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Opinion

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May

Protest vs. riot: the slippery slope of student rallies

Isadora Moon Associate Staff Writer ——————–—— As the war in Gaza accelerates, greater publicity is being garnered every day. People from ages 15 to 85 have become actively involved in the issue on social media and in-person. One of the most prominent demographics has been university students.Students from our very own University of Rochester, Columbia, and UCLA, just to name a few of over 20 nationwide, have had encampments for weeks and daily protests against the Israeli-Hamas war. While they have not turned violent, it raises the questions, “How far is too far?”, “are students justified in their protest?”, and “what type of precedent has been set for them and what are they setting for future generations?”Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and everyone should have an outlet for it. One of the most common outlets is to protest. In a place like a university which already brings people from all over the world together, a protest should be allowed as it is a safe way to express opinions. People from the U of R have done this well, using peaceful methods while still raising awareness and inciting conversations. The top “leaders” of the protest have met with the administration and Jewish students to discuss and gain understanding from both sides at what they called a “Peace Seder”, which is the perfect form of protest.They have set up an encampment on the main quad with tents, sights for food, and more where they have been living for a couple of weeks now. This brings attention to their cause, which is to convince the University to divest from companies interacting and supporting Israel in an amiable and peaceful fashion. This type of protest, in my opinion, is carried out very productively, maximizing the effect it could have without making students feel threatened or wary in their place at college or university. Setting this precedent for future protests at schools is laying the groundwork for constructive change at universities that encourage people from all ethnicities to help. However, not all protests have been peaceful.Looking a few hundred miles southeast, let's observe the protests at Columbia University. Starting with the past, one of the last rounds of a major protest was against the Vietnam War in 1968. These protests held a similar form, with an encampment demanding the University divest from military-related companies and the takeover of a popular Columbia University pathway – Hamilton Hall. Back then and now, the NYPD were called in to arrest and charge the protesters inside the hall and outside on the encampment. Charges ranged from burglary to criminal mischief to trespassing. This is too far from student protesters, and must end.They needed a place to protest, and since their encampment was taken down, this could be the next step, but it didn’t have to be. Occupying a hall where classes are held and in which students need to go about their daily lives is unacceptable. Students paying tens of thousands of dollars should be able to finish their semester in-person, not be forced to spend two-weeks online like students at Columbia wrongfully did, harming students.At the University of Rochester, students took over Wallis Hall on a Friday morning, where no classes are held. This is similar to Columbia’s protests, but a notch down, and not harmful. They renamed it Resilience Hall and stayed there for roughly nine hours before their request to speak at the faculty senate meeting was approved.This form of protest seemed much more productive and more centered on the taking the baby steps towards divestment, instead of insisting their demands be met before they stopped intruding on regular university operations like the students at Columbia did.Students have a right to protest, and they have a right to ask for what they want. But taking it too far, such as interrupting the daily lives of students (forcing them to go hybrid), is counterproductive to the solution and the movement in its entirety. Places like the U of R have had protests that are productive and manage to disrupt class much less than those at Columbia. Universities are a place experience new world views, but not at the expense of others' experience of education and learning.

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Protest vs. riot: the slippery slope of student rallies

Ceyda Lenio Associate Staff Writer ——————–— Humans have been fascinated with exploring beyond Earth and have hypothesized about life in the stars for thousands of years. In just one year, the government funded NASA 25.2 billion dollars for technology, astronauts, transportation techniques, and exploration according to a study conducted by A Budget for America’s Future. So much money has been spent on a “what if”, and in my opinion, it’s a waste! The possibility of being able to live on another planet is so interesting, but we need to focus on the issues occurring on our current planet. The earth has been suffering for years, decades even, and we have neglected it, which must change to preserve earth.The human population cannot keep destroying planets, then moving onto the next – obviously, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s not completely wrong either. Humans made this earth what it is, and while there are still some national parks that remain beautiful, much of Earth has been negatively impacted by humans. Global warming, climate change, acidification of the oceans, pollution, and overpopulation, are all issues that were created by humans. If we have enough money to spend on a possible journey outside into space, why can’t we use that same money to rejuvenate our home planet? Traveling outside of this planet is interesting, and while I think that researching what happens in space and on other planets satisfies our curiosity, we shouldn’t abandon our earth. Not only could the money be useful for addressing issues about the earth’s environment, but this money could also be used to help people in need. Millions are homeless, unemployed, starving, and scared of what will happen the next day. As of 2023, there are 653,104 homeless people alone just in America according to EndHomlessness. This number increased 12% since 2022. It’s pretty mind-boggling how anyone could let that number get so high. The cost of housing and healthcare has increased exponentially since the 20th century, and many of the people who aren’t as fortunate to afford these high costs of shelter or insurance could benefit from the money that is being used to explore space. Funding trans-space travel is less immediately productive and beneficial compared to the use of money for the homeless, the unemployed, or to combat climate change. There are also numerous risks to traveling in space: let’s think about the movie Interstellar. The storyline is similar to our current predicament, but in that world, they need to leave the planet due to a blight affecting food sources, causing starvation. The storyline also reveals that astronauts risked their lives to go and explore planets which could support human life. A few astronauts are chosen to go and retrieve data of those possible life-friendly planets light years away, near a blackhole named Gargantua. One of the astronauts that was ordered to send data of their planet did but lied saying his planet was life friendly. It was cold, and would kill anyone who stepped foot on it, not to mention an entire population. I know it’s silly comparing a fictional movie to a serious topic, but it feels sillier that we dedicate vast resources to explore elsewhere instead of repair the destruction . It may seem like the end of the world with all the issues going on like climate change and homelessness, but it isn’t. Our number one priority is to do what we can to fix these problems of our world before we think about colonizing another. If people still want to explore, you don’t have to look any further than our own planet. There are still many mysteries of this world that we have yet to figure out. Not only would it be less risky than traveling lightyears away, but the money spent wouldn’t be wasted on a “what if?".

