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.

The RUSD Bargaining Unit Basic Salary Schedule shows the varying salaries from teachers in Class A and Class F. The staff’s education or experience determines the class they remain in.  (NATHAN DENNIS/ Ethic News Photo)

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, 

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 in session, this issue has arisen once again and possibly significantly more 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: Toxic masculinity continues harmful and outdated stereotypes in modern society

By ALLISON STOCKHAM & MAKAYLA NAIME

Toxic masculinity is a social dilemma, forcing stereotypes and causing men to be oppressed emotionally and physically. In recent years, however, these stereotypes have started to be broken down by people everyday, eliminating its harmful effects on both men and women. 

Toxic masculinity is the result of society’s attitudes, viewpoints, and stereotypes focusing on how men should behave and their roles. This term appeared around 1980-1990 and has been used with sexism activists, feminist activists, and against appaling steryotypes towards men. Toxic masculinity has been forced on men and is sometimes the way they cope with trauma or conflicting situations. However, if we were to eliminate this thought process, then toxic masculinity could easily be eliminated and stereotypes wouldn’t be forced on men and women anymore. 

Toxic masculinity and masculinity are two very different things. Masculinity is being traditionally manly, and 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 masciline and do traditionally “masculine things.” 

For example, someone with toxic masculinity might say that things like wearing feminine clothing, painting nails, or crying makes them no longer 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 can make men feel like they are not a real man 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 is let out through aggression. Eliminating toxic masculinity does not mean men need to be emotional and feel like they have to overcompensate their feelings; it’s simply getting rid of the pressure they 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. 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 a woman named Candace Owens. She 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 had pictures of her in a 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 creates a toxic environment for those who feel like they need to fit this contract of masculinity. Eliminating these roles that society is forcing 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 slowly start getting rid of the toxic 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.

Opinion: Cell phones should be banned at school

By ALYSSA ORNELAS

Envision this: A teacher is trying to explain physics to the class but a student decides that their phone is more important than expanding their knowledge. Once the teacher is done explaining the lesson and it’s time for the test, this student is not prepared and does not know how to comprehend the material.  This is not the teachers fault, but it is the student’s. Not only does this affect the student’s academic performance but also the school’s ranking. 

In a classroom or on campus, students shouldn’t have the opportunity to get distracted on their phone. 

In April of 1973, cell phones were invented by Martin Cooper. This invention caused a new wave for society. Fast forward to modern day society where phones have become a major issue in schools worldwide. By 2016 at least 73% of American teens carried an iphone or similar device, according to the Los Angeles Times’ article, “Less smartphone time equals happier teenager, study suggests.” Most students bring their cellphones to school everyday without realizing it. 94% of students bring a phone to school and use it throughout the school day, according to the Student Pulse Survey from Top Hat conducted by independent research firm Survata, which polled 520 college students about cell phones.  These phones are a large part of why students are distracted at school.

Some might argue that a cell phone is necessary in this digital age, and that one cannot communicate with people or look up information for classes without it. The problem with this statement is that schools provide all of the resources you need for school work. In most schools, students are provided with computers, laptops, textbooks, and more in order to excel in their studies. If a student ever wants to contact someone in case of an emergency, there is always a phone in the office for student use. If they have a project or assignment due the next day, the library is open during and after school for students to use textbooks, books, and computers.

Cell phones also could be a cause of bullying. If a student does not have a phone or has an “old” phone they could be bullied and made fun of.  Another possibility of bully is online bullying. 1 in 5 teenagers is bullied online, according to Ditch the Label, one of the largest anti-bullying organizations in the world. Students constantly have to monitor what they are doing because it could be recorded at any time. Without this pressure, students could actually be able to express themselves without worrying.

In conclusion, cell phones should be prohibited at school for several reasons. Teachers and students get distracted. Resources are always available for students. Phones could possibly lead to bullying. In the end, it is better to just leave the cell phone at home.

Open letter to freshmen from a senior: tips on self, studying and school pride

By AALEYAH WINSLOW

Dear Freshmen, 

So, you have started your first year of high school, and you are still trying to figure out what is going on. While high school seems unfamiliar and scary, it is nothing to stress about. Here are some tips from a senior perspective to the freshmen class of 2023.

First, the most important thing to remember is to be yourself. In high school it is easy to create a fake persona to fit in. However, you will be able to find genuine friends who love you for you by simply being yourself.

