forcing stereotypes and emotional and physical oppression on men, which impacts everyone in the long run. In recent years, these stereotypes have started to be questioned and broken down, and this is the trend that needs to continue to help everyone, regardless of gender.

Toxic masculinity is the result of society’s attitudes, viewpoints, and stereotypes focusing on how men should behave and their roles in and outside the home. This term appeared around 1980-1990 and has been used by feminist activists and others against sexism, gender inequalities and stereotypes.

The expectations of toxic masculinity have been forced on men, altering the way they cope with trauma or conflicting situations. However, if we were to question and challenge this harmful thought process, then toxic masculinity could be eliminated, along with many of the stereotypes placed on both men and women.

Toxic masculinity and masculinity are two very different things. Masculinity is being “manly,” or having characteristics that are traditionally associated with men. Being masculine is fine for anyone, boys, girls, and everyone in between. Toxic masculinity is the mindset that every single person of the male gender must be masculine and do traditionally “masculine things.” This is not fine.

For example, someone with toxic masculinity might say that actions like wearing feminine clothing, painting nails, or crying no longer makes them a man because “real men” don’t do traditionally feminine things. This mindset is misleading, as nothing truly makes you a “real man.” If you identify as a man, then you are one. 

These labels and stereotypes that make men feel like they are not “a real man can” can cause many unhealthy coping mechanisms and hurt young teens’ mental health. The pressure they feel to be a protector, show off their strength and be the provider can cause men to bottle up their feelings in order to avoid being seen as weak.

The expectation for men not to show emotion can only be maintained for so long since it isn’t being let out and handled in a healthy manner. When this emotion eventually does come out, it becomes an explosion and may be released through aggression. Eliminating toxic masculinity does not mean that men need to be emotional and feel like they have to overcompensate their feelings; it’s simply getting rid of the pressure they may have to hide these feelings since “they aren’t normal for a man.” 

Toxic masculinity is a social construct that, as stated before, gives men the mindset that boys all have to be traditionally masculine. Some boys are masculine, which is great, but there are many that prefer to be more “feminine,” which doesn’t make them any less of a man. They are still completely valid and should be able to dress and act the way they want to without being told they are not a “real man” or that “they must be gay.” A lot of boys who would prefer to be more feminine, are too scared to because of the effects of toxic masculinity on society. 

Though there is a huge stigma for men to be traditionally masculine, there are some examples of some amazing men who have started to break this social construct. In November 2020, Harry Styles posted pictures of him on the cover of Vogue wearing a dress (the magazine didn’t come out until December of 2020). Styles received a lot of backlash and hate from this, specifically from political commentator Candace Owens. Owens said that we need to “bring back manly men” and that society can not survive without “manly men.” This was implying that Styles is not a “manly man” because he was wearing a dress. One thing that stood out to a large number of people was her double standard. She was angered by a man wearing a dress, while she often wears a pants suit. Styles responded to Owens by posting another picture of him in a slightly feminine outfit, with the caption: “Bring back manly men.”

Many young men on social media are fighting toxic masculinity. On October 9, 2020, about 100 teenage boys in Canada wore skirts to school to protest against sexism, homophobia, and toxic masculinity. These boys attended College Nouvelles Frontieres in Gatineau, Quebec. Zachary Paulin, a 16 year old student, told a few people that he was going to wear a skirt to school that Friday, and, to his surprise, many of his peers joined him. When asked about the event Paulin said, “The double standard on the way society views out women and men is blatant. If a woman decides to wear a suit or pants, clothes associated with masculinity, it’s not a big deal, but the moment a man will do anything remotely feminine, whether it is to put nail polish, makeup or, in our case, a skirt, fingers are pointed and he gets insulted. People will say that he’s not a ‘real man’ and they will automatically assume his sexuality.” 

Forcing men into traditionally masculine roles not only creates a toxic environment for those who feel like they need to fit this contract of masculinity, but those around them as well. This in turn has dangerous generational impacts of this cycle repeating. Eliminating these social constructs will allow men to feel free to express themselves and show emotions or sides of them they may bottle up or feel uncomfortable showing in fear of judgement. It will take time, but, if we make an effort to question and challenge these harmful stereotypes, toxic masculinity can become a thing of the past. 

Featured photo: Digital collage created using images, phrases, and art to symbolize the stereotypes that are defined by toxic masculinity in modern society. From famous celebrities to school children, toxic masculinity scrutinizes and oppresses males when society feels they have strayed too far from gender norms. (Ethic Digital Art/Allison Stockham and Makayla Naime)

Opinion: Three perspectives on Capitol Hill prompting Parler shutdown

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By ISAAC MEJIA, MIA ARANDA, and LILY SHAW 

Following the violence at Capitol Hill, Parler, a conservative social networking service, suffered a fatal blow. Approximately twenty-four hours after President Trump was banned from Twitter for “[inspiring] others to replicate the violent acts” that transpired at the Capitol, several big tech companies removed Parler from their app stores. 

Parler app logo shown on an iPhone on Jan. 25, 2020. Parler is known for its largely conservative platform and loose moderation guidelines. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza photo)

Companies such as Google, Amazon, and Apple supported the app, supplying it with storage to support its large quantity of servers and providing the platform through which the public could access the app. Even though Parler reached number one on the app store with one and half million downloads, these companies still chose to ban the app from their stores. 

They claim that Parler’s users helped coordinate the storming of Capitol Hill and contributed to the event by promoting violence and illegal activity. In regards to the justification of the app’s shutdown, the two sides of the political aisle hold a different perspective. 

Chief Executive Officer perspective

In a Fox News interview with John Matze, CEO of Parler, Matze labeled the app’s shutdown as an “assault on everybody.” According to Matze, every vendor of the app is unwilling to work with them because Apple and Amazon do not approve of the app. They “falsely claim” that Parler was responsible for the incident at the Capitol; however, Matze professed that the app has “never allowed violence” and does not even “have a way to coordinate an event” like the violence that occured on Jan. 6. 

Giant corporations like Apple and Amazon possess great power and influence over other companies. They are well aware that their statements of support or disapproval resonate loudly across the nation. If the app is portrayed as a bad investment for the upper echelon of the business world, it is perceived as a bad investment for every other company as well. They have the ability to destroy the app, and it seems likely that they are using their influence to portray the app in a negative light. 

Since their condemnation of the app, it is nearly impossible for Matze to gain any support from investors who have the ability to fund them. In a different press interview, Matze explained that since Scylla Enterprise has stopped backing them, the app “can no longer process ads and have revenue.” In addition, “no one can pay for anything to Parler with American Express.” As more and more companies dissociate themselves from Parler, its survival is unlikely. It cannot function without the help of other companies. Even though Matze renounced all claims linking the app with the Capitol attack, the largest corporations still chose to terminate their involvement with Parler, figuratively jumping off of a sinking ship and dragging it down with them. Matze believes that they are using the storming of the Capitol as an “excuse to silence free speech.” 

Liberal perspective

The Capitol Hill riot is one of the most blatant displays of White supremacy in American history, and the app Parler played a pivotal role in planning and encouraging it. 

Parler prides itself on promoting free speech due to their minimal regulations, persuading many conservatives and Trump supporters to flock to the app to voice their opinions. According to Wired, prior to the Capitol Hill riot, Parler COO Jeffrey Wernick said, “Parler doesn’t have a hate speech policy. Hate speech has no definition, okay? It’s not a legal term,” which has become an appeal to the app for many. 

According to ABC News, many extremists posted memes with intentional war imagery, hashtags such as #FightForTrump and #TheStormIsHere and even named specific politicians to target on Parler, promoting the vicious Capitol breach. 

Pro-Trump rioters were able to push past police lines, scale balconies, smash windows and breach Capitol barricades prompting the Capitol to lock down and the Senate Chamber to evacuate its members. 

U.S. representative Pramila Jayapal tweeted on Jan. 6, “I was one of a dozen Representatives in the gallery above the House floor. We pulled out gas masks and had to get down on the ground. Capitol police barricaded the doors and had guns drawn. We were eventually told that we had to quickly exit.”

Michelle Obama wrote in her response on Jan. 7 to this event: “They desecrated the center of American government. And once authorities finally gained control of the situation, these rioters and gang members were led out of the building not in handcuffs, but free to carry on with their days.”

After the insurrection took place and flooded social media, non-Trump supporters were horrified by the insecurity and use of gentle police force at Capitol Hill. They were quick to contrast the harsh reality of the police force on people of color to white people in America. Viral clips circulated through social media of police willingly taking selfies with the rioters and even opening a gate for them. 

The surge of Black Lives Matters protests in the summer of 2020 were monumental in demanding racial justice and equality. However, protestors have criticized the police for using unnecessary force on them. Throughout the summer, peaceful protests were met with tear gas and rubber bullets, both of which can create serious injury. 

According to USA Today, Charlie Mesloh, a certified instructor on the use of police projectiles and a professor at Northern Michigan University, said, “On day one of training, they tell you, ‘Don’t shoot anywhere near the head or neck.’ That’s considered deadly force.” 

In response to Capitol Hill, President Joe Biden addressed the inequality from law enforcement on Jan. 7 in which he said, “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol.”