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February

Fanaticism or free speech in political class discussions

David Lusignan Opinion Editor ———————–—— Politics. A word so feared that many people stay clear of the topic altogether. America is more polarized now than it has ever been since the civil war, as many “hot” topics stoke the flames of people’s anger and wrath. From Roe v. Wade being overturned in 2022 to the January 6th insurrection to inflationary tension, America is cleaving itself in half. But what does that mean for the average student at BHS? When a student attends school, they should be able to learn. A student should not have to be afraid, or filled with rage, because of another student vocally sharing extremist political viewpoints. Before the angry dogs against censorship bark about inequality, yes, both sides of the political spectrum have extremists and both sides use politically charged language to push through their agenda. However, politics are often called to the forefront in one class, resulting in the most number of problems in that class. The class that is the easiest to blame for political discussions is AP Government and Politics, which currently encourages students to explore their own political views and encourages debate in class. However, this model for teaching politics is extremely flawed. In AP Gov Pol, debates are virtually unregulated and force moderates into silence as leftists' extremists, who coincidently sit on the left, fence off with faith and flag conservatives who dominate the right side of the classroom. But are students yelling at each other accomplishing anything? Not really in my opinion. I have never seen one person on either side admit that their side is wrong, only continuing to perpetuate more extremist opinions to combat their opponents. As a student, I should not have to decide every day if I should defend the rights of others, derailing my education in the process, or sit quietly as every pillar of my beliefs is systemically attacked. How can students have the right to an education yet can’t pursue that education unless numerous of their core beliefs are attacked by others who disagree? My education has already been delayed from being forced to postpone numerous lessons due to political debates that inflame students, reducing the educational impact that debating provides to students. Tests have been pushed back days due to debates, which will just increase the stress students feel in May during AP week. I truly believe that AP Gov Pol is a critical class in a student’s development, but there must be oversight in class debates if they do occur. I further believe that debates should not be so rampant, because having debates constantly prevents most students from learning, as both sides cite either inaccurate or biased information to try to win some obscure point that has no impact whatsoever on understanding the government and politics of the country.However, classroom discussions about politics do not only occur in AP Gov Pol, and have the same impacts on students when they occur outside of AP Gov Pol. When I was a sophomore, I attended a Personal Finance class in which a fellow student claimed that the act of abortion is the same thing as “walking into an orphanage with a M16 and opening fire.”Without taking a stance on the merits of abortion, scientifically, there is a large difference from a pre-mediated act of mass murder against orphans compared to a medical surgery. Tbe student very quickly started stating that a women’s place should be in the kitchen, and most of the class exhibited two reactions: silence or anger. School is for learning, not kindling to cultivate fiery anger between classmates. Political discussions, in a controlled environment can be meaningful, but unregulated echo-chambers only create an audience for extremists.

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Is Link Crew beneficial or barbaric to students?