Second, join clubs. Clubs come in handy in so many ways. First, they look great on college applications. Second, some do community service, which you will likely need at some point in high school. In addition, they can help you make new friends.

Third, read all of the books you are assigned in English classes. This tip hits hard. Throughout high school you will be assigned books to read like Lord of the Flies, Huckleberry Finn, and The Scarlet Letter. Then, most likely you will be asked to write essays about them. Specifically, in honors and AP English classes, you will get prompts where knowing books like the ones mentioned helps a bunch because you can reference or tie them into your essays.

Fourth, study, study, study. In middle school, for most it was easy to get by with average grades. High school, not so much. You will really see in high school how much a tests affect your grade. This is why it is essential to study for tests and quizzes as much as possible.

Fifth, see the good in people. Everyone on campus is going through different things at home. Sometimes people can be mean in school for no reason. However, you never know what they are going through which could be causing them to be this way. Instead of judging these people, be their friend and be a light to their life.

Sixth, take pride in being a part of your school and have fun. Go to football games, go to plays, go to band concerts, go to movie nights, and take advantage of all the events where you can show your schoolpride.

Lastly, stay out of drama. The reputation you make freshman year sticks with you all through high school. The things you say or do will be remembered by your peers. Always remember to treat people with love and respect. It helps to become friends with individuals who you can trust.

Featured photo caption: Senior Gael Perez (left) gives advise to freshman Nate Caliva about methods of studying. (Ethan Dewri / Ethic Photo)

Opinion: Detention is doing more harm than good

By AZRIEL OLMEDO

Detention bars students from most productive activities, such as completing school work or studying, and most students consequently spend the reflection period catching up on sleep. (Alyssa Martin / Ethic Photo)

Whether the reason is traffic, alarm trouble, accidents or lack of parking, the result is often the same: detention.

It’s Friday morning. A student has been studying hard all week for the test in their first period. They check the time and worry that they are going to be late; their ride to school assures them that they will be fine. The student finally makes it to school, and as they open the classroom door, the teacher stops and sends the student to detention for arriving ten seconds after the bell. 

Now, they are stuck in a place where students are forced to do absolutely nothing. There is no homework time, no reading, no fiddling with hair and no tapping on the desk⁠—there is nothing but silence. When released, students are often left with incomplete work that usually cannot be revisited or taken for full credit.

Detention was first introduced as a reflection period for misbehaving students. The expected outcome was that the student will learn a lesson afterward and avoid misbehaving in the classroom again. Detention was designed to target those who arrived past the tardy bell or displayed unorderly conduct due to a lack of motivation and interest. However, students who are determined to learn and succeed are also sent to detention—they are held from their daily dose of knowledge.

For some, it is rational to place students who do not take their studies seriously in detention; it would not matter if the student has incomplete work afterward, as they did not try in the first place. However, the majority of students take their academic studies seriously and strive to graduate with a GPA higher than the required minimum. Detention that is given to students for arriving a few seconds late is detrimental to their performance, especially in fast-paced classes.

Admittedly, students are given the option to obtain a pass before arriving to class in order to avoid detention. But, it would better benefit the student’s time if they did not have to visit the front office to receive a paper as proof that they are allowed to join the class. Such a process should not determine a student’s right to learn.

Some may argue that the student is at fault and should take responsibility for arriving late. That is true for the most part, but many outside factors force unintentional outcomes. These factors include alternate routes due to roadwork, vehicle malfunctions or the simple lack of a way to arrive on time. There can never be a 100 percent certainty of the day’s structure of events.

Redlands East Valley High School has recently fixed this issue by terminating detention entirely and replacing it with phone calls home. This change benefits both students and their guardians, as students are no longer burdened by the responsibility of learning the lesson on their own or rushing to finish assignments, and guardians can work out a system so the student can regularly arrive on time. It is unclear whether or not Citrus Valley High School plans to adopt a similar policy.

Ultimately, students should nevertheless make an effort to learn and try to arrive on time every day. In order to ensure that students obtain the knowledge needed to help them grow and hopefully graduate, there should be a more effective system that separates the students who slam the snooze button from the students who suffer the wrath of unforeseen incidents.

Opinion: Everyone takes a crucial role in eliminating bullying

By MAURICIO PLIEGO

Bullying is becoming a nationwide problem in schools. Teachers at times do not realize what is really going on with students, which is the main reason why students are encouraged to say something. 