The chaos imposed by the pro-Trump groups on Jan. 6 highlights the evident double standards that continue to exist in the United States of how law enforcement view whites versus people of color. Some have noted that police forces don’t view white Americans as terrorists simply due to their skin color. 

Former president Donald Trump is responsible for encouraging white supremacists to raid the Capitol as he had posted on Twitter on Jan. 3: “See you in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. Don’t miss it! More information to follow.” 

This event has led Trump into another impeachment trial as well as a permanent suspension from all major social media platforms in order to prevent further incitement of violence. 

With a large conservative platform, if Parler had strict content moderation guidelines, like Facebook, the promotion of an event like this may have been avoided, averting destruction, fear and violence. Due to Parler’s shutdown, conservatives and Trump supporters may have no choice but to return to their Twitter and Facebook accounts. 

Overall, this can aid in preventing another planned insurrection due to Facebook and Twitter guidelines; one of Twitter’s safety rules specifically states “You may not threaten or promote terrorism or violent extremism.” In addition, Facebook and Twitter have lower ratios of conservative to liberal users, compared to Parler’s nearly all conservative and Republican audience. 

Parler shutting down, even if temporarily, is for the best, as the country recovers from this devastating, sickening incident. An app like Parler does not deserve to be supported, for the fact that in its short existence, it has proven to be one of the all-time greatest threats to American democracy. 

Conservative perspective

Did the raiding of Capitol Hill prompt the shutdown of conservative app Parler? After former president Donald J Trump was banned from multiple social media platforms, Parler was filled with thoughts and opinions mainly from unhappy people. Not only were they expressing their feelings on Parler, but on Twitter, and out in the community. 

Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan was one of many people who spoke out on the situation. He tweeted, “First, Democrats support government shutting down small business during #COVID19. Now, Democrats support big business shutting down their competition. We’d post this on Parler, but no one could see it.” 

Josh Hawley, an American attorney and politician, tweeted: “My statement on the woke mob at @simonschuster: ‘…It’s a direct assault of the First Amendment. Only approved speech can now be published…I will fight this canceled culture with everything I have. See you in court.’” With 74.7K reshares, many other conservatives replied to his tweet in agreement.

In the face of the app’s transformation from a focus on freedom of speech to government sabotage, Parler was first removed from Amazon’s app store. Later, Apple and Google removed the app on their respective platforms.

The app was taken down after it had been used to “plan and coordinate” the attack on Capitol Hill (Engineering & Technology). However, Parler was not the only app that had been used to plan the attack. Pro-Trump website, TheDonald, also had comments including explicit and highly-detailed plans. TheDonald was later taken off the internet by founder Jody Williams. Parler and TheDonald obtained receipts of storming the capital, breaking into federal buildings, and committing violence acts towards government officials and law enforcement. 

Although Parler was not the only app used to plan the raids and the app was originally created as a freedom of speech platform, it did lead to the shutdown of the app. 

Opinion: Posting ‘nor/mal’ isn’t okay

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By LIZBETH BETANCOURT

The many protests about discrimination and equal rights in the country this year have highlighted issues of injustice, calling on people to act and educate. In recent months in Redlands, some students have posted “nor/mal” on their Instagrams. This has been in response to students posting their pronouns, such as “she/her” or “they/them.” Nor/mal demonstrates a discrimination over those who are in the LGBTQ+ community, specifically the transgender community.

The following artwork shows what is and isn’t accepted to put in one’s biography when regarding pronouns. (MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza art)

In the Redlands community, many students are advocating for human rights and for everyone in the LGBTQ + community. On the other hand, some students have expressed that saying “nor / mal” is fine, specifically by putting this term in their Instagram biography. It is immature of these students to do so.

Students are speaking up to show how this is discriminating against transgender people by posting educational information. The goal is for others to learn that what they are saying is very disrespectful.

“I feel like it’s a very insensitive trend that Redlands kids are doing, especially during this time when we all need to be compassionate with each other and have conversations of loneliness and acceptance,” said Redlands High School sophomore Jazui Mejia.

Students want to see a safe community. It is  necessary that we respect others so that we can create this a community for everyone.

This means that we should be united and accepting so that each person feels safe in their bodies and identities and how they use pronouns. 

A growing movement of Gen Z wants to change the future, which is why many choose to educate and inform. If we learn to respect others and show love for each other in the community, we can understand how difficult it can be for people in the LGBTQ + community to feel accepted and safe.

Students who initially had “nor / mal” have been removing it. Hopefully, this  is a sign that the effort at education is helping create more understanding, and that this will spread not only in our community but throughout the world.

Opinion: There is a difference between cancelling and cyberbullying

By TATUM MAPES

The internet has a new favorite term: “cancel culture.” Whatever connotation this term is used with, it is inescapable. All across social media, we see celebrities, historical figures and even ordinary people get “cancelled” for actions deemed offensive or inappropriate. 

Users flood comment sections and direct messages to persuade or harass those affiliated with the cancelled person in order to cut all ties and join them in the rampage. Those who participate in cancelling often claim that it is to hold people accountable and spread awareness on certain issues. However, are these goals actually accomplished?

Here’s how the “cancellation” process usually goes. Our cancelled person will be named Bill.

  1. Bill says or does something deemed by users to be offensive.
  2. Multiple users and/or news outlets report on Bill’s actions and offer opinions as to why it is offensive.
  3. People are encouraged to cut all ties with Bill.
  4. Users flood Bill’s comment sections and direct messages, as well as those affiliated with Bill and tell them what he did wrong and why it is offensive.
  5. Criticisms of Bill spread across social media and people call for an apology and/or change. 
  6. Those who defend Bill are often subject to similar reactions.

It is important to hold people accountable for their actions both online and in the real world, but does this prevent them from making the same mistakes? The answer is simple: it just doesn’t give them the chance to make amends. 

During an interview about youth activism at the Obama Foundation summit, former president Barack Obama expressed his own distaste of cancel culture. “That’s not activism. That’s not bringing about change,” he said, “If all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far. That’s easy to do.”

Cancelling someone, especially a celebrity, often does not end with the apology. After “Glee” star Lea Michele tweeted a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, former co-star Samatha Marie Ware accused her of being racist herself, making life on set “a living hell” in a tweet in response (see image below). What followed was a barrage of comments, memes, articles and tweets attacking Michele, with many deeming her a racist. HelloFresh, a company affiliated with Michele, released a statement condemning her actions and announcing the termination of the partnership. She later apologized for her actions on set and deleted her Twitter account afterwards.

Photo of the tweet shows Samantha Marie Ware accusing Lea Michele of being racist. What happens after include a plethora of comments attacking Michele, showing just how devastating the effects of canceling someone can be (Screenshot provided by Tatum Mapes / Ethic Photo).

If she apologized, why did Michele feel it necessary to delete her Twitter account? The simple answer is that she didn’t feel safe on the platform anymore. After her apology, the cancelling did not stop. Every tweet had comment sections full of faceless users calling her a racist and continued to be tagged in negative memes and posts about something she had previously apologized for. The only way for her to stop the online harassment was by leaving the site altogether. It seems as though people did not care that she apologized and merely wanted to be angry or draw attention. 

The consequences of cancel culture are different for celebrities compared to people far from the limelight. Celebrities usually get back to work after varying amounts of time. Internet influencers such as James Charles and Trisha Paytas continue to make tremendous amounts of money and influence millions of people. 

What is the effect of cancelling a non-celebrity? Without the privileges of a celebrity, being cancelled as an ordinary person can be devastating. College admissions can be revoked, jobs can be lost or may not be found for a very long time due to the backlash against the person. If word spreads of your cancellation to prospective friends or partners, the relationship may end before it is started. Essentially, a single mistake can ruin someone’s life. 

Despite the constant complaints, cancel culture is not going anywhere. However, it is not entirely a bad thing. If someone posts something offensive, they can be informed of their mistake and do better. Celebrities have to at least try to be decent people as social media platforms become more accepting and knowledgeable. More and more, hate groups are beng exposed and booted from apps such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, so that they can  never encourage violence online again.

On the other hand, cancel culture can create division and anger. There is a line between holding someone accountable online and cyberbullying–a line that is too often crossed.

If you are about to “cancel” someone, as yourself these questions:

  1. Are this person’s actions directly harming a specific person or group?

This is a straightforward question. Evaluate whether or not the action is actually harmful. Look for the response(s) of the group or person, as there is a difference between the wrong opinion and a different opinion. This is to protect people who have been or could be harmed. Ultimately, it is not an excuse to argue with someone you disagree with.

  1. Will reposting/sharing this help the group that has been harmed?

Think about why you are sharing this information. Is it to protect the people who have been harmed or for you to attack someone? An example of the former is directing viewers to resources meant to better their understanding. An example of the latter is sharing anything with the sole intention of humiliating someone, whether it be a meme or pure insults. These do not help anyone; insulting, doxing, and threatening, no matter how well meaning you may be, is a form of cyberbullying. 