Daniela Nobles Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— Link Crew is a course that could either be the bane of your existence or the highlight of your day. A lot of that depends on who your leader was. While it’s a negative experience for most, why do we feel this way about a project many have worked on? Why is there such a lack of appreciation, and what adjustments would make it a more enjoyable experience for freshmen? Link Crew started from a project initially called the Boomerang Project. This concept was brought to Brighton High School in the summer of 2013. Doctor Hall asked for Mr. Bonadonna’s help with the project because of his background in other encouraging programs for schools. Mr. Bonadonna detailed the history of the program, saying, “Before, orientation was set up by teachers where you would get talked at for four hours, and it was really kind of miserable.” The past summer, they surveyed the students to understand their orientation perspective. “Students’ favorite part was when they got to hear from older students,” Mrs. Crowley reported. The office wondered how to make upperclassmen conversations guide new students instead of adults giving endless, unengaging lessons. Mr. Bonadonna followed the example of Link Crew in Webster Thomas. “That first year that we had any training it was Mrs. Crowley and I that went to the program to get trained on it. Then we brought that [to Brighton] officially,” Mr. Bonadonna reports, as this was the first sight of what the seniors would have to know and learn to teach us. Mrs. Crowley, at this point, was also requested to join the program. She worked on the project for several years and was “really honored to be asked to be a part of it because [she] loved the idea of peer mentoring.” TAG was another popular student transition program, which was, at the time, run by Mr. Mitchel . This program’s goal was trying to help students get some skills and become aware of the challenges of high school. When Brighton was ready to start Link Crew, they decided to merge TAG with Link Crew and make it a required course, not just orientation. While the opinions in 2013 were positive, now in 2024, students are looking for a change. I’ve found that most see Link Crew negatively, with seniors reading off a prewritten script which they struggle to make relatable to themselves or their mentees. Some leaders are creative and animated, but most are not and lack the enthusiasm necessary to truly impact the lives of the underclassmen entrusted to their care.   Link Crew has become another boring class they have to get through in the day, that is for those who don’t skip it entirely. When I asked Mr. Bonadonna his views of what Link Crew has become, his response was, “Has it met the goals? It’s hard to say.” He stated that he thinks Link Crew should be a credit barring course,  so both leaders and students will care more. “I think the relationships and meaningful conversations are the most important part,” Mrs. Crowley says  as she shares with me a story of a link leader bringing a student in need to helpful resources. “Because they had built their relationship over time, she noticed that something was off. Then she brought him to me and adults to check in.” There are some students who find Link Crew helpful, but the majority find it exhausting. While I understand not every student will find the same resources relevant, I wonder if there is another way to bring the number up for students who do enjoy the course. “I can also totally understand that if I were a ninth-grade student, I would be upset if they were just reading off a lesson.” Mrs. Crowley agreed when I informed her of recent Link Crew opinions. She also wanted to note that, “I’m so grateful to be a part of a school that even cares about something like this . . . so even if there are some shifts or anything that did need to be changed or made, I'm so grateful for the effort that's continued to be put into this program. . . I just want people to know that we care and that they are heard.” The fact still stands that the Link Crew program hasn’t been modified in 11 years. Even with the countless people and hours of work put into these programs, the majority of Freshmen taking this course don’t feel the effect. Now that we know how badly a change is desired, the real question is if any action will be taken about it.   adults giving endless, unengaging lessons. Mr. Bonadonna followed the example of Link Crew in Webster Thomas High School. “That first year that we had any training it was Mrs. Crowley and I that went to the program to get trained on it. Then we brought that [to Brighton] officially,” Mr. Bonadonna reports, as this was the first sight of what the seniors would have to know and learn to teach us. Mrs. Crowley, at this point, was also requested to join the program. She worked on the project for several years and was “really honored to be asked to be a part of it because [she] loved the idea of peer mentoring.” TAG was another popular student transition program, which was, at the time, run by Mr. Mitchell. This program’s goal was trying to help students get some skills and become aware of the challenges of high school. When Brighton was ready to start Link Crew, they decided to merge TAG with Link Crew and make it a required course, not just a one-day orientation While the opinions in 2013 were positive, now in 2024, students are looking for a change. I’ve found that most see Link Crew negatively, with seniors reading off a prewritten script which they struggle to make relatable to themselves or their mentees. Some leaders are creative and animated, but most are not and lack the enthusiasm necessary to truly impact the lives of the underclassmen entrusted to their care.   When I asked Mr. Bonadonna his views of what Link Crew has become, his response was, “Has it met the goals? It’s hard to say.” He stated that he thinks Link Crew should be a credit bearing course,  so both leaders and students will care more. There are some students who find Link Crew helpful, but the majority find it exhausting and tedious. While I understand not every student will find the same resources relevant, I wonder if there is another way to bring the number up for students who do enjoy the course. “I can also totally understand that if I were a ninth-grade student, I would be upset if they were just reading off a boring lesson plan everyday.” Link Crew hasn’t been modified in 11 years. Even with the many hours of work put into these programs, the majority of Freshmen taking this course don’t feel the effect. Now that we know how badly a change is desired, will any action be taken about it?

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Goodbye five day week, welcome to the future!

