It Is Time to Suspend Detrimental Suspensions


Staff Writer

Because school suspensions are easy to administer, oversee and track, they are a disciplinary action that many schools turn to when students misbehave. As such, suspension rates in the United States are high. However, students should not be suspended from school because it does little to no good in fixing their behavior and only sets them back in school.
Of the 49 million students enrolled in public schools, 3.5 million students were suspended in-school in 2011-2012, while 3.45 million students were suspended out of school. This is a cumulative loss of almost 18 million school days and is a negative consequence of the zero-tolerance policies around schools where students are given no second chances.
In addition, suspensions do not help because students are alienated from the student body. Some students see it as a vacation from their schoolwork while others are sent back to disjointed homes where their problems may have arose in the first place. They are not taught proper behaviors during their absence from school and often stay at home unsupervised because of their parents’ work. The days they miss from school also set them back from the rest of the peers. According to the Journal of School Violence, suspensions actually tend to intensify problems in behavior and lead to struggles in academics.
Instead of suspending youths, schools should focus more on restorative justice. Restorative justice is essentially a system that focuses on rehabilitating students by reconciling them with the student body and community.
Restorative justice seems childish at first glance. Students gather together with teachers and other students in meditation centers. Administrators volunteer as peer mediators and help struggling students share out and discuss what is disrupting them from their studies and life. Essentially, it is a share out. While it is hard for administrators to get enough tools and time to help these students, restorative circles can help students in a long run by reforming them and is clearly effective. Positive reinforcement goes a long way in the improvement of a teenager’s psyche. In a school in Coney Island, for example, the implementation of restorative justice has lowered suspension by more than 40 percent in the schools. Credit accumulation in students, attendance rates, and graduation rates have also all gone up as well.
Overall, student suspensions should be repealed because of the suspension’s inability to help and change the student. The school should focus more on helping students by understanding the reasons for their behavior and trying to help them work them out instead of doing nothing about the problem.

Fair To Say: Breaking News: Positivity Needed


Editor in Chief

Turning on the television to watch World News with David Muir or Nightly News with Lester Holt used to be homework every single day of my junior year. But now, it is a choice, and the ways news is being reported has not changed much. The repetitive spotlights in the 20 to 25 minute report are usually a one sentence update on what happened the night before.
It is imperative that people are aware of every event, rather than constantly reporting and updating an unfortunate story, more time could be dedicated to upbeat news.
When the same patterns are being reported repeatedly, the information is irrelevant because its worth has been downgraded by the redundant regurgitation of old news. While coverage on the health of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may be important for the first day and a half, two to three days of short updates make it redundant and difficult to follow.
But the happier side of life needs to be reinforced to remind viewers that there is more than another shooting, another car chase, or another derogatory comment made by Donald Trump. In addition to the general report of the initial event, the actions taken to combat the negativity in the world should also be featured.
While some people may not tune in every day, positivity encourages people to take action and tune in to become more informed about the issues going on in the world. News stories that inspire people could bring up the spirits in people who have had a long day at work. Solutions should be promoted side by side with the negativity that is produced by the hurtful people in the world.

The Upset Over Obscenities Within Music

Copy Editor
Staff Writer

Many music genres have received criticism for explicit lyrics with graphic references, leading for many to lean toward the appeal of music censorship. Instead of the media deciding the content, parents should be monitoring what their children listen to. Currently, music censorship limits audiences and artists and inconsistently selects content to cut.
Artists should not be censored just because kids are not listening to age-appropriate music. The responsibility should fall upon the parents to pay attention to what music their children are listening to. Music artists should not be punished because young children get ahold of their work.
Since the freedom of speech is in the First Amendment, having music censorship violates the First Amendment. Censoring the artists is not allowing them to say what they want. It also limits them to what they are allowed or able to say. Music serves as a form of expression. The words in a song convey strong emotions in a song; he passionate lyrics can serve as a catharsis and deleting words for wide audiences limits both the artist and the listeners.
Furthermore, music censorship is difficult and unpredictable. EA Sports, the developer of real-life sports video games, released NFL Madden 08 featuring “Fuego” by Pitbull. Only, the song cut the word gangsta, which is featured thirteen times in the original song. In NFL Madden 11, censored out the word crime in Kevin Rudolf’s “Let it Rock.” Yet, in NFL Madden 10, EA Sports left the word erection in B.O.B.’s song “Created a Monster.” The type of words taken out of songs are subjective to the audience and judged. When implemented in a large audiences like music stations, censorship becomes confusing and inconsistent. It is simply too difficult for media to decide what is and is not appropriate.
Although it is important to have children listen to age-appropriate content, music censorship should not be used in wide audiences. Censoring music blocks out expression and art. Parents should be checking their child’s exposure to explicit content.