  1. Will this be important a year from now?

This is probably the most vague of these questions, but it might be the most insightful. Evaluate whether or not the actions you take will contribute to an important conversation or just a short trend. Will you look back on what you did and be happy with how you handled the situation? Will it even be important in a year? Essentially, decide whether or not it will be worth it.

While cancel culture can be a force for good, it is too often utilized to humiliate and shame rather than to educate and inform. Before you cancel someone, please ponder your reasons for doing so. The best option is often not to cancel at all and simply inform the person of their mistake and move on. 

It is also important to acknowledge that people have the ability to change. You were not the same person you were a year ago and will be a different person by the next year, as will everyone else. People can learn from their mistakes and do better, so give them a chance to do so. Bryan Stephense, author of the novel Just Mercy, said “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

Featured Photo: Social media allows for faceless acts such as canceling and cyberbullying to occur without much penalty. It’s important to remember the golden rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Kite Media, Image made by Tatum Mapes / Ethic Photo).

Opinion: Blackhawks share opinions on the Black Lives Matter movement

By DESTINY RAMOS MARIN

Although the Black Lives Matter Movement was originally started back in 2013, in the past few months it has gained a significant amount of attention and support from the media. After the death of George Floyd in late May, many Americans finally had enough and began fighting for the lives of black, Indigenous and people of color, and for those who have been affected by police brutality.

Although most would think there would not be anything wrong with this movement, many disagree and have begun to use the slogan All Lives Matter, opposing Black Lives Matter.

Image of the Black Lives Matter movement name with hands interlocked featuring multiple different skin colors. This is symbolic of the unity that defines the BLM movement. (Destiny Ramos Marin/ Ethic Photo)

As everyone has different views on the matter, a few people of different ages and from Citrus Valley High School were asked to share their honest opinion about the sensitive topic, so let’s review their outlook on Black Lives Matter

Laura Estrada, A freshman at Citrus Valley High School, 14, says, “It’s a great movement that is happening, it shows how people are now realizing that racism still goes on in the new world.” 

Sean Love, A freshman at CVHS, 14, says, “Black Lives Matter has been a topic that should [be] more powerful, not because of George Floyd but [because of] the overall message that should be received.” 

Jemila Odeh, A freshman at CVHS, 15, says, “I think Black Lives Matter is super important, I’m really passionate about it and what it stands for.” 

Christian Razo, A senior at CVHS, 17, says, “I honestly think people are making it too big of a deal, you know. All lives should matter. It doesn’t matter what color you are, you don’t need to subjugate one color just because of other people’s opinions. It should just be everybody’s the same and that should be it”

Vince Watts, 20, says “The peaceful protests are fine, but the riots bring nothing but violence wherever they go. Yes, we need to change something about the police, but [the supporters] need to change too. The way they executed it, the government got involved, funded the riots, started riots, everything like that is why I consider BLM an urban terrorist group.” 

Celine Rodriguez, a military wife and mother of 1, 21, says “I agree with the slogan that black lives matter. Black lives is a movement that [brings] attention to police brutality and systemic racism. It’s fighting for equality and basic human rights. I believe that people have taken a great cause and tried to twist it with the slogan “All Lives Matter”. While, yes, the statement is true, that all lives matter, it takes away from the problems that are going on in the black community, [and] the problems that not all people have to face on a daily basis.”

Christina Marin, a health care worker and mother of 4, 31, says, “My opinion about it is that, yes, black lives do matter, [but] so [do] all the other lives. I feel like the slogan has caused more divide in our country than unity. It’s actually caused more racism in our country and has divided so many people because of the actions of a few. I was raised in a minority family and taught that, regardless of your skin color, everyone is treated equally.”

Martin Marin, a hardworking football dad of 4, 32, says, “It’s important, but I don’t agree with it and believe that All Lives Matter. And all they are doing is dividing people more than they already are.”

Philip Ramos, an LA businessman, 46, “Black Lives Matter is important, It has its own identity, and should not be confused with all lives matter.”

Cecelia Ramos, a loving grandmother and former teacher, 76, says, “They have a right to a peaceful protest, because black people have been [treated] wrong for so many years, [and now] they need their voices heard.”

The only common ground between the few is that most of them view BLM as a positive thing, but recognize that a movement like this has great downfalls as well.

It is clear that everyone here has very different opinions on the subject, but at the end of the day, your age doesn’t matter when it comes to important subjects like this. 

Whether you agree or disagree with BLM, your opinion about the topic does not define who you are as a person, and should never be seen as a way to hurt people. 

Opinion: Is censoring music is okay?

By DESTINY RAMOS MARIN

Would you prefer to listen to an original song with explicit lyrics, or a radio-edit version?

In simple terms, censorship in music is when curse words or inappropriate lyrics are cut out to be replaced with family friendly words or phrases, sound effects, or eliminated with no replacement. Censorship is necessary and must be used on any inappropriate song lyrics, even if it makes the song “worse.”

A few song examples you can listen to that have had censorship used in them at one or more points in the song include Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You,” Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s get it started,” Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” The Kinks’ “Lola.” and so many more. Each of these songs have censored lyrics due to their language use, and with the censored lyrics, families are able to listen to the songs they enjoy without worrying about inappropriate language. 

Most of the censorship in music is done because of how it affects people, mostly children and tenagers. The use of inappropriate language can lead to children using bad words, not knowing what they mean of course, and could get them in trouble. 

People of all ages appreciate censorship in music. It allows young people to listen to songs that might otherwise get them in trouble with their parents. At the same time, they recognize that it has its downfalls too.

Leah Cuevas, 15, says, “I believe music censorship is needed due to profanity in songs. I don’t think their parents want their children to repeat what they hear on the radio. Besides that, I usually think censorship ruins the song.” 

Christina Marin, 31, says, “Regardless of what you censor, it has the same meaning. So it doesn’t exactly matter. To me, at least”. 

Yolanda Munoz, 59, says, ”Do you hear the music without [censoring]? Do you hear the words they are saying? Like, very inappropriate. No. I would never play [those] songs without it [censored] like that.”

For those who prefer edited songs, streaming services are making it easier to find that option. In a New York Times student opinion article, “How do you feel about censored Music,” Nicole Daniels explains new options for censoring song lyrics. “Music’s consumer landscape is now rife with family streaming plans and parental content-filtering,” Daniel writes. “For customers who set their devices to weed out explicit material, Apple and Amazon automatically substitute edited versions of songs when they are available, and skip them altogether when they aren’t.”

Even though censorship is for a friendly and useful purpose, many people believe that song lyrics should be left alone and played on the radio, regardless of explicit content in the song, simply because they believe it ruins the original when it’s changed.

This can be because many people listen to the original song on other music platforms that allow explicit language and get used to the original lyric. When it is heard in public, such as the radio, with censorship,  it will not be the same as listening to it with it’s original lyrics. 

For others, it may simply just sound unnatural and they could lose their interest in the song.

The same could be said for a person who finds their interest in the song because of the censorship, and their perspective of the song could be changed when they learn those are not the original lyrics. 

For those who prefer music without censorship, there are always the streaming services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, TIDAL, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Soundcloud, and Google Play Music. And for those who prefer censored lyrics, Deezer, Slacker Radio, and of course, the live radio are perfect.

No matter how you look at the situation, it seems that as you get older, you wouldn’t want to hear words or language that you would have as a teenager. Teenagers will listen to anything and not care about the lyrics, as where adults care way more about what a song has to say and will not deal with inappropriate language used in music.

Music listeners of different ages have different preferences, but this will not change that censorship will continue to be used in songs now and in the future songs to come.  Even if radio stations censor music, they can’t censor people’s opinion about it.

Featured Photo: A screenshot of the Spotify account of Destiny Ramos Marin, displaying a song that has a warning of explicit content. (Destiny Ramos Marin/ Ethic Photo)

Opinion: Social media works to unite people

By DANIELA MORA and LILY SHAW

It’s important to note that Covid-19 has caused a shift in today’s way of life by keeping humanity apart. Requirements to social distance and stay inside has caused many to severely limit communication with family and friends. Self quarantine has also limited the ability to interact with one another. People no longer get to see loved ones or spend quality time with the elders of their families due to fear of getting them sick. The virus has built societal walls, separating what used to be a united country.

With all of this separation, something has to be used to keep everyone together while still being safe from the virus outside our door. Social media, a platform in which different people from all around the world can share their pictures and moments with their followers. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat are all being used to communicate by using DMs (direct messages) or IMs (instant messages) to chat with someone else on the platform. Ryder Lee, a freshman at RHS, says that he has come in contact with around 100 influencers who have helped him branch out. He has received constructive criticism from them to help his future career come to life. The great thing about social media is the engagement with one another, even if no one is physically near. Social media is a place to see peers without having them physically next to us.

Social media not only has brought people closer together with friends, but it also provides opportunities to meet new people through them. Ivy Walker, a freshman at REV, says that over quarantine she has “reunited with old friends and met new ones.” For example, Instagram has a suggested feature where it shows the profiles of people who are followed by the users one already follows. One can also see other users’ posts on the Explore page if the user is a public account instead of private. 