Bullying has been taken on by many different approaches but hasn’t really changed. Recently, it has taken form not only physically and verbally, but digitally too, which is leading to insecurity among young people. 

Many schools across the nation have tried at least one solution to fix the problem, but have not had much success and they have tried as many solutions as possible, but most have been failed attempts at doing so. Many of these schools’ possible solutions to the problem vary from programs involving to protect the victims to simply adding more adults around the school campus.

Bullying has expanded from elementary to high school level students and cyber bullying has become an infamous trend. It is even more difficult to stop because it can be done so easily and anonymously behind a computer screen and cyber bullying has become more and more widespread.

Social media has contributed to cyber bullying and has allowed it to move forward in more ways, like persistent harassment. The companies have tried to stop this from occurring but it won’t end until the victim speaks out or acts in defense.

The bullied victim must speak out for any action to be done towards the bully. Always, all those who are witnesses or bystanders must speak out for the victim. But most have become afraid, which has caused the problem to expand.

A photo of the M-Power club,  advised by Mrs. Astley, taken at Moore Middle School.. This picture was taken in late May of 2019

Schools across Redlands Unified School District have all become a “No Bully Zones” creating a sense of safety and kindness. As a result of this, throughout the schools bullying has become less of a problem. For example, Moore Middle school has a club called “M-Power”, which is meant to have a meeting every Thursday to try to find solutions to bullying on campus.

Moore P.E. teacher Michelle Astley is the advisor for the club, and she has created a sense of family within the school. She has become a major role model for the students at Moore. 

The Redlands Unified School District has created a sense of family and of kindness through M-Power club and the implementation of “No Bully Zones” it has become a model for various school districts. Other school districts within the nation should follow in these steps to finally end bullying and create a new environment for the generations to come.

Opinion: Use of pepper spray at Citrus Valley prompts reflection

By CHRISTINA ANDRONESCU

We’ve all experienced it: the primal chaos of a school fight. Cady Heron of “Mean Girls” was right in comparing the high school lunch period to the wild savannas of the African plains. It’s always the same: a stampede rushes toward the action, a jeering crowd clamors to document it and administration jumps in to dispel the rising hysteria like exasperated zookeepers. 

National Geographic would have a field day. 

What occurred last Monday, however, was no joking matter. The use of pepper spray to quickly stop the escalating altercation resulted in calls and emails home and a press release from the Citrus Valley High School administration detailing the incident. 

Citrus Valley High School administration emailed parents with a timeline of events that unfolded during the lunch period on Monday, Aug. 26. (Ethic media) 

Within days The San Bernardino Sun, Riverside Today and Redlands Daily Facts all published similar articles reporting the eye-catching high school fight and pepper spray, each a blow to Citrus Valley’s reputation. Now more than ever is the best time for self-reflection as a school. 

First, the elephant in the room: the pepper spray. When the altercation turned physical and security efforts to break it up failed, the involved students and surrounding crowd were issued multiple warnings before the spray was ultimately used. Several students in and around the fight were affected and treated at the health office. 

“All the officers are trained in it; they all carry it at all the schools. It usually is by far the last means that they resort to,” says Citrus Valley principal, Rhoda Bruce, on security’s actions. “In the last four years this is probably the second incident that required the use of pepper spray.”

Bruce sympathizes with the affected students but points out the issue with the bystanders: “They came toward a fight to get it on their phone and watch. What they need to be doing is going away, letting people do their job and therefore they wouldn’t have been affected by it, only the two people it was targeted toward.” 

The Redlands Police Department and Redlands Fire Department were both dispatched to the school on Monday; no arrests were made and no citations were given. Paramedics assessed one affected student on scene, although he was not transported to the hospital.

The crowd mentality that compelled many students to join the fray prompted Bruce to address the incident the following Tuesday morning. Bruce explains her wish to express that she was “so thankful for all the kids that did the right thing” and she hopes that “the ones that choose not to will look to them as role models.” But, Bruce acknowledges, “in reality, in this day and age with cell phones and videos, that’s what they want—the sensation of putting it out there.”

Our generation has heard this warning—nothing posted on the internet truly goes away—so many times that it seems to just fade into background noise. We seem to share the conviction that “it couldn’t come back to affect me,” until it does, and at the most inopportune moment.