Let’s Not Be Tardy


Staff Writer

At Alhambra High School, over 50 students per day arrive late to school, with even more students arriving between periods two through six. This is a concern for both the teachers and the students because students miss out on important instruction that may be given out within the first minutes of class. The entire classroom is also affected by one student’s tardiness. In order to motivate students to arrive earlier, Alhambra High has added more consequences to the tardy policy.
If a student is tardy one to three times, he or she receives a teacher-warning and a call home. If the student is tardy four to seven times, A robo-call will be sent to the student’s house at six a.m. every day for two weeks. Students who are tardy eight to nine times will serve detention while students who receive 10 tardies will automatically receive mandatory Saturday school with a guardian. If the student receives more than 11 tardies, the student will be sent to the Student Attendance Review Board (SARB) and they may lose their right to participate in extracurricular activities.
However, these restrictions are designed to deter rather than punish. Tardies will be reset every semester in order to encourage students to make a change. These policies will help students realize the importance of school and will help them manage their time in a wiser fashion as well as prepare them for their future professions. In many colleges like NYU’s Stern School, for example, tardy students are not let into classrooms. According to, 1 in 5 employers have fired workers for being tardy to their job. With the tardy policies, students develop a schedule of being punctual that carries them well into college and future careers.
Overall, the tardy policy is a valuable lesson that teaches the students the importance of punctuality early on before tardiness becomes a habit that besets them in the future.

Repetition of School Year: Not Crucial, Not Beneficial

Staff Writers

Most schools within the United States mandate that underperforming students must repeat a school year. The most common cause of this policy is that struggling students are unable to pass certain comprehension tests, grasp basic concepts and excel with personal social skills. As a result, schools feel the need to hold students back for a year and make them repeat their lessons, which may actually be more detrimental than beneficial. Many negative results can be produced from grade retention such as the loss of motivation and stagnant improvement.
The leaders in childrens’ lives, such as parents, teachers and counselors, are the deciding factor on whether or not retention should be granted to a student. The common belief is that grade retention is valuable to the student and may even enhance their learning. A Florida test-based promotion policy mandated by the Florida legislature found that retention among students earned reading achievements as large as 0.4 standard deviations, a number that means positive growth across scores. However, these scores become insignificant as soon as retained students reach higher grade levels. Academic difficulty is much higher in the later years of education compared to elementary and middle school. The students who were retained continued to struggle, barely improving or even earning the same results. Holding students back will not benefit them more than allowing students to move on to the next grade level.
Furthermore, grade retention is one of the leading factors for high school dropouts. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, it is probable that more retained students will drop out of school. Students will remove themselves from the educational equation and lead a completely different life that may be contradictory to what is socially ideal. Because students are retained, they eventually lose motivation to catch up and might even give up all together.
Having students repeat a grade also creates behavioral problems and promotes poor achievement and social skills. A longitudinal study of grade retention researched within the book School Psychology Quarterly, discovered that students who repeated a school year showed inadequate social adjustment, more negative attitudes toward school, lower achievements and less frequent attendance. Therefore, this leads to negative impact on them which will be much more of a problem than ever.
Schools may practice several different methods rather than resorting to grade retention. Summer school, after school tutoring and even weekend classes are all viable alternatives to prevent students from being withheld. These other options not only assist students to correct their mistakes, but also allow students to avoid the negative consequences that retention possesses.
Holding students back is not helpful for students. Rather than giving students the extra help they need, schools are giving students a troublesome burden to carry around instead. Grade retention will impact students negatively, and it will ultimately hurt their academic potential rather than leading to academic success.