Similarly to Instagram’s Explore page, TikTok has a For You page, where one can find any and all videos of interest based on an algorithm. On the other hand, if the users have a private account they can only be searched up by their username and will not come up on the For You page. These accounts will have to be requested in order to be able to follow them. Once this is done and the request has been accepted, one can easily send a message and begin a conversation with friends while keeping both parties safe and healthy. 

Digital social platforms have not only brought friendships to life and helped families and friends stay in touch, but it has saved many people. California has experienced many fires in the last few months. All it takes is one click of the “share” button and word spreads fast. Shelters, food drives, and pet evacuation centers have been set up all over and have been reposted thousands of times by the communities. Missing people have also been found through reposting on social media. The world can be a dangerous place sometimes, and hitting the share button helps a lot. 

In the end, social media has affected our life in many ways, some good and some bad. Covid may stop us from interacting with one another in person, but not digitally.

Letter: Reader responds to, “What does it mean to be an American?”

We welcome letters from our readers at trueethicnews@gmail.com

Please keep in mind that this is a student-led news publication for the high school community. Student editors hold discretion in the final publication, in part or whole, of letters from our readers.

What it means to be an American:

If you asked me this question five years ago, I would have confidently told you that I am proud to be an American citizen, that the hardships my family faced in order for me to live in a safe, and comfortable environment were worth it in the end. I would have told you that I wished everyone could experience the same wonderful opportunities I had after being born. 

Today, I can tell you with certainty that I am, in fact, ashamed to call myself an American. Our country has severely degraded in a matter of five years. In five, short years, I faced xenophobia, sexism, and multiple other forms of prejudice. In 1,825 days, I realized that I was considered inferior because of my skin color. I learned to acknowledge that the “flaws” in my genetics needed to be hidden in order to ensure my safety. I accepted that I could no longer freely express my opinions, and stand up for the racist attacks on my asian community. In a matter of months, a pandemic spread globally and became the top news in every city, country, and continent. However, what I didn’t expect was that COVID-19 would become the reason why I was avoided in the grocery store, and given rude stares everywhere I went. I was no longer a victim, but instead a target because of my skin color.

I had to accept that I was “lesser” because I simply was not white. Because my last name was Lee, and not Smith, people felt the need to tell me to go back to my own country. What country? This was my home from the very beginning; however, I felt alienated, like I was a mere stranger to the place I once called home. I felt like I no longer belonged. Instead of uniting in this time of crisis, the world became divided. Our own president failed to acknowledge the issues in our society, and allowed for these supremacists to gain support, and spread their ideas.

Moral, and simple human beliefs soon became political and controversial topics. Our country turned against one another. Over the course of 43,800 hours, I lost my identity, sense of security, and pride to be an American.

I wish I could tell you that, one day, I’ll take satisfaction and pride in our country but if change fails to occur then my opinion will not, and can not change.

Tori Lee

Opinion: The University of California system needs standardized testing

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By DANIEL WATERS

In an effort to support low-income students and those impacted by school closures in the wake of COVID-19, the U.C. system is taking action to reduce the importance of standardized testing, namely the SAT and ACT exams offered by the College Board and the American College Testing (ACT) organization respectively. UC will be test optional for 2021 and 2022 applicants and test blind in 2023 and 2024. UC President Janet Napolitano sent out a memo to the U.C. Board of Regents detailing a plan for UC to find or create a standardized exam that more accurately tests what U.C. schools expect by 2025. However, this test may be given to California students only. Napolitano says, “If U.C. is unable to either modify or create a test that meets these criteria and can be available for applicants for fall 2025, U.C. will eliminate altogether the use of the ACT/SAT for freshman admissions”. According to the memo, the options for out-of-state applicants will be determined in 2025. 

(MIA ARANDA/ La Plaza art)

The largest issue with U.C.’s plan is that the SAT and ACT are the most objective predictors of academic success in college. It is true that higher-income students have an advantage in standardized testing, but this edge exists in all facets of college applications. Richer students are also more likely to get better grades, be involved in more extracurriculars, win more awards, and have access to more resources that aid them in the application process. The difference between standardized testing and the other aspects is in the name: standardized testing is standard for everyone. This cannot be said for any other factor that colleges may consider. One’s grades are additionally impacted by their teachers, course difficulty, and other factors which create grade inflation or deflation. If a student’s GPA was 3.95 unweighted, but they scored a 1150 on the SAT, it would be evident to colleges that the student benefited from grade inflation and is not as prepared for college as their GPA would suggest. Because the U.C. system is removing their benchmark of comparison, unqualified students such as the one previously detailed have a greater chance of acceptance. Conversely, a student that was hurt by grade deflation (3.7 unweighted GPA and a 1500 SAT for example) is more likely to get rejected than they should be. A wealthy student is presumably going to live in a wealthier area where extracurriculars are easier to access than in a lower-income area. It goes without saying that awards directly correlate with wealth as richer students are going to have better grades and test scores. Wealth also ensures the ability to pay for standardized tests, have a good home situation, purchase review materials, and even hire tutors. Yet, the U.C. system has not elected to stop considering these relatively unreliable, unfair aspects of college applications. 

Clearly, family income has a significant impact on a student’s SAT score. These scores fall on a 600-2400 scale, but the College Board now uses a 400-1600 scale. The 1300-1700 score range shown in the chart translates to a 870-1150 score range on the modern scale. In 2019, the average SAT score was 1060. (via The Washington Post)

If U.C. comes up with a test by 2025, it will have the same problems as the SAT and ACT. There is no way that U.C. can compensate for inequity in test scores caused by discrepancies in wealth. In fact, it will put even more stress on students applying to a variety of schools, some of which might still consider the SAT and ACT for admission. In that scenario, students would have to prepare and pay for at least two of those exams. Again, wealthier students would still have the ability to take the tests multiple times and access better resources. It would be even harder for low-income students to pay for all the tests they need to take and study for all of them adequately. The U.C. system must also ensure that any test they use must be equivalent in difficulty to the SAT and ACT. If out-of-state students have to send SAT/ACT scores while in-state residents submit U.C. exam scores, the tests must be comparable to avoid any more inequality.

As U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ said in November 2019, “[The SAT and ACT] really contribute to the inequities of [the U.C.] system.” Unfortunately, U.C.’s solution to the least flawed aspect of their system fails to address these inequities while creating even more problems for the low-income students it is supposed to benefit.

Opinion: RUSD’s distance learning schedule needs to change to block

Originally published in La Plaza Press

By MIA ARANDA

Textbooks and Zoom logo depict the long hours students and teachers spent online each school day doing rigorous work and planning. Students spend approximately six hours on their screens for online instruction, not including the time later taken to complete homework. (MIA ARANDA / La Plaza photo) 

The fourth quarter of the 2019-20 school year underwent the implementation of online learning and video communications via Zoom and Google Meet due to the severity of COVID-19 cases. With this experience, students and teachers expected improvement in learning for August of 2020, having more time to prepare. However, it was quickly distinguished by frustration, exhaustion, and confusion due to the long school day being online. 

Having to start the year with distance learning revealed that this school year would not be the same as last quarter. The last quarter of school was an undemanding academic period of time in consideration of the countless circumstances students could be facing. Students’ grades from the third quarter were only able to increase and attendance was still taken simply to check in on students to confirm their wellbeing. It is understandable that there should be more rigor now, but increasing hours online proved to be more exhausting and unhealthy than considered. 

Prior to the start of the school year on Aug. 13, staff members worked tirelessly to establish how they could efficiently make distance learning effective in regards to the various home situations every student may be experiencing. Nonetheless, teachers are facing the expected difficulties and complexities of giving quality instruction to students through Google Classroom and video sessions. Every day, teachers work overtime to figure out ways to accommodate this heavy schedule. 

At the moment, RUSD’s distance learning schedule is the same for each weekday: one 50 minute class period and five 45-minute class periods separated by five-minute passing periods and a thirty-minute lunch break. This schedule does not adequately account for the excessive amount of time teachers and students are spending staring at their screens and sitting each day nor permit enough break time to use the restroom or perform any movement to stretch before the next class. 

Redlands High School sophomore Kayleen Lim said, “Five-minute ‘passing’ periods are not enough to smoothly transition our minds from one period to the next. I’ve even heard teachers say this with their own mouths. The teachers know the schedule is really inadequate.”

A block schedule should be implemented in exchange for this current schedule. With a block schedule, students would have three classes each day for four days each week in which each class consists of one hour periods or blocks. The other day would essentially be a checkup day with twenty-minute class periods for teachers to answer any questions or go over anything quickly preceding a twenty-minute screen time break before the next class. 

With one hour blocks, teachers would be presented with the opportunity to provide instruction in the first half of class and then assign independent, screen-free classwork for the student to do offline in the second half of class. 

The primary goal of executing a block schedule is to reduce the amount of time students and teachers are spending on the computer. According to Aaptiv, an online health and fitness magazine, excessive time spent staring at a screen can cause eye strain, sleep disorders, headaches, depression, and an increased risk of obesity.

Yucaipa High School applied block as their distance learning schedule this school year. Each day, school starts at 9 a.m., and students are finished with online instruction at 12:30 p.m.