“I think that because of the age you are—and I was that age too—you don’t think 20 years down the line wherever it is you’re going to want a career and somebody has this video that you posted,” says Bruce. “It’s always out there, it’s never fully gone. People right now in their lives don’t know what they want to be—like a head of a corporation or a high-level security clearance FBI agent—and when somebody will go back and dig through their social media presence, they’ll see those things and it could cause problems down the line.”

Where Citrus Valley’s outward appearance to the community is permanently influenced by those local news articles, a student’s individual appearance is permanently influenced by their online presence. There is something to be said about the eternal wisdom of those cheesy “Think Before You Speak” posters that dominate elementary school hallways. 

To the underclassmen in particular, Bruce stresses “to pause and think twice, have a little time before you act.” She reiterates that “it’s a hard lesson to learn at this age but if I could give them the gift of learning this lesson, it would be to just pause, think about the repercussions of what they’re about to do and then hopefully reconsider.”

The repercussions of this incident however have already reached far beyond the campus limits; it has potentially altered the community’s perception of Citrus Valley High School, unconsciously or not. 

“This was an isolated incident and not a mirror of our student population by any means,” says Bruce in response to this possible change of opinion. “This is our tenth anniversary and for ten years we have held the tenets of CLASS at the forefront of everything we do. Our students in general are better prepared to be productive citizens because of the tenets of CLASS and we’re not going to let this one incident define who we are.”

As a school—student body and administration alike—we must play an active role in ensuring Citrus Valley maintains a positive learning environment that we can take pride in. Neither counterpart can turn a blind eye to a glaring issue or sweep it under the rug with only glancing acknowledgement. 

Moving forward from the fight, Bruce describes administration’s efforts to prevent similar conflicts: “We’re a PBIS school, Positive Behaviour Intervention Support, we actually just won a silver award. It’s a program where we are trying to focus on the positives and not so much on the consequences of the negative behavior. We’re trying to steer students to positive choices to begin with, instead of getting to the point of a verbal or physical altercation. We hope that they would find somebody on campus that they can speak to or work it out.”

Through the program, Citrus Valley has chosen one teacher, Elliot Anderson, to serve as the PBIS coordinator on campus. Anderson continually meets with students that may struggle with conflicts and attempts to mediate situations to prevent any dangerous escalation.

In all, Bruce describes Citrus Valley’s sentiment towards disruptions of the school’s learning environment best:  “That’s just not what we are. It’s not what we stand for. It’s not what we’re about. We don’t condone it; we don’t promote it. It’s unfortunate and very upsetting because there are so many students here that day in, day out make outstanding choices and do the right thing all the time. It’s hard to have such a great culture at our school and have it tarnished by just a few kids.”

Hopefully, in the future, Citrus Valley High School as a whole will strive to learn from its mistakes and continue to fulfill its hallmark tenets of CLASS.

Opinion: Why I believe the United States is slowly falling apart

By RICHARD BUNNER

Our country is one of incredible strength and amazing power. However, some of our systems and means of doing things are outdated and illogical for modern times. Our voting system using the electoral college, for example, was constructed in 1804, which is over 200 years ago. Modern presidential voting consists of obtaining the popular vote and using the electoral college to elect the next president. However, many people, including myself, would like to change the method of election to using only popular votes, which is the most simple and straightforward method of selection. According to a poll conducted by Civis Analytics, 62 percent of voters believe we should elect presidents based on the popular vote. In the 2016 election, this would have meant that presidential nominee Hillary Clinton would have won; however, it may not have only been the electoral college that had stopped her from securing the election.

Recently, multiple investigations have been performed on Russia and their possible probes in the 2016 election. Some believe that President Trump used these probes to his advantage to assist him in cinching his victory. If these allegations are true, American citizens and lawmakers are allowing our country’s well being to be subjected to the agendas of other countries. I believe that our obsolete voting system and incredibly vulnerable elections could be strong factors in our country’s possible collapse.

On top of outdated election methods, the country has also withdrawn from many environmental protection treaties, including the Paris Agreement. The withdraw from these agreements paint a poor image of our country and stunt efforts to maintain a sustainable planet. Without our assistance in solving environmental issues, the planet will suffer severely; however, current leadership is mainly focused on repairing our economy. Ironically, ignoring environmental problems will only cause great harm to our economy in the long run.