Isadora Moon Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— Wake up, go to school, sleep, repeat. Wake up, go to school, sleep, repeat. Wake up, go to school, sleep, repeat.   The cycle continues, 5 times a week, every week for the 9 months we have school. But what about when it’s Martin Luther King Day? Or Presidents’ Day? Or Superintendent’s Day? There are countless days we have off that interrupt the school week, and these are arguably some of the most fun days of the month. If said day falls on a Friday, we look forward to it the whole week, and if it's on a Monday, we avoid the Sunday Scaries and wake up on Monday filled with excitement rather than dread. These four-day school weeks are becoming increasingly common for many reasons and benefits, including increased attendance, better participation in extracurriculars, and an almost neutral effect on test scores. I know you’ve been late to school one day because you woke up to your alarm and just couldn’t deal. Or maybe you slept through it. Or maybe you simply stayed home to get a little work done before facing the looming brick building of BHS. I know you’ve done this because I sure have, and the reason this happens is because of the intense burnout and exhaustion we feel in the same old system. Studies by the U.S. Department of Education have shown that attendance increases since these four-day school weeks have been implemented, and referencing Dr. Hall’s last email, that is certainly a boost we could use in our very own Brighton school system! Low attendance rates make sense in a place like Brighton where the students are high-achieving and often involved in multiple activities outside of school. They are simply too tired to be able to balance everything, and this we can see clearly in the attendance rates. A shorter school week would allow people who play travel sports to miss much less school and be able to stay caught up with classwork like everyone else in school. Not only would morale be boosted, but students could get more sleep over the long weekend, allowing them to be more prepared to concentrate and do work in school. We’ve all seen classmates with arms folded and heads down suffering from long, sleepless nights doing homework or playing sports. An extra night’s rest would help them make the most of their time in school instead of sleepwalking through the day, causing them to learn less. Now, understandably days could not be like they are now, where we start school at 7:45 and end at 2:47. The school day would have to be longer in order to make up for the lost time. But if teachers and administrators are still worried about the lack of work done in the week, arrangements can be made to utilize the time off in a healthy, productive manner. On the day off, teachers could have office hours and students can come and go as needed, giving them more time with their teachers, reminiscent of Covid Wednesday Zooms. Teachers could also assign a reasonable amount of work that lets students prepare for the next lesson on the day off to help stay on pace. If extreme measures were necessary for fear that exams in the spring wouldn’t go as smoothly, one could argue for an earlier start time in the year. Like many southern schools, we could begin in early August, giving us many more days to prepare before the AP exams in early May, which,   would allow northern students equal preparation for AP exams and a chance to enjoy the onset of summer by ending school in late May instead of later June. Updating the school calendar is a must in order to provide BHS students with the best possible chance to succeed in BHS and life. To make this switch would be a big adjustment and one that would have to be discussed on a larger scale, and carefully. But, as you can see, the four-day week is a worthy topic with ways to modify it preferably that could ultimately make a huge impact on student’s lives. The advantages of a four day week are too beneficial to ignore — BHS must try to implement it..   team at Brighton, and Mr. Curtis hopes to accomplish more victories in years to come.Due to Mr. Curtis’ contributions to athletics in Brighton, sports in our community have bloomed into what they are today, attracting the attention and skills of hundreds of Brighton students each year.

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January

The Dream of Students Getting Paid for School

Darren Lin Business Manager ———————–—— The U.S. education system is broken—gasp! Frankly, it is a fragmented reality of the vision past policymakers and individuals had for the country. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "[Education was] the only sure reliance for preservation of our liberty." Even as K-12 institutions spend nearly $800 billion annually on public education, one glance at the state of our schools reveals a stark contrast. At BHS, like many other schools, learning is segmented into deep silos. Subjects are organized in rigid pathways and the actual classes themselves are composed of redundant models of teaching. Teachers are forced to teach the same units, promoting a cookie-cutter, one size fits all approach, making the U.S. Department of Education's mission to "promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access" a fatuous hypocrisy. Typical silliness. We often applaud student achievement in subjects like math and reading, the cornerstone for state assessments and school evaluation. But why do we create these arbitrary pedestals rather than prioritize real-world experience and teach economically valuable skills? According to a recent poll by You Science, 75% of high school graduates do not feel prepared to make college or career decisions after graduation. Yet, college enrollment has been rising since the 1970s, and the cost of college tuition has seen a 747.8% increase since 1963. Why are students paying for this “gift”? Combine this with the fact that 25% of those graduate programs have a negative return on investment, and now you have a student debt paradox all pointing fingers at the greedy Ponzi scheme of private colleges and universities. A solution is not simple because a complete overhaul of the traditional educational system will almost certainly be met with resistance, but it doesn't hurt to try and issue the idea against the odds. What if there is a way to leverage the basis of human nature to amplify our learning experience? Here is my proposal, which you may not agree with: pay students to go to school. This morning, as I swung my mailbox open, I was greeted with a colorful cascade of coupons. I sorted through the various advertisements. There was nothing of interest to me here; I proceeded to tear and dispose of the materials. Now imagine I, as a student, had instead received a paycheck addressed to me by the Brighton Central School District. Well, what a pleasant surprise! This is the ideal scenario, which is made impractical by a multitude of ethical tradeoffs. Even if it is thrown around as a joke, we can still weigh the tradeoffs of implementing a compensation system. I am currently working on a business pitch to address this issue, which I will briefly summarize here. I envision a new platform built in collaboration with government leaders which retains the current academic content but adjusts the curriculum accordingly to local education standards to include project-based learning – but not just boring old project-based learning. As it stands, educators want advancement of learning and professional development. Students want to feel better prepared for their careers and seek value in school. How do we tie this together? Companies. Yes, companies. Organizations like these are always seeking to establish new talent pipelines, get their hands on the latest innovation and ideas, increase their brand exposure, and of course, make money. By funneling the same core values to the education industry, it will create a marketplace for companies to post projects and assignments with a monetary incentive for students to complete. With these openings, students will have access to expedited career exploration, commercialization opportunities with real products and solutions, and most importantly, an industry-learning environment that will allow them to attain their goals in life. There are numerous logistical concerns and caveats, but, at the end of the day, putting forth a creative mindset to offset societal norms in education has the potential to change millions of lives, including you, the reader.