Redlands East Valley junior Jamil Mouri said, “I believe that the distance learning format that is currently being employed by our school is ineffective because it does not permit teachers with enough time to finish lessons, testing is much harder due to the shorter class periods, and students are spending roughly 6 hrs in front of a screen, not including the amount of time [they have] to spend on homework.”

“Overall, schools should employ a block schedule at some point in the week whether it be on Wednesday and Thursday or Thursday and Friday. In my opinion, Thursday and Friday would work the best because teachers then are able to test the students for longer periods,” continues Mouri. “The block would allow for students to get the help they need and ask questions instead of being forced to suffer in silence due to the time restraint over six periods a day.”

Dr. Michelle Stover, Chemistry and AP Chemistry teacher at Citrus Valley High School said, “Yes, I do believe the current DL schedule can be improved to ensure the well being of students and teachers. A five-minute break is not sufficient to transition from one class to another, to take a break to go to the restroom, or to simply unwind after a 45-minute lesson.” 

“Being a science teacher, block schedule works really well for a lab, activity, demo or just to have time to transition from screen to real-time with students having hand-on applications, such as being on their own, researching or doing work online, with or without teacher supervision,” said Stover. “It depends on the student because some work better alone or some work well with the teacher’s assistance. It should be teacher discretion as long as the content is reached and deadlines are met by the students. Another, a block schedule will limit the daily attendance and video recording a teacher has to do on top of all the other juggling around teaching technology and content among others.” 

On the other hand, others would prefer to have all of their classes each day, but with extended passing period breaks. 

RHS sophomore Emma Wuysang said, “The only thing I would like to have changed is the spacing between classes and a longer lunchtime. I feel like block scheduling could be helpful but I would rather take all of my classes.”

However, having more time during breaks and lunch would result in a lengthier school day unless some of the student support time is sacrificed. This doesn’t communicate the reality that having such a long school day has already created problems, therefore, increasing the length of a school day makes the issue worse and is not an ideal choice. 

RUSD has decided to change the current distance schedule to permit more time during passing period but neglects the notion of changing to block or allowing more time during lunch. The new schedule results in the school day is lengthened by twelve minutes.

This was the new schedule for Citrus Valley, Redlands East Valley, and Redlands High School effective starting Aug. 31.

The revised schedule includes eight-minute passing periods instead of five, which will alleviate stress with a longer break to use the restroom or get a quick snack. Oftentimes, when classes accidentally run late, even by a mere two minutes, students and teachers feel pressured to log into their next class with no break time available to ensure they are on time. Thanks to these longer passing periods, even if a class period does run a bit late, students and teachers won’t feel as much pressure to have to log into their next class right away. 

However, this revised schedule takes away time from the student support window after school. Student support is pivotal in providing extra help for students who need it, especially now when students aren’t able to be on campus. Before, the student support period was one hour long, but it now spans forty minutes. 

Reduce time online.

Easier to absorb information in chunks.

Shorter school day.

Realistic breaks give time to move, rest eyes, and use the restroom. 

Unlimited lunchtime accounts for family responsibilities.

Sometimes less is more. 

Opinion: Why Digital Journalism?

Featured image is from the Digital Journalism Telepresence class in December 2019, celebrating Digital Journalism being approved as a course that fulfills the UC/Cal State A-G Fine Art requirement. (Ethic Photo)

“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world” – Henry R. Luce

By ARIANA GHALAMBOR

For some, Digital Journalism was just a semester-long class that they could take to acquire their Fine Arts elective credits, but for me it’s much more than that.

Throughout my first semester in AP United States History, I overheard several students always talking about Digital Journalism and I had always wondered why. It wasn’t until later in the winter time it dawned on me when I was approached by Mrs. Aranda if I would be interested in writing for her journalism class and joining the crew.

I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. In order for me to join digital journalism, it meant that I had to drop my year-long elective for AP computer science. It took me a few weeks of pondering, but the day before going to Winter Break I decided to take a leap and trust journalism.

I had been interested in journalism for a number of reasons: I was a good writer, I needed a creative outlet, I enjoyed the teacher in her other classes and I needed friends at that time.

As soon as I walked into the classroom and saw a classroom filled with bright-eyed students that were just as excited to be there as I was, I knew I was in the right place. I walked into the room with no expectations or even second thoughts. I walked in crouched over, with an awkward smile on my face as I hadn’t known anyone in the classroom. I decided to sit down at whichever desk was closest to the teacher, out of fear I wouldn’t fit in.

As soon as I sat down I met with other people that were similar to me. They were good writers too, they had also enjoyed having the creative outlet to dump all of their thoughts and passions into an article, and they were absolutely welcoming to me.

Immediately, I was excited to get to writing. I had a list filled with ideas for articles to write. But in January 2020, there were tensions between Iran and America that filled me with worry as an Iranian-American, so I got to work. It did not take long for me to write this article. It was what I was most passionate about: my culture, politics, current events. I had felt so proud of that article; it was my pride and joy. When I saw my name on the Ethic and La Plaza websites with my masterpiece, I felt a rush of happiness and excitement.

“Journalism, like democracy, is not something that is achieved. It is a work in progress, and not every day is as good as the last.” – John Maxwell Hamilton

That excitement and feeling I had from my first published article had filled me with motivation to continue writing. That feeling makes me want to continue to write to my heart’s content. Today, digital journalism is one of the classes I am most passionate about. The students in this class are like-minded and all unique in their own way and provide different outlooks on events that I was equally as interested in.

“Digital Journalism allows for me to write anything I want, wherever I want. Even from the comfort of my own home.” – author unknown

The class makes me feel empowered and safe, I enjoy every moment of digital journalism. I enjoy the “fun Fridays,” the independent writing time, being able to share my work with my classmates, discussing different topics in a fun way where we are all open minded to one another’s ideas. Digital Journalism for me means to be myself and to share my thoughts, ideas, comments, and personality. 

With this school year coming to an end, I know in my heart that I will miss Digital Journalism more than anything else (especially those boring chemistry and math tests).

“Either write something worth reading- or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

Opinion: Excessive school stress and strain can break students’ spirit

By MIA DELMONICO & AZRIEL OLMEDO

Children learn at a young age that growing up is part of the journey. While this is true, growing up too fast can be harmful to their growing minds. For many, it feels as if their childhood is taken away or at the least cut short. This pattern is most commonly observed with high school students.

High school students are often overwhelmed by the high standards they have to meet and obtaining good grades in their classes. Stress, anxiety and misery are obstacles that every student experiences on their path towards graduation. At least once, many students find themselves asking, “Why am I here?” or “Why am I doing this?”

Teachers often try to persuade their students to always do better than their best; to keep pushing. They sometimes expect too much from their students without considering what will become of the seemingly endless supply of work and studies they are given. Evidently, if a train were to continue moving at high speeds without rest, it would eventually derail from its path. 

Students should strive to focus on their wellbeing over trying to fix that one A- in Calculus in order to enjoy their childhood before it is completely gone. Students should strive to avoid derailment.

The mental strain on growing teenagers in school is different for everyone, but harmful all the same. Over time, continuous strain on the body and mind can cause stress which in some cases can lead to mental illness. Factors that contribute to stress and worry can range from chapter tests or quizzes to state testing and the SAT. 

Stress can also be induced outside the classroom. Certain instances where students might find it difficult or unenjoyable to go outside and socialize with others are often caused by bullying, rudeness, an overall sense of isolation. A student can feel isolated when they are tasked with many things all at one time, which can ultimately result in derailment.

The amount of work that students receive on a daily basis is enough to break the spirit and sanity of the student if left unchecked. It seems that high schoolers are constantly occupied with school work. Though this is not the case for all students, the vast majority receive loads of work each week. This hinders their ability to have the opportunity to do other things such as athletics, music, and simple teenage outings. 

While in check, this can help young adults learn to balance their time and activities in preparation for adulthood and a career. However, students often become extremely overwhelmed by the overload of school work, practices, jobs, family, and a social scene at this time in their lives.

High school students should still be able to enjoy the remaining years of their childhoods and the immense amount of school work and high expectations makes this difficult. For example, many students spend their weekends doing homework and projects instead of being outdoors and involved with community groups or social circles. While it is definitely important to have responsibilities to tend to, these required tasks can sometime take over the remaining years of a high schooler’s childhood. Students may refrain from partaking in other activities because they are worried and preoccupied with academic endeavours. 

Avoiding derailment and improving one’s well being does not justify doing nothing in school. Many students often mistake advice such as “take a break to rest” and reword it as “skip the paper and go out” or “don’t do the homework.” While it doesn’t hurt to do something else from time to time, it is important for students to learn how to manage their time. Simply setting it aside until the last minute does more harm than good. The goal of avoiding derailment is to learn how to find a balance between school and self, and to not allow one side to overwhelm the other.

Though the large amount of work assigned on a daily basis can often contribute to student’s high stress levels and in some cases anxiety, it is important for high school teachers to prepare their students for college. If a student chooses to continue their education at a college or university after being assigned a lot of work on a regular basis, they will most likely be more successful than if they were not exposed to a high level and great amount of work in high school. If this work was not given, students may be shocked and extremely overwhelmed by the sudden growth of expectations. Even though this work load can become too much at times, it is better than not being able to complete or keep up with the amount of time and effort required later in life in order to pursue a career path.