One of the larger and older issues in the United States is the the persistence of deep-rooted racism. The majority of this country’s racist roots spawn from the historically slaveholding South and the belief in a truly superior race held by the Confederacy in the 19th century. Along with modern confederates, the Klu Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis are still very prominent in the South and other states, clinging to reprehensible beliefs that originated in the 1800s and 1900s. Many racially charged uprisings and attacks have occured in recent years, including the Charlottesville riots of 2017 and the shooting of Antwon Rose II in 2018.

Another recent, and important, controversy is the vast difference in opinion on women’s reproductive rights, with states such as Alabama passing incredibly restrictive laws and Georgia considering similar legislation. Alabama recently introduced a law that essentially limits abortion to only circumstances that involve  “immediate death or substantial physical impairment,” according to TIME Magazine. These newly passed laws are some of the most restrictive in history, and are incredibly inhumane towards many of America’s women.

One of the more disputed topics in recent years is same-gender marriage laws. Although all 50 states allow same-gender marriage due to the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, some officiators and clergy members hold that same-gender marriage should not be allowed, citing personal and religious beliefs.

Beyond these polarizing points of controversy, there are also many other miniscule flaws in this country’s society and structure, though the previously stated issues take precedence. People in the United States need to learn to accept that, without unity, we will not be able to progress in the future, which could ultimately lead to our stagnation and potential demise.

Opinion: Animation is not exclusive to children

By TATUM MAPES

Everyone remembers watching cartoons at a young age, whether it be “Spongebob Squarepants” or “Kim Possible.” With bright colors, exaggerated facial features and innocent plots, it was clear that children were the target audience.

In recent years, however, the line has been blurred. Many short form animated programs, such as “Steven Universe, “Gravity Falls, “Adventure Time” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” started to deal with more serious topics, such as loneliness, betrayal and even death and acceptance. Characters became more developed and dealt with real-world issues, thus attracting the attention of a more adult audience. But the stigma still stands that animation is only for kids and that people who still watch cartoons are “immature” and “childish.”

In order to determine what brought society to this conclusion, one must start at the very beginning. Animation first appeared years before the dawn of cinematography. The slow and meticulous process of stop-motion, hand-drawn animation required the subjects to be drawn frame by frame, resulting in short films for few to see.

The hand-drawn animation process was refined and perfected with time and started appearing before films in cinemas across the world. Studios like Walt Disney and Warner Bros. produced these animated shorts at a time when going to the movie theater was considered a social event for the upper-class adults. Animation was originally targeted towards adults, not children. Even the first ever feature-length animated picture, 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” was created for everyone to watch and enjoy, not just children. This movie proved that not only was animation a nice way to pass the time but that it could also be recognized as a successful, credible art form and a staple of Hollywood’s entertainment industry.

The very first animated television series, titled “Crusader Rabbit,” was brought to life in 1949 by Alex Anderson, who worked for Terrytoons Studios. It first aired on WNBC and KNBH, two NBC affiliated stations in the New York area. With exaggerated features and silly sound effects, the show became popular with children.

This is where the stigma began. Television executives started to capitalize on this trend. Throughout much of the rest of the 20th century, animated programming was created with children in mind, often to encourage children to spend money on their products. This was evident in the 1980s when shows like “My Little Pony” and “Transformers” were created for the sole purpose of selling toys to young viewers.

Now one might begin to ask, what about animated shows intended for adults? Of course, shows like “The Simpsons” and “South Park” would get rid of the stigma, right? It’s quite the contrary, actually. These shows are often viewed as a big exception and labeled as a completely different genre because they are not intended for young viewers. Therefore, these programs are seen as “okay” for adults to watch because they are not to be seen by children due to innuendos and suggestive content, such as sex, drugs, and violence.

This also promotes the idea that adults can only enjoy the content that contains sex, drugs, and violence. When shows are labeled as “family friendly,” that does not mean that they are only meant for children. It contains the term “family” for a reason. Adults and children can both enjoy the content together. A television program that can be termed “family friendly” but is not targeted towards children is “Granite Flats” on BYUtv, a political mystery show about a sleepy midwestern town during the peak of the Cold War. It contains mystery, drama and heavy topics without the suggestive content. The show aired from 2013 to 2015 and is currently streaming on Netflix for those curious to learn more.

The 2010s have become a renaissance for story driven, short-formatted animated television. Kids’ networks like Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and most notably Cartoon Network started to green light shows like “Adventure Time,” “Steven Universe,” “Gravity Falls” and “Regular Show.”