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Separate but [un]equal: hypocrisy or hyperbole? 

Anonymous Educator Associate Staff Writer ———————–——The recent opinion piece published in the Trapezoid listed several alleged double standards for student/teacher conduct. As a BHS teacher, I found some of the assertions and their associated complaints valid, others dubious, and a few inherently flawed and wrong. I’ll begin with the valid – phone usage and timely grades. There is no excuse for texting in class, and taking a call during class should be a once-in-a-blue-moon emergency. I will say, I would bet my meager teacher’s salary that the number of times a teacher has to deal with students on their phones (for me, this happened multiple times in every single class I taught today) far outweighs the number of times students are distracted from learning due to their teacher’s phone usage. Regarding grades, teachers should be held to giving feedback in a reasonable time frame, and putting grades in the day before the quarter ends for anything other than a very-recent assignment is unacceptable. That shouldn’t happen, period, and students have every right to feel frustrated and angered by that behavior. Aside from these no-brainers, the opinion piece makes a few questionable allegations, the first of which being the idea that “students conform in fear of punishment.” Personally, I find this laughable – I wish I was that scary! By and large, most of my students are courteous and cordial, and those same polite kids have no fear in submitting things late, leaving class for long bathroom breaks, texting under their desks, etc. Obviously, I do not strike fear into them. Another suspicious statement is that most teachers take off late points if students are “more than an hour late in submission.” My department has nearly 15 teachers in it, and I only know of one who routinely takes late points. Honestly, I’d like to see the data on this; it reeks of hyperbole. Some of the claims in the original piece are inherently flawed in that they lack an understanding of teaching pedagogy. The writer comments that “some teachers make due dates that are impossible for a student to meet, assigning them to be due at 4pm the same day.” Often, teachers assign tasks due at the end of day to show absent students what we did in class. It seems ridiculous that a teacher would assign homework and expect kids to complete it during the school day while they are in other classes. If that is legitimately happening, students should bring it up to their administrator. The writer also alleges that teachers “say they will tell you all the assignments for the week at the beginning, giving you time to plan your week, but add in assignments in the middle of said week.” As much as I’d love to give kids an exact plan for the week, timing is never perfect depending on how quickly students grasp concepts, and if I didn’t adjust my planning in real time, I wouldn’t be a responsive teacher. Sometimes, tasks must be added or deleted to promote student learning, and this trumps the convenience of pre-planned agendas. Finally, the idea that teachers “set and enforce strict boundaries if they find out you have cheated” yet “commonly do this” themselves in “stealing” Quizlet questions demonstrates faulty logic. A teacher who has already mastered a subject (and in fact holds a master’s degree in said discipline) finding shortcuts for basic comprehension questions is not the same as a student who is learning material for the first time plagiarizing from a friend or the internet. While taking answers from Quizlet is a lazy, perhaps ineffective teaching methodology, it certainly does not constitute “cheating” in the same sense as a student copying material and therefore never actually learning it. My job is to educate students responsively, challenging them to meet rigorous standards while always viewing them as whole people, not automatons. I wish students similarly felt it was their job to take an active role in the process of meeting said standards while always viewing teachers as real people who exist outside the parameters of the classroom and email. I suppose this fantasy of always-dedicated, empathetic teachers is just as untenable as the fantasy of always-engaged, compassionate students, but we exist in the real world, where despite best intentions, people fall short, and there will undoubtedly be those whose intentions aren’t best to begin with. Ultimately, what’s fair and what’s equal aren’t the same. Unfortunately we live in an imperfect world. The larger issue that emerges from the editorial is the presumption that students and teachers should be held to the same rules and standards. It’s easy to see this as a foregone conclusion, of course everyone wants equality of conduct in class. However, students and teachers occupy fundamentally different roles. Are said roles related? Definitely. Symbiotic? Hopefully! But the same? Absolutely not. The truth is that the interdependence between students and teachers demands difference, and accordingly, different rules apply. I am an adult; my students are kids. Believe it or not, I am already held to higher standards than my students, thanks to my fully formed prefrontal cortex, the government’s mandate that I pay taxes and generally abide by its laws (sigh), and the school district’s relentless messaging that I serve “every child, every day, every way.” This very premise — lofty, righteous, and frankly intimidating demand, is exhausting to contend with. And honestly, reading this piece, where the efforts of many teachers are overshadowed by the faulty practices of a few, makes me want to fold my cards. But then I remember that the insight the piece lacks is unreasonable to expect of its author, a teenager who doesn’t actually see the other side of the teacher/student coin. Thus, I am reminded of the essential truth here: we should all get a lot better at believing the best in each other and forgiving the worst. Unless, of course, a teacher’s phone goes off in class. Then, you should probably write them up … or at least never let them live it down. After all, there’s real power in the day-to-day relationships we all have, much more so than Brighton’s rules for students and faculty.