Overall, the high standards and large loads of work expected from high schoolers can be unrealistic and even unbearable. Though such things do contribute to advancing life skills and career adeptness, it is important for high school students to enjoy what little time is left in their childhood.

Opinion: East Valley students share their controversial pizza topping opinions

By AALEYAH WINSLOW

Oh, pineapple on pizza. This topic is one of the highest controversies that is debated, especially considering how simple of a topic this is. On one hand, some believe that pineapple does not belong on pizza because it is a fruit and should not be paired with cheese and tomato sauce. On the other hand, some people believe that pineapple does belong on pizza because it adds a little something extra to a pizza. 

The idea of pineapple of pizza did not originate from the Hawaiians, which is contrary to what most believe. According to legend, a greek immigrant by the name of Sam Panopoulos introduced the idea. He moved to Canada in 1954, and then he created the first Hawaiian pizza in his restaurant around 1962 . Mainly he focused on traditional American food like burgers and fries, but he started experimenting with trendier foods like pizza. So, it is safe to assume that the pineapple on pizza debate has been around since 1962.

Personally, I believe pineapple does not belong on pizza because it is a distraction to the true essence of a good slice of pizza. Also, why would you eat a slice of Hawaiian pizza when you could have a good hearty meat lovers pizza!

I reached out to some Redlands East Valley High School students to hear some of their opinions on the topic at hand. First, I spoke with people who like pineapple on pizza. Sophomore, Ella Fitzpatrick stated that she likes this type of pizza “because it gives the pizza a little twist, but with pineapple it adds sweetness and with cashews it adds that crunch.” Freshman, Mauricio Pliego stated that “it’s amazing, you guys are crazy.” Then, I spoke with people who dislike pineapple on pizza. Senior, Brooke Mgbafilike, described her thoughts by saying, ”imagine you’re eating something normal, and then just a random sweetness comes out of nowhere.” Junior, Alyssa Orneales believes “it’s disgusting, like, nobody should really eat it, its gross.”

Everyone has their own opinions, and it is important to respect each others opinions, but for now, feel free to enjoy whatever pizza you wish.

Featured Photo: An image of a pizza from the chain restaurant Papa John’s, with the controversial pineapple topping. (Ethic photo/ Amelie Palacios)

Opinion: Iranians detained at the US crossing border

By ARIANA GHALAMBOR

Over 60 Iranian-American citizens have been detained and held for additional questioning at the U.S. crossing border. Several Iranian-Americans claim they were traveling through Washington’s state border from Canada when they were held for hours at a time for questioning. The detainees held under suspicion were all citizens of the U.S. with permanent residency, and most had even been born in America with some Iranian heritage. They were asked questions regarding their political views, religious beliefs, family careers, background education and more personal questions. 

When held under questioning, Iranian-American traveler, Masih Fouladi asked the agents why he and his family were being held in detention when the agent replied with, “this is a bad time to be an Iranian.” According to USA Today by Savannah Behrmann.

Not only have many Iranian-Americans been outraged by this, but many activists have posted on social media outlets advocating for the victims, such as Twitter and Instagram, about how disgusted they are with the incident and upset that the families were held under suspicion solely based on their ethnic background.

@RepJayapal

“Deeply disturbed by reports that Iranian Americans, including U.S. citizens, are being detained at the Canadian border with WA State.My office has been working on this all morning. Please contact us with information on directly affected people at WA07PJ_casework@mail.house.gov. “(Twitter)

@RepKatiePorter

“I’m deeply disturbed by reports that people of Iranian descent—including U.S. citizens—are being detained by CBP. In Orange County, we embrace our diversity, including our Iranian neighbors. If #CA45 residents need help with CBP or another agency, our OC office is ready to help.” (Twitter)

Although borders are known for carefully screening and questioning the passing-by travelers, it is no coincidence that almost 100 Iranians have been detained over the course of a weekend following the Iranian-American crisis with Soleimani’s death. Gil Kerlikowske, a former commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said their “agents make sure to pay close attention to any traveler’s country of origin when that nation was considered a national security threat, especially countries like Iran” that over the past few weeks have had tensions with the U.S. Nonetheless, this behavior will not be tolerated and is not justifiable for the insulting effects it has put upon hundreds of innocent Iranian-American families. 

@GovInslee

“My office is closely tracking reports that Iranian Americans, including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, have been detained at the WA-Canada border.”(Twitter)

According to NewYork Times’ “dozens of Iranians and Iranian Americans report being detained at U.S. border crossing” by Mike Baker and Caitlin Dickerson, one of the detainees that chose to remain anonymous stated that federal agents “brought books, toys and coloring paper for our kids, and they brought some juice and crackers for everyone else,” she wrote. “When they brought the food, I started to cry because a strange feeling came to me. I felt like we were in jail, detained for so many hours. The officers had been nice and I can’t say there was mistreatment, but there were no explanations.” Unfortunately, not every detainee received such accommodating treatment. According to Crystal (whose last name was not disclosed to remain anonymous) said, “there was at least 60 of us,” she said. Her family got in line, where they would remain for an hour and a half before having their first conversation with an officer. They handed over their passports and car keys and began their long, exhausting wait.

“We didn’t get interviewed for probably like eight hours,” Crystal said. The space was filled with families. Many of the detainees had their U.S. or Canadian passports. “I knew there was young kids because I could hear them crying,” Crystal said. “There was a lot of old people.” She laid down on the floor and tried to sleep. “There was only one toilet for all of us, and it was filthy. It ran out of toilet paper. It ran out of paper towels. There were no outlets — nobody could charge their phones,” she said. “People can’t even cry,” she added. “There’s no tissues.” She later mentioned, “They didn’t even know why they had pulled us over,” she said. “We kept asking them questions. And they literally were like, ‘We’re sorry. We’re sorry. It shouldn’t be that long.’ But it took 11 and a half hours before we left.”

Habib (whose full name was not released to remain anonymous) was another victim of the detention and said that “people talking today have compared it to the travel ban, but I think it’s important to make the point that these are U.S. citizens. This is completely different…It really is about the government treating citizens differently based on where they’re from.”

Other Iranian-American detainees claimed that people of other races were held under questioning, but their cases were very brief and left shortly after. The Iranian-Americans had noticed they were being held for a much longer time period and felt as if they were being interrogated.

Ultimately, Iranian-Americans have been suffering since the Iranian-American sanction crises and as tensions continue to increase, it truly is a “bad time to be Iranian”. How the detainee officers and agents treated these victims was unjust and disgustingly racist. For President Trump to continue these tensions between Iran and the U.S. means that more Iranians will continue to face discrimination in America and be detained. 

Opinion: Orangewood student makes a case for return of school buses

Graphic design created using ibisPaint X. (Mia Aranda/ Ethic Media)

By MALIK GAYNAIR

What keeps students motivated to get up and get ready for school? Maybe it’s friends, maybe it’s food, or maybe it’s educational excitement. But, amid all this motivation, some students still find reasons to not come to school.

As a model continuation school, Orangewood High School works to reignite students’ motivation to attend school again and catch up on work. However, a major impediment stands in the way: transportation. Many students are unable to secure regular transportation to home and from school.

Orangewood no longer offers school busing anymore. Why don’t we have it anymore, you say? Allegedly, budget cuts. No matter the reason, a bus system is crucial for student success.

Local city bus stops are often too far from most students’ houses, or too far from Orangewood in general. Despite this, most students still go the extra mile to take the public city bus and walk to school. This system puts a strain on regular and timely attendance, because students do not want to depend on unreliable public transportation wherein they run the risk of harassment by strangers on the city buses. 

Moreover, some students experience problems at home that may prevent them securing regular rides from family members. Occasionally, students’ parents can’t take them to school, because they have work. Additionally, when the our city experiences inclement weather, students are more inclined to stay home because they are faced with the following question: Why go to school if I don’t have a ride or don’t want to walk to school?

Orangewood’s goal should be to encourage students to attend school; it would be a good idea if the district gave the school its transportation back. At the end of the day, it should be about ensuring that students have what they need to be successful and giving them a better chance to graduate on time.

Opinion: The “Ok Boomer” phrase takes over the internet

By SOFIA DICARLO

The “Ok Boomer” phrase, which was introduced through social media in the fall of 2019, has become quite popular among the younger generations of our society. “Ok Boomer” is a passive-aggressive insult used by younger generations to mock and dismiss an action or statement made by an older person that is considered “outdated” or “not in the loop.” 

It started to gain traction after an unnamed man in a Baseball Cap posted a Tik Tok claiming that “the Millennials in Generation Z have the “Peter Pan Syndrome”– they don’t ever want to grow up.” He argued that Millennials would go into adulthood expecting for their “utopian ideals from their childhood to translate” into society.

It seemed like that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, for the video sparked a mass-response from other users, where they used the audio as a background while they either listed the economic and societal problems caused by Baby Boomers, or they created a project that simply said “ok boomer.”