These shows deal with more serious themes. For example, “Adventure Time” is centered around an orphan and his dog traveling through a post-apocalyptic world. “Steven Universe” is all about a boy who must deal with what his deceased mother left behind. “Gravity Falls” deals with familial relationships, trauma, and even PTSD. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” actually starts off with a hundred-year-long war and the genocide of an entire race. If one were to read the plots of these shows without knowing they were animated, he/she might assume that these were live action shows on a major network like CBS or NBC. He or she might even be interested to watch them, but perhaps the realization that these shows are animated might turn them away.

This is not to say that animation targeted specifically towards children or adults is a bad thing, but the animation is something for everyone to enjoy, and watching these shows doesn’t make you childish. It means that one is more open to different ideas and art styles. The point of digital media is to entertain and inform, and entertainment is dependent on the watcher’s interests. Animation is an art, and art should never be exclusive to one group of people. One should be able to appreciate art no matter their circumstances.

Opinion: Femininity, flaws and female characters — What Captain Marvel got right

Note to reader: Spoilers for Captain Marvel (and many other movies) below

By TATUM MAPES

Marvel Studios’ 21st cinematic outing, “Captain Marvel,” has taken the world by storm. The film has already passed the $1 billion mark worldwide, with the highest opening weekend gross for a movie with a female lead. While it is a success with fans and critics alike, maintaining a solid 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, Captain Marvel triumphs with the portrayal of its first individual female lead, who should become the new standard for strong female characters in cinema.

It is important to note that the term “strong female character” does not necessarily mean a character who performs feats of brute strength, such as fighting or other dangerous activities. A strong female character at her core should be able to perform feats of emotional, intellectual, mental or physical strength. This definition expands the criteria to include a more diverse group of women such as obvious leading ladies like Wonder Woman, Ellen Ripley and Katniss Everdeen, as well as not-so-obvious ones like Maria Von Trapp and Elle Woods.

When it comes to writing strong female characters, they should be written as people, not invincible beings with plot armor. Give them flaws, struggles and, above all, give them weaknesses because that is what makes them compelling characters.

Too often in the attempt to make female characters “strong,” writers and directors choose to turn them into one of two things: a woman with virtually no faults or a traditional “macho man” in a woman’s body.

An unfortunate example of the former is Rey from the Star Wars sequel trilogy. She has a tragic backstory, but that does not give her the depth that she desperately needs. While she is on screen, Rey makes not a single mistake. In “The Force Awakens,” Rey, who has never piloted a ship in her life, is seen expertly piloting a broken down Millenium Falcon and escaping highly trained enemy fighters. How is an audience supposed to believe she can flip, dive and barrel roll without any prior piloting experience?

Later in the movie, she was able to defeat Kylo Ren, who is highly trained with the lightsaber, when she had never held a lightsaber prior to the altercation. She is a strong female character with admirable qualities, but that does not make her a good strong female character. Perhaps in future installments she will make mistakes and her character will develop, but, for now, Rey’s lack of flaws makes her uncompelling and sends the message that failure is the equivalent of weakness.

On the other hand, Carol Danvers, who plays Captain Marvel, was written to be arrogant and impulsive. She is knocked down too many times to count in the film, but that does not necessarily make her weak. In the first act of the film, her mind is corrupted by Kree propaganda and she refuses to see her people as anything other than “noble warrior heroes.” When everything she knew turns out to be a lie, she loses all sense of identity, screaming “I don’t even know who I am!” Her character was allowed to make mistakes, and that is what gives her depth and makes her not only a strong female character but also a good strong female character.

Often writers overcompensate and end up writing a female character stripped of any traits that would be traditionally feminine and replace them with traditionally masculine traits instead. This inadvertently communicates that having feminine traits is undesirable or weak, incongruous in the era of #MeToo where womanhood and femininity are celebrated as strengths.

As an extreme example, take the most stereotypical “girly girl” in cinema: Elle Woods from “Legally Blonde.” She is a sorority sister who shops, wears makeup, obsesses over boys, carries her chihuahua around and wears lots of pink. In the film, these traits are initially introduced as weaknesses. People make fun of her, calling her a dumb blonde and “Malibu Barbie,” and no one has any faith in her. However, in the final courtroom scene, her extreme femininity proves to be indispensable as she sways the jury by masterfully destroying the lying witness’s alibi with her “vapid” knowledge of perm maintenance.