Loyalty Royalty: Warning: Need For Safe Spaces


Opinions Editor

The incoming freshmen for the University of Chicago received a welcome letter a few weeks ago that highlighted the message: do not anticipate safe spaces or trigger warnings.
However, there is a misconception about the role a safe space has, which is to provide help and support to victims of assault, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and violence. Therefore, there must at least be a rudimentary form of a safe space or trigger warning.
It is understandable that the role of a university is to help expose students to substance that can make students uncomfortable in preparation for the real world and to help the student gain a richer form of education. Yet, people who may have never experienced trauma in the form of assault, violence or PTSD have no place to deem what should or should not be acceptable to those that have experienced such trauma. There is nothing wrong with just a simple warning beforehand.
The concept of safe spaces and trigger warnings is indeed a complicated one filled with many different perspectives. However, it must be acknowledged that at least a basic form of these shields should be considered.

Interacting With New Methods


Staff Writer

It has become customary for teachers everywhere to adopt a certain way of teaching. The most common form is the lecture. This teaching format that transcends through time and is still very much practiced today may not be as effective as some may think.
Students are not learning to their fullest potential. An experiment conducted by Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education analyzed 225 studies of student performances under active learning and under the traditional lecturing method. The active learning study involved discussions with each student, small group activities, simple synthesis and reflections, and overall interactivity between students and teacher. Test scores within the interactive learning group rose six percent higher than those who received only lectures. The meta analysis even showed an improvement of students’ understanding of conceptual ideas rather than basic, concrete ones.
The conclusion of the study is compelling in the sense that students cannot merely sit and listen. At most, information enters in through one ear and exits out the other. Psychologist Peter Killeen from Harvard University emphasizes that humans naturally have their minds wander off when doing one thing continuously, especially if attention is not fully honed in. In the classroom setting, droning on and on with the same topic eventually tires the brain out no matter how focused one may be. Direct involvement turns students’ focus toward learning instead of wearing them out.
The current younger generation is socially dominant, suggests the American Press Institute. This is thanks to social media and the Internet, giving them copious amounts of interactivity with others. Young students seek to remain socially self-sufficient instead of having their voices shut out from a conversation. Teachers should incorporate more lessons that allow students to interact with one other. Futhermore, genuine discussion between a student and teacher may actually motivate students more toward educational success.
Lectures are traditionally a convenient teaching method. While passionate lecturers may be able to drill knowledge into students, it must be considered that this method is not always reliable. As times change, learning changes as well. Students must break through the passive barrier of learning and strive for active learning.

Sex Education Continues to Fail Students


Copy Editor

Sex may be a difficult subject to discuss. But considering that sexual education can prevent unwanted teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STI), it is a topic that needs to be taught. Schools are failing to properly teach sexual education in the U.S.
Currently, only 22 states require Sex-Ed to be a part of the curriculum, and only 13 of those states require the information to be medically accurate. This allows schools to spread judgmental and misleading information about sexual health. For example, schools that teach and enforce abstinence tend to shame those who have sex. In the case of Elizabeth Smart, a rape victim survivor and current activist, she remembers a lesson in school in which her teacher had compared her to a stick of gum, that became less sticky after she had sex. Abstinence lessons are essentially demeaning students in their lessons.
Some schools are even discouraging the use of contraceptives. House Bill 999 in Mississippi banned the use of condoms for demonstrations in Sex Ed, despite the fact that Mississippi has the highest rate of teen childbirth and young-adult HIV. The new bill will only dissuade the use of contraceptives in teens, and further the problem of teen pregnancy.
Sexual Education in schools can help teens develop healthy relationships, if implemented effectively. Students are should be taught positive communication, conflict management and negotiating decisions about sexual activity. Sexual Education should properly teach consent and allow students to be informed about their options. Schools should be objective in their lessons rather than teaching according to their personal beliefs.
In order for students to make informed decisions about their body, the U.S. should mandate medically accurate sexual education classes. Furthermore, schools should disclose the information they disseminate in their classes in order to have a transparent system. Teens can have the knowledge to make smart choices about their relationships and sexual lives, but it all starts with comprehensive and nonjudgmental sexual education courses.