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Make open campus more open for students

Isadora Moon Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— At 11:01 at Brighton High School on Winton Road, the bell rings and signals the end of fourth period, and marks the beginning of a 30-minute break called “FLEX”. Since there are 8 periods in the day, FLEX falls directly in the middle and is the time in which many students eat or get lunch if they aren’t going to a teacher for help. After this period, students can leave school for their free periods — an opportunity many take to either go home if they have a block of frees, or go to Twelve Corners to grab a bite to eat. Having a block of frees is a luxury many do not have, but everyone desires. It has less limits than just having one period free, which is only 45 minutes. With a block of frees, you can study for a test or catch up for a class at a café, eat lunch at home, or take a nap, which we know our sleep-deprived selves need more of. This simple luxury can be easily given to us by letting students leave during FLEX. This way, seniors who are allowed to leave at the beginning of the day and who have fourth period free can get more than an hour off, while everyone else can leave in the beginning to go home for an extended amount of time if they also happened to have fifth period free. Really, it’s a logical decision with benefits outweighing the costs of implementation. Less students may be late getting back from home if they had more time there and students could take the opportunity to reset for their next class, which will ultimately benefit them and increase their academic performance. It’s no secret that high school students, especially ones in Brighton, who are constantly pressured to do better than they are doing, need more sleep. The American Psychological Association has found that a simple sixty to ninety-minute nap can be just as beneficial as a full night's sleep. Also, it can help improve memorization and increase patience. If you think about it, thirty minutes of FLEX, plus forty-five minutes of a free period is more than enough time to go home, take an hour-long nap, and return to school, refreshed and ready to learn for the rest of the day. Moreover, if students could leave during FLEX, they may be more encouraged to take this time to eat more. I know multiple people (and occasionally am one) who consistently skip lunch because there’s nothing appealing in the cafeteria or there is nothing that matches my specific dietary needs. Not to mention the fact that I don’t want to eat in the cafeteria, which can be loud and crowded. The opportunity to go to Twelve Corners, which hosts a variety of restaurants, would certainly be more appetizing than the other options that wait for us at the school cafeteria. Certainly, I understand the perspective of the administration in being reluctant to agree to this, since it would cause quite the line for security and general chaos in the main entrance of the school, but there are also simple solutions to these types of problems. We could open the other exits to school, like door 20, which could also be used as a sign out spot, and even with only these few exits, the lines do not take that much time once they get going, and it would not be much different from all the other free periods in which people leave. This can also be instated as a privilege, dependent on behavior, grades, etc. Students should be allowed the opportunity to better their sleep, catch up on work, and get a chance to eat instead of letting arbitrary rules dictate their options for food and how they spend their time.

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December

Thoughts on hyper-achievement from a retired sweat

Ivy Bergin Feature Editor ———————–—— It’s 10pm and you’re cramming: the research paper you’ve had months to write, the quiz you’ve had a week to study for, the application you just keep meaning to submit. You’ll spend the next twenty minutes slouched in your desk chair, hunched over a blisteringly bright phone screen and mindlessly scrolling, until a sudden burst of motivation propels you into a solid three minutes of productive work. You won’t sleep well tonight, either; your mind will be swarmed with racing thoughts and crushing worries, your eyes will still hurt from the burning blue light of a screen, and your limbs will ache from hours of lethargy before a stack of paper.  So, tomorrow morning, you’ll snooze your alarm three times before you drag yourself out of bed. You’ll get to school, where you can barely keep your eyes open, let alone comprehend a meaningful lesson. Then, after school and work and sports practice and whatever else packs your schedule, you’ll find yourself back at that desk. And the cycle continues.   Now, reader, do you feel targeted? Have you experienced this sequence of events before? I regret to inform you that you may be a sweat — and that may not be a good thing. A sweat, commonly known as a “try-hard” or a chronic overachiever, is an individual who overwhelms themself with a multitude of extracurriculars, rigorous courses, and the like despite not caring about the content of said pursuits.    For a long time, I was a bona fide sweat. Now in my retirement, I can look back on my days in the sauna and understand how sweatiness helped and harmed my life.   Personally, I've discovered that my heavy involvement in academics can be fulfilling; I have connected with vibrant communities of people, gained knowledge that has enriched my life, and created for myself a portfolio of achievements that I am extremely proud of.  That being said, excessive desire to overachieve can – and almost definitely will – degrade one’s sense of self-worth, deteriorate one’s relationships, and contribute to severe afflictions of mental and physical health; on many occasions I have felt these negative effects myself.  So, the question is begged: how much of a sweat should you be? Understanding that we all have different goals, different values, different pressures, and different lifestyles, there is no universal level of sweatiness that I can faithfully recommend. So, if you grapple with the trials and tribulations of the sweat way of life, I have created a list of questions to ask yourself and steps you can take to step out of the sauna.