Of course, Elle Woods is a caricature, and not an accurate depiction of women as a whole, but she does not compromise her beliefs or change who she is in response to outside judgement. Her core traits of ambition and stubbornness, as well as her stereotypically feminine traits, are a source of inner strength that carry her character throughout the film.

For more realistic strong characters, writers should start by writing the nameless, backstory-less, soul of a character. First, they should give them strengths and weaknesses in pairs to level out the character. Make them brave but impatient, smart but insecure, kind but naïve. Then, they should assign the masculine and feminine traits as desired. Finally, the gender should be given. If done right, the gender could be seamlessly switched back and forth without compromising the character. The only time it should not be capable of interchangeability is when the film specifically focuses on the triumphs and struggles specific to a certain gender.

For the title character of Captain Marvel, her gender could switch with little to no effect on the story. Admittedly, she does sign on to project P.E.G.A.S.U.S because her gender prohibits her from becoming a combat pilot in the Air Force, but that decision comes from her determination to get into the cockpit; if a theoretical male counterpart of Captain Marvel was faced with the same dilemma, he would have made the same choice. Carol is not a hero because she is female. She is a hero because she is a strong and determined character; plus, she can shoot photon blasts from her fists.

Having strong, realistic female characters in movies and other forms of mainstream media is invaluable to young girls and boys alike who are growing up and developing their own sense of self in this era. Seeing themselves—mistakes and all—validates their own struggles and emotions while simultaneously giving them hope that if their literal, on-screen superheroes can overcome insurmountable struggles, so can they.

Opinion: Redlands East Valley Campus needs to make the shift to environmental conscientiousness

By LILIAN MOHR

American high schools are notorious for their lack of conscientiousness regarding their environmental footprint. From the thousands of pieces of paper that are being used in high school campuses across the United States to trash cans overflowing with prepackaged snacks and sandwiches after the lunch breaks end, there is a definite need for action to be taken within school systems to reduce their daily production of trash.

Looking specifically at the Redlands East Valley campus, there are several major issues that, if addressed, could drastically alter the school’s contribution to liter and non-recyclable waste.

The sound of the printers across campus shooting out page after page of assignments, worksheets and essays need to stop. When you look in almost every student’s backpack, you will see binders and folders filled to the brim with scrap paper for homework and assignments that has  accumulated over the course of the school year. Meanwhile, there are computer carts sitting mere feet away in almost every class on campus that could easily replace all this paper.

A REV student’s backpack on March 13, 2019 is completely packed with folders and binders filled with paper from almost every class. These are what many high school students carry around every day to all six classes, where they are often given even more worksheets and packets. (LILIAN MOHR/ Ethic photo)

Taking a look at any teacher’s desk, you encounter this common sight: packets and papers and classwork piled high, waiting to be returned to students who will then most likely throw it away, if the teacher does not directly toss it into the trash. However, REV is not abnormal in their paper consumption when compared to the average American school district.

The Green House School Initiative states that “according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, which analyzes schools’ waste on a district-by-district basis, Alameda County schools alone dispose of more than 11,700 tons of paper waste every year.”  

Once that paper is thrown out, it ends up in landfills “where 80% of discarded paper ends up,” and then “the decomposition of paper produces methane, a greenhouse gas with 21 times the heat-trapping power of carbon dioxide.” If REV is contributing to these real environmental issues, then the endless paper waste accumulated each day on campus must be addressed.

A possible solution is actually another one of REV’s fundamental problems in their attempts to be more environmentally conscious. The neglected recycling cans in every classroom just create more work for the janitorial staff and limit what items end up in the trash. After looking in several different classrooms, it was evident that the few items that are placed in the recycling cans are rarely even recyclables. Trash such as orange peels and chip bags are tossed in without a second thought; meanwhile, the trash cans sitting right next to the recycling cans are filled with paper and plastic. However, the problems don’t just stop in the classroom.

Once the lunch bell rings and the masses flood out of their classes and into the quad, plastic bag after plastic bag is ripped open and then promptly thrown away. These pieces of trash only occasionally make it directly into the trash can, leaving the security and janitorial staff to pick up after the students.

Sidney Boursaw, sophomore at REV, says that “all the trash left after lunch is gross and it’s really disrespectful to the people who have to clean up after us.”

REV vice principal, Ronald Kroetz, also has an opinion on the litter left over during lunchtime. “The trash that students leave on campus is a big concern of mine. The recklessness of some students to just throw trash on the ground is terrible. Staff at REV have all stepped up to help, but I’d like to see more students involved in the solution,” Kroetz states.