On Twitter, a user by the name of “Ok Boober” posted a screenshot of his girlfriend [@ok_girlfriend on Twitter]’s spot-on explanation of why “Ok Boomer” gained as much traction as it did:

This explanation hit the nail on the head. For years, older generations have dumped their problems onto millennial’s backs and have expected them to fix them, but it is not their job.

A multitude of articles have been published in the past few years arguing that “Millennials Have Ruined [blank]” or “Millennials Have Killed [blank].” But, the research shows that our economic and political state is because of the Baby Boomer Generation. In the article “The Boomers Ruined Everything,” written by Lyman Stone, they explained that the reason for why America’s policies and politics seem like they are at a standstill “is simply that Americans got older… [w]hen a society gets older, its politics change. Older voters have different interests than younger voters… excessive student debt, climate change, and low birth rates are more easily ignored.” 

People who have started to use “Ok Boomer” “is a result of the frustration of younger generations who are tired of being bullied,” says @TheGallowBoob or “Ok Boober” on Twitter. 

The “Ok Boomer” trend is a direct result of millennials frustration of being called “lazy and unproductive” from their elders, and have turned it into a “last-hurrah” attempt to shut them down with baseless insults, for the majority of so-called Boomers are unwilling to listen to reason. 

Featured Image: The TikTok app opening page on student Lilian Mohr’s phone. (Lilian Mohr/ Ethic Photo)


Opinion: The student loan crisis is crushing America

By AVALON SALVADORE

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, outstanding student loan debt in the United States ranges between $902 billion and $1 trillion with around $864 billion in federal student loan debt. “You don’t want to get a loan because in the future you’ll always be paying it off,” said Kelly Johnston, a senior at Citrus Valley High School. (Avalon Salvadore / Ethic Photo)

Almost every student has dreamt of going to college. As a little kid, college is idealised as a place filled with people and experiences meant to help you on your journey to adulthood. But the reality is far different than expectation. First, there’s application fees and then the big kahuna, tuition itself.

Thousands of dollars are spent on tuition even without room and board. Kids from middle class or impoverished families can not reasonably pay for themselves to attend exorbitantly priced college on their own without loans or scholarships. This disadvantage is especially exacerbated by a global economy wherein almost every profession requires a degree for the job.

Right now, the student loan debt in the United States is over a trillion dollars,;this debt has become the largest household debt in America since the recession. 

However, there have been strides to make public universities more affordable such as the Free College Promise in California, making community colleges free for the first two years. This program offers an affordable alternative to brand-name colleges that cost upwards of $40,000 per year.

But most kids are pressured to jump straight from high school into a 4-year university. From the start of high school, kids are influenced to think that a prominent future is dependent on what college they attend. Millions of students stress about being accepted to UCLA or USC, and if they are accepted then they are faced with the exorbitant student loans needed to attend these brand-name schools. There’s an unfortunately high chance that it may not end up being a fruitful investment in the future.  

Though career school is still an are option, the only way to succeed in today’s society requires some level of a degree. Schools need offer more accessible options for less fortunate students and maintain an inclusive atmosphere wherein everyone has a chance to succeed in a world where education is the greatest commodity a person could have.

Opinion: The fight for the web-slinging hero is resolved; Disney waves a white flag

By RAYYAN ABDO

After much heated debate and public outcry, Sony Pictures and Walt Disney reach a deal to continue Spider-Man movie partnership. (Credit to Marvel Studios)

A few months ago, a disagreement between Disney and Sony Pictures occurred over a certain superhero; the fight seems to be leaning in Disney’s favor as they have expanded the character in the Marvel films.

Fan-favorite Spider-Man is being pulled around like a rope in a game of tug-of-war in this custody battle between Disney and Sony Pictures. Like most disputes, this quarrel started over money. After seeing how much money the Spider-Man movies brought in with their involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)—roughly $2 billion combined with both solo movies—Sony decided that they wanted him back. Spider-Man, currently played by actor Tom Holland, has been through three remakes and remains one of the most beloved superheroes in the movie business. After viewing the father-son interactions between Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark and Holland’s Spider-Man, many Marvel fans have grown attached to the slightly awkward but likeable Spider-Man they have seen on screen. Now, imagine the horror and devastation Spidey fans felt when they heard he would be taken out of the MCU, especially after he was turned to dust in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

The first deal struck between Sony and Marvel Studios was in 2015, which allowed Spider-Man to be portrayed in several Disney movies such as “Captain America: Civil War,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Avengers: Endgame.” However, Sony was still in control of the financing and distribution of the content. Tom Holland starred in two solo movies that were produced by Marvel, but owned by Sony. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Sony released a statement on Aug. 20, 2019, that expressed their disappointment over Disney’s demand for greater shares of the movies and announced Sony’s split with Disney. Soon after this statement was released, actor Jeremy Renner, who plays Hawkeye in several of the Avengers movies, posted on Instagram saying, “Hey @sonypictures we want Spider-Man back to @therealstanlee and @marvel please, thank you.” This statement perfectly encapsulates how this corporate fight has caused outrage  both inside and outside of Marvel Studios.

However, the fighting was far from over, and Sony was getting the bigger part of the blame from the press than Disney. The head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, expressed his sadness over potentially losing the rights for Spider-Man in the MCU, but also looked on the bright side. He told Entertainment Weekly, “It was a dream that I never thought would happen. It was never meant to last forever.” Tom Holland also added, “The future of Spider-Man will be different, but it will be equally as awesome and amazing, and we’ll find new ways to make it even cooler.” 

Thankfully this didn’t come to pass, as Peter Parker swung in to save the day, as always. Holland gave a heartwarming message to his fans that spurred an uprising. “It’s been a crazy week, but I want to let you know I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart. I love you 3,000,” said Holland, which inadvertently rallied MCU and Spidey fans to take to Twitter and make the hashtag SaveSpiderMan go viral. Finally, on Sept. 27, Sony and Disney announced that Spider-Man would star in one more Marvel film, most likely Avengers 5 or another upcoming film. This news also confirmed that there will be several more solo movies made with Tom Holland as the beloved web-shooting hero. 

Disney and Sony’s reconciliation prompted actor Ben Mendelsohn to tell Metro News, “Boy, I could name 30 [characters] that you could quite comfortably lose before you start thinking about losing Spider-Man. In fact, I cannot think of a single character who’s more important to Marvel than Spider-Man. You’ve got Hulk, you’ve got Thor…none of them are as important as Spider-Man. None of them.” And Mendelsohn knows Spider-Man well, having appeared as Talos the Skrull in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” after debuting in “Captain Marvel.”

So with all this, it is obvious that losing our dear Spider-Man would hurt everyone, including Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie who “hate” Holland with a passion. “We love you, little Tom,” said Mackie in a Variety interview alongside Stan, pointing to his heart. Here’s a toast to Disney, for pushing for a new deal and saving Spider-Man from being removed from the Marvel Universe forever.

Opinion: AVID program makes a positive impact on Orangewood students

By MECCAYDA GREGARY

At such a small school like Orangewood High School, the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program has made a widespread, positive impact on students.

AVID is a college preparation program designed to provide students with the skills they need to be successful for college. AVID intends to support low-income, struggling students. The program teaches critical thinking, organization, teamwork, note-taking, and key writing skills.   

Orangewood High School AVID students play an interactive game that demonstrates the importance of teamwork and critical thinking in real-life settings. (Meccayda Gregary / Ethic News)

According to a statement released by AVID, 75 percent of participating students come from a low-economic status background while 80 percent are students from underrepresented demographics. Although students come increasingly varied backgrounds, they still outperform their peers across various subjects due to their AVID training.

Orangewood High School AVID students participate by learning about possible college opportunities at a college fair held in the Jerry Lewis Center. (Meccaryda Gregary/ Ethic News)

AVID helps struggling students by guiding them to a path to success with training in study and time management skills. According to an AVID statement, over 90 percent of participating student graduates attend college, and 89 percent of those students continue to attend college after two years. This goes to show the AVID program is effective in teaching students the skills they need to be successful in college and in daily life.  

The Orangewood High School AVID family poses for a photo together in front of their high school. (Meccadya Gregary / Ethic News)

Through the program, students are able to prepare for college, apply to the colleges that spark their interest, visit countless campuses, receive scholarships and engage with alumni. Otherwise, students may not have had similar opportunities or encouragement to even apply, much less pursue higher education. At Orangewood, involvement in AVID has had countless benefits. As a participating senior, I have applied to college, received acceptances from some universities and junior colleges, and obtained pending scholarships.

Students learn to appreciate and adapt to their AVID “family,” an experience that is helpful to those who need support from peers and teachers. In all, AVID is a beneficial program to struggling students and minorities with its high-preforming track record of leading students to success at Orangewood High School.


Opinion: New College Board policies benefit Redlands high school students, but have room for improvement

By LILIAN MOHR

During the 2019-2020 academic school year, the Redlands Unified School District has made several significant changes. Arguably some of the most beneficial of these changes came with the district’s agreement with the College Board organization.

SAT and PSAT pamphlets depicted by Redlands East Valley High School student advertise College Board exam. (Photo by Aaleyah Winslow and Alison Bradshaw/ Ethic Photo)

Redlands East Valley High School specifically, will be offering 20 AP courses and exams for students, ranging in topics anywhere from AP Computer Science Principles to AP US Government. The most impressive fact about the available AP courses on Redland’s campuses actually comes down to their price tag.