Textbooks waste BHS budget one spine at a time

Quentin Newcomb Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— Textbooks, the tool that is second only to the teacher, the key to knowledge that everyone desires, the book that students don’t read, the lie that is spoon-fed to the entire American Education system. A spoonful of reality is the only way to make this medicine go down; wake up Brighton, our tax dollars are being pointlessly burned through faster than our students’ willpower. I am an avid reader; nothing brings me more happiness than diving headfirst into a great book and exploring a world that is entirely different than my own. A world where characters can make decisions that are either black or white instead of being forced to take a nuanced stance and make an attack on the government’s flawed devotion to a center piece of education that is being misused at nearly every instance.   In the past 17 years of my life, all of which I have attended Brighton schools, the only instance I am aware of where a textbook was used properly was AP United States History. Students were assigned a chapter to read and outline every week, which was then scanned through Turnitin to prevent plagiarism. And even in APUSH, classes were informed that the textbook was “slightly” outdated and contained “light levels” of racism. Unfortunately, even in the best example, Brighton cannot figure out how to use a textbook to teach. An extremely common scenario is teachers only using textbooks for problems or homework problems, which is a strategy employed in all physics classes, calculus classes, and some chemistry classes. While I am sure the problems are of quality design, it is just wasteful to buy dozens of copies of textbooks and only use the problem sets which are supposed to test a student's knowledge on the information that is contained in the textbook. However, the reason teachers cannot tell students to read the textbook is that they are far too advanced, or teachers just feel it isn’t a productive use of students’ time. If Brighton is buying textbooks that are too advanced or not extremely helpful for teaching students for AP classes, why bother purchasing them? Either the school should buy textbooks that are not college level, admitting that AP classes are easier than college and shouldn’t provide credit, or students should be fully using college textbooks, so they aren’t caught unprepared by college level standards.  The other thing that is needed is regulation over what textbooks are purchased, that way only quality textbooks are utilized. An excellent example of this is the Principle of Economics 4th edition by Jerry Evensky. The textbooks are new this year and were advertised to help students understand the basic concepts more, but the textbooks are little better than fuel for the 8th grade bonfire night. The first major issue is that the textbook is self-published through Lulu, an online self-publishing company which offers opportunities for free publishing. I highly suspect that Evensky took this approach, because basic grammatical errors are highly frequent. In addition, the book seems to lack a critical element: facts. It is written like Evensky is talking to a person, not providing facts to a person, which makes it more understandable but significantly degrades the quality of education students are receiving. Is it truly fair to our students to encourage them to take Dual-Enrollment courses but fail to prepare for other classes in the same field of study? As a student, I am appalled that Brighton allows such harmful and wasteful polices to exist. I fully support students challenging themselves, but I draw the line at Brighton harming students' futures to help their statistics.

Unequal standards: teacher expectations reek hypocrisy

Isadora Moon Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— From gym to economics, rich to poor, good to bad, there exists only one similarity amongst teachers. None of them are held to the same standards that students are. Rules regarding phone usage in class, yelling, due dates, copying work, and being on time are prominent in every classroom, with students conforming in fear of punishment. These rules are put in place to improve our learning experience and make it more meaningful. Yet when the teachers break said rules, there is often no serious reaction or consequence. While everyone knows that nobody can be perfect, and that includes teachers, the habitual cycle in which they break these rules is concerning and biased. We are all familiar with the boundaries put around phones and electronic devices in classrooms. Most teachers don’t allow them to be used in class or have a holder for them when you walk in. This rule makes sense, as it is statically proven that limiting phone distractions directly correlates to better student concentration and participation in class. But this goes both ways. Teachers shouldn’t be allowed to send texts, make calls, or use their phone in other ways while teaching, yet they do. The punishments for students using their phone can range from a FLEX detention to a call home, yet nobody says anything about the teachers, only students are reprimanded. Many teachers have gotten distracted from teaching by their phone notifications, and I can’t count the number of times their ringtone has gone off in the middle of class. Some teachers may not use their physical phone but often tap on their apple watch instead, which has the same effect. Next is due dates, whether its physical or on one of the many websites, such as Schoology, SchoolTool, and OneNote which we have all grown so familiar with. While some teachers make exceptions, most take points off if you’re more than an hour late in submission. Due dates are important to maintain discipline and stay on course, but when they are unreasonable, they do significantly more harm than good. Furthermore, when teachers don’t follow these rules themselves, the rules assigned to us lose their credibility out of hypocrisy. Some teachers make due dates that are impossible for a student to meet, assigning them to be due at 4 pm the same day when activities are occurring. What isn’t okay is when a teacher sets due dates but doesn’t adhere to their own deadlines. For example, they say they will tell you all the assignments for the week at the beginning, giving you time to plan out your week, but add in assignments in the middle of said week. This messes up the time frame, and rarely do students get extra time. Other times, teachers will put in grades significantly after they told you they would, sometimes being only one day before the quarter ends. Even if your assignments are correctable, you simply won’t have the time to complete them before they close the gradebooks. Copying is also staple of this divide. This is a morality issue: many teachers will never know whether you copy your friend's homework or if they copied yours, but they set and enforce strict boundaries if they find out you have cheated. Copying is often immoral and won’t work out well for yourself or others, but teachers commonly do this, appearing in assignments, tests, and quizzes. The number of times I have sat down and taken a test and recognized almost every question from practice tests I saw on a Quizlet the night before is astronomical. If I know the answers already, how is this an effective method of creating tests? Rules only work when everyone follows them – that’s the way they are meant to be and they should be at BHS.