Featured above is a REV security guard and custodian on March 13, 2019 outside the media center cleaning up leftover trash from the lunch break. After lunch every day, the security and janitorial staff spend time cleaning up the campus, throwing away leftover garbage from students lunch. (LILIAN MOHR/ Ethic photo)

In a study done by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency on the trash production of six different Minnesota schools, it was discovered that “Minnesota K-12 public schools generate an estimated 483,520 pounds of waste per day” but “over 78% of school waste could be diverted from the trash to organics composting and container/paper recycling collection programs.” This means that high schools across the country, just like REV, are producing an excess amount of waste at lunchtime when the majority of it does not have to end up in a landfill.

If there were serious steps taken throughout the campus, such as providing different cans for different types of recyclables or setting up compost bins, there could be a significant decrease in the amount of waste that leaves our school.

The district has just released information that there is the possibility for change in the upcoming school year that could help to reduce the amount of trash produced at lunch. Kroetz is leading the charge with a new plan to introduce three different cans in the quad that will sort the lunchtime waste into compost, recyclables and trash.

“New California laws are requiring us to reduce our waste by up to 75%. In an effort to meet that goal, we will be going through a two phase transition to recycle more and throw away less,” Kroetz states. “Phase one will be the addition of a blue recycling can next to every trash can on campus. Phase two will be the addition of a third can for organic waste, such as food.”

Taking action to make real changes like this new plan to alter lunch waste production within high schools is essential. Students spend over eight hours, five days a week, at school; and if there is strong encouragement here to create a more sustainable future, then hopefully students will start taking these crucial steps at home as well.

Pictured above are the remnants of students’ lunch in the REV quad on March 13, 2019. After the lunch break ends, the campus it littered with trash until it is cleaned up by the security and janitorial staff. (LILIAN MOHR/ Ethic photo)

If the administration really wants to see change, then they cannot just stop with the lunch project. Environmental education deserves more attention within the classroom, and repercussions for littering or vandalizing the campus must be strengthened and enforced. If a school’s job is to educate the next generation, then schools must also do their part to ensure that there will be a future for the next generation to learn in.

Opinion: A brief take on modern politics from someone who will be affected the most

By RICHARD BUNNER

Tax fraud, sexual assault, racism—the list goes on and on. All of these subjects have been associated with the current president, Donald J. Trump. As a freshman, I will not be able to vote for quite some time, but I still will be greatly affected by the current and succeeding administrations for a long period of time. Although many accusations have arisen against the president, most with proof, a large number of people still strongly support him.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump made many attacks towards his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. His primary target was the official emails that Clinton had sent via her private server. Although this was a momentous and immense scandal, many people chose to overlook the many flaws within Trump himself, including many sexual assault scandals and rumors of Russian meddling in the election. These same individuals also consider him to be one of the greatest presidents of the United States, deeming him a model patriot.

Amid all of these allegations and actions, my question is this: why should a man who allegedly assaults women and conspires with foreign countries be qualified to run our country? It seems that I am not the only one who shares these feelings as protests occur frequently both in the United States and in other countries. If the president of one country is strongly protested by people of other countries, perhaps there is something profoundly wrong with his leadership.

Another point of intense controversy among American citizens is the wall. Although illegal immigration is a paramount issue that demands a comprehensive solution, the nation deserves a better solution than a wall with a price tag well within the billions, which will ultimately fall upon American taxpayers. The proposition of the wall may make sense on the surface, but realistically it will not work. Remember the Great Wall of China? It is one of the largest walls ever built, yet the Tatars, Mongols and Manchus were still able to overcome it and invade China. The expansion of both modern technology and the American population should have produced a more affordable and effective form of border control.

Trump’s presidency also saw the expansion and surge of ICE enforcement and removal operation arrests, increasing by 42 percent within just the first eight months in office according to the Pew Research Center. Recently, it has been revealed that ICE has been keeping tabs on left-leaning protestors, primarily those who are anti-Trump. Moreover, ICE has received severe criticism due to released photos of migrant children that have been separated from their parents and held in detention cages like stray animals in a pound.

In the face of these surreal facts, my point is this: our current government is in a state of disrepair and requires immediate attention. As teenagers, we are in the hands of a government whose mindset is stuck in the past despite making decisions that will result in lasting effects on our future.