In past years, the average cost to take an AP exam was $25 if a student was enrolled in the course. This price, though it  might not seem outrageous to all, added up quickly for many students. To put this into perspective, some students take up to five or six AP courses per year.

Financial aid is also provided at the high schools within the district. According the Shana Delmocio, a guidance counselor at REV, “There are fee waivers that students could fill out and then have this year and every student enrolled in AP courses will only have to pay $5 per exam. Students not enrolled in the course will still have to pay the $94 if they would like to take the exam.” 

From the perspective of a junior in high school, this seems like an amazing opportunity to alleviate the financial stress that was previously related to taking an AP course. This reduced price equalized the playing field, allowing every student to have the same chance at getting the best education they possibly can in the four years they spend in high school. 

When questioned on her opinion of the price reductions, Skylar Watson, a junior at REV who is taking three AP courses this year, said “I think it is really amazing and inclusive that the district has made the cost of the tests more affordable because it is really important that every student has the opportunity to take every course that is accessible to them.”

Although there have been overall extremely positive changes made this year, there is one topic that seems to create some controversy. 

Delmonico said that RUSD has offered free PSAT exams in October for students in grades 8-11, and the SAT exams for seniors, since the 2017-21018 school year. The ability to take these exams for free can play a major role in students’ academic careers after high school, yielding many benefits. What doesn’t seem to be the most beneficial, though, is not allowing juniors to opt into taking the SAT during the October testing date. 

For many juniors in high school, they are beginning to think about life after high school, whether that entails attending college, entering the workforce, or joining the military. For many students the SAT is a large part in their college decision process, and if the RUSD is focused on providing the best possible academic environment to set up students success after they graduate, then providing multiple free SAT exams throughout all of junior and senior year is the first big step.

If a student is enrolled in RUSD from eighth grade on, they will take the PSAT for free four times but only get two free SAT exams. Although the PSAT does provide an opportunity for some students to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, overall an additional free SAT seems much more beneficial to the majority of the students enrolled in the district.

According to the National Merit Scholarship organization, “Of the 1.6 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores (calculated by doubling the sum of the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test scores) qualify for recognition in the National Merit® Scholarship Program.” Then, of those 50,000 students, only approximately 15,000 of those students become finalists. 

Currently, the National Merit Scholarship Program does not allow entrances into the program from students who are not juniors. The organization stated that “although some schools encourage their sophomores to take the PSAT/NMSQT for guidance purposes, these students must take the test again when they are juniors to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program if they are spending the usual four years of study in grades 9 through 12.”

When asked about her thoughts on the opportunity to take the SAT as junior twice instead of once,  Tejazvi Gopalan, a sophomore at REV said, “ I think it would be great to get some experience with the actual SAT test because then I would be able to take the whole test including the essay to get a better understanding of the test”.  She then said “ it would also help to be fully prepared going into senior year with one more SAT under your belt so that you can learn and improve.”

Students are more eager than ever to focus on their future and to prepare themselves for college or career. Therefore, students should be able to take the PSAT/NMSQT exam their sophomore year and have a chance to qualify for the program. Then junior year, the majority of students who did not qualify can then opt to take the SAT instead on the October testing date. The district could offer the opportunity for juniors to take the PSAT/NMSQT test again if they are interested.

If this new process of SAT and PSAT testing was put in place, it could satisfy the needs of a large population of high school students in the district. It would eliminate one additional preliminary SAT exam for students, giving them more opportunities to increase their score, which could have drastic effects on their college admissions experience. 

Ultimately, there are always going to be different perspectives and therefore conflicting opinions when it comes to these topics. There are thousands of high school students currently enrolled in  RUSD schools that spend months putting in hard work into AP level courses and studying hard for the SAT in order to have a brighter future. These students have strong opinions about their education system and the district should ensure that every student’s voice is heard when it comes to policies that directly affect them.

Point/ Counterpoint: Should the Sandy Hook Promise PSA be shown?

By BROOKE MGBAFILIKE and ISABELLE SAMAAN

Sandy Hook Promise honors the life that was lost in the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Every year the nonprofit organization makes a public service announcement warning about the dangers of school shootings. The current year’s PSA, titled “Back to School Essentials,” has mixed reviews. It depicts kids using their new school products to escape a school shooting. The PSA has people asking the question, “Should this be shown?”

Readers should note that the YouTube video of this PSA includes the following caption:

“**Please note that this PSA contains graphic content related to school shootings that may be upsetting to some viewers. If you feel that this subject matter may be too difficult for you, you may choose not to watch this video.**”

For more information on Sandy Hook Promise, visit their website at https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/

YES

By ISABELLE SAMAAN

My perspective is that  the Sandy Hook PSA video needs to be shown. I believe this because teens and adults need to understand the impacts of gun violence. 

This video will help show that we can prevent the tragic loss of students and adults with more awareness; to show those who watch this video that there are ways to help stop the senseless killings of students and adults.

Many children at Sandy Hook Elementary School died due to the lack of safety precautions. This is important because it emphasizes to school districts around the world the importance of measures to keep students safe from gun violence. 

This video helps others understand how to protect their loved ones and those around them from the harmful effects of guns. It can also introduce new ways in which schools can protect their staff and students. One of these strategies is to train professors and staff of schools to keep their students safe when an intruder comes. It will encourage schools to show students what they can do in order to prevent a shooter from inflicting harm upon others, such as the girl who used her jacket to lock a door preventing the shooter from coming in.

This PSA is an effective way to present the issue of gun violence to give the viewers insight on this issue. The video shows ways that students and staff can stop a shooter from harming others.

NO

By BROOKE MGBAFILIKE

I understand Sandy Hook’s Foundation is dedicated to speaking out against gun violence, but this year’s PSA should definitely not be shown. There are other ways to prevent gun violence without showing children running for their lives. 

Now, in 2019, is this what children are supposed to accept? In the background, you can make out kids being shot or suffering from a gun. A video like this creates a fear of going to school. 

This PSA normalizes and makes a joke out of the severity that is gun violence. For example, saying that a sock is stretchy enough to use on a wound is a mocking way of delivering the message.

This PSA turns the excitement of going to school into preparation for a gun shoot-out. For example, the kid who was excited about his new skateboard instead has to use it to break a window to escape.

There are many other ways to speak out against gun violence without showing children being shot. For instance, last year’s Sandy Hook PSA was much more appropriate. They didn’t have to show kids bleeding and still spoke to school shootings. The creators were able to convey the signs of gun violence while still catching the viewers’ attention. 

Overall the issue of gun violence is a serious subject that deserves maturity to address. 

What do you think? Weigh in with your opinion in the comments section below.

Featured image to this article is a screenshot from YouTube of the Sandy Hook Promise “Back to School Essentials” PSA.

Uninformed Opinions: Why do people believe things without any proof?

By EMERSON SUTOW

In 2011, a Princeton University-based research team conducted group decision making experiments and employed mathematical models and computer simulation to provide insights in uninformed human behavior. They found that uninformed individuals “tend to side with and embolden the numerical majority,” demonstrating that the spread of false or incomplete information can be detrimental to the greater population. (Pixabay/ Pexels)

Have you ever heard news from a friend that seemed completely crazy but you believed it nonetheless? Why is this? There is no proof and yet, because you heard it from someone familiar, you begin to consider it. This phenomenon leads to the spread of potentially false information that, in some cases, can negatively affect the greater population.  

With the prevalence of false ideas, many people become confused when presented facts do not line up or make sense. Older generations may be especially prone to this misinformation due to a technological disconnect, while younger generations do not know the consequences of spreading possibly false knowledge. The thoughtless actions of a select few could misrepresent an entire generation as unaware or ignorant. 

Gossip and rumors that spread from false information can harm people both mentally and socially, often leading to conflict among friends and family. Often, people give opinions on subjects that tend to offend or isolate others and convinced individuals continue to share those unsupported thoughts with others, furthering the misinformation.

David Feldman, an associate professor of psychology at Santa Clara University, argues that “many of the most important issues of our day hinge on people having an accurate understanding of the facts.” Feldman’s assertion supports the notion that doubt or falsehood in information can lead to controversy in daily life. 

According to R. Kelly Garrett, an associate professor of communication at Ohio State University, he and his colleague, Brian Weeks, performed a survey that found 50.3 percent of people would follow their gut when deciding whether something is true or not. This suggests that a large proportion of people will immediately decide whether presented information is true or not without any prior knowledge on the topic.

Some common examples of false information include the belief that vaccines can cause autism, human actions have nothing to do with climate change and smoking does not cause cancer, despite extensive scientific evidence that disprove them. 

People have many different reasons to believe these uninformed opinions, such as compelling personal experience. Most people don’t always believe opinions because they are correct; sometimes they believe them because it could affect the way others view them. Though these opinions have been disproven by peer-reviewed research and extensive studies, they still tend to spread and negatively affect people.

The spreading of misinformation results in confusion and can misrepresent a person to seem ignorant. It demonstrates why it is crucial to research a topic before sharing an opinion.