Community Colleges Fail to Bridge Students


Staff Writer

California’s community colleges welcome students this fall term with improved transfer pathways to California State Universities (CSU) and the Universities of California (UC). Bachelor degrees are being offered at 10 colleges as part of the new Associate Degree for Transfer Program (AA-T/AS-T) that focuses on meeting the needs of the state’s changing economy.
The number of community college students transferring has increased at both the UC and CSU. Transferring to a UC or CSU through an Associates Degree is significantly easier than years prior because of programs like the (AA-T/AS-T).
Yet, overcrowded community college campuses make enrolling in required courses difficult; rising tuitions at public universities means four-year degrees are now unaffordable for some students; and a lack of standardization in transfer requirements makes the transfer process confusing.
Programs such as College Promise began in the early 2000s to address the problem of college affordability by offering funding for students who live in selected communities. However, students are still failed by the current system of transfer between community colleges and universities.
Community colleges are failing to bridge students to public universities because they are sufficiently prepared for a surge in enrollment. Consequently, students find that required courses in order to transfer are already filled to enrollment capacity. College Board reports a 22 percent increase in enrollment, relative to 2014. Plans for transferring to a four-year university are set back by months or even years when a course is full, costing the student thousands.
The increased cost of attending a public four-year university is a factor affecting the low number of community college students who successfully transfer to universities. The rising tuition make attending a University of California or California State University campus expensive, particularly for community college students who come from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.
The American Association of Community Colleges reports that over 48 percent of students enrolled are minorities, making it critical to link to higher education at a low cost.The cost of community colleges has risen by 4 percent for the past twenty years according to Academic Partnership.
Community colleges work independently, failing students because there is no set of courses guaranteed to be accepted at any of California’s public universities. The process is ambiguous, courses may teach the same curriculum, yet hold different names or course codes. A community college student who has fulfilled the requirements for transfer to one state university may not have fulfilled the transfer requirements to another. The confusing process is a loss of money and time of a community college student.
The Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy, the leading organization attempting to unify Community Colleges, offers several recommendations for California’s in an attempt to uniform the transfer system. California’s community colleges must develop transfer-ready associate’s degrees that could be completed at any community college campus. This would guarantee the admission to a four-year public university. California state legislation is within the power to direct the process of transferring to a UC or CSU from a community college.

Time For Epi-Penalties

Copy Editor
Staff Writer

For individuals struggling with lethal allergies, epinephrine, which is usually delivered via an EpiPen, is a necessity that could mean the difference between life and death. But since Mylan, an American global pharmaceutical company, purchased the rights to its production in 2007, prices for this life-saving drug have been exploding at an exponential rate.

The price of the Epipen has skyrocketed, increasing 500% since 2008. Unfortunately, the dramatic price increase leaves low-income families behind. Epipens tend to expire after a year, which means that if families do not use their Epipen in one year, they will have to purchase another one for the following year. Furthermore, there are no viable alternatives to the Epipen. The Auvi-Q drug has been recalled, and the Adrenaclick costs $400 without insurance.

Without a viable alternative, families have resorted to filling syringes with epinephrine on their own, a complicated and risky process. To resolve this dispute, Mylan has unveiled a new “generic” EpiPen brand, priced at around $300. The generic alternative matches Adrenaclick, ensuring Mylan’s control over the drug.

Although this incident speaks to the corporate greed of drug companies, it also highlights a systemic problem in our health care industry: profits above all else. If we continue to treat drug companies as a business, we will sacrifice health for profits. According to the Wall Street Journal, the prices of 40 top branded drugs were 93% higher in the United States than in Norway. Drug companies simply cannot justify the prices of their products when other countries provide more health care.

This is not the time to be drastically increasing drug costs. Although people have taken notice to the increasing prescription drug costs, they are unable to negotiate the price of a life-saving drug. We need to take political action to ensure that people have adequate health care regardless of capricious decisions by drug companies.


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