The bumpy road towards ageist discrimination

David Lusignan Opinion Editor ———————–—— BHS, the school which attempts to promote equality amongst its students, has stooped to new levels: equality and safety only when it is convenient. It may seem like a trivial inconvenience, but in reality, it is a gross breach of the New York State Education Department Anti-Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity Policy. The violation? Speed bumps. An unwelcome addition to the BHS parking lot this year is the implementation of enormous speed bumps, which serve only to harm students and their cars. Hitting a speed bump can damage a car’s suspension and steering rack mounts, misalign the wheels, and cause leaks in the power steering fluid. The purpose of a speed bump is to protect pedestrians, which works if taken at 5-10 miles per hour. While I understand the importance of slow speeds, students need to be allowed to drive at reasonable speeds in the parking lot, especially when considering that door 20 is no longer a door people can sign into. That means if a student is running a few minutes late, and is slowed down trying to park, they could be 10-15 minutes late to their first class because they must wait in line at the main entrance. There is the potential that the student would have gotten into the building before door 20 locked, allowing them to only be one or two minutes late to their 45-minute class — instead of 15 minutes — yet another completely unnecessary restriction on student life. If the administration truly wished to promote safety in the parking lot, they would install speedbumps where the teachers park as well as where the students park. That way, teachers walking to their cars and students cutting through the parking lot to get to their vehicle would be protected from unsafe drivers — teachers and students alike. Instead, speedbumps are only placed where students park because no teacher or administrator wants to deal with the uncomfortable bump or the damage to their car. This policy shows the inconsistencies of Brighton’s plans: safety is of the utmost importance to administrators which is why they chivalrously installed massive speedbumps, but safety isn’t important when risking damage to their cars. Supporters of the speedbumps will argue that students drive more recklessly, which is true, but a lot of the reckless driving can be eliminated because it is a parking lot. No student is going to drive 65 mph and swerve between lanes at a parking lot where there is only one lane to drive past security guards that know every student by name. In addition, teachers drive normally in parking lots, so they are not crawling at 4 mph like the students are being forced to. How many students have been mowed down because Mr. Rogenmoser needed his iced frap cold brew from Starbucks during 6th period? As a wise man once said, “no obituaries, no problem,” meaning that faster drivers are not a problem if no problems or close calls have occurred in the parking lot. The difference in expectations between teachers’ driving and students’ driving is what brings me to my final point; Brighton is treating us differently from teachers solely due to our age, and their implementation of speedbumps is only targeting younger drivers as they populate only the bottom half of the BHS parking lot. This is a clear case of ageism, which is illegal under New York State Law. Oxford Dictionary defines discrimination as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of ethnicity, age, sex, or disability.” In order to adhere to New York State policies, Brighton must either install speedbumps for everyone or no one. Since Brighton has speedbumps that are just a tad large, the most rational course of action would be to use smaller speedbumps all throughout the parking lot. Only 20% of all vehicle accidents occur in parking lots, and out of that 20% the most common accidents are two drivers backing into one another, pulling out and backing into a car, or when two cars are fighting over spots. Since none of these are affected by the speed when driving forwards, can Brighton claim they are protecting us when violating our rights?

November

Brighton’s crusade against FLEX harms students

Michelle Arnold Alexandra Levitsky Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— Class is finally over, and you’re starving. You walk down the stairs to the cafeteria, wait in line for your lunch, and at last, you get your food. Walking to your favorite table, you sit down, and then “RINGGG!!!!!” The fire alarm just went off. You missed out on eating, and now you must go to your next class where you aren’t allowed to eat. For many students in this school, this is not an uncommon scenario. Although midday FLEX time was created to ensure that students and their teachers have time to work together towards academic goals, FLEX time seems to be the first to get cut when the school needs to find extra time for something like a fire drill or an assembly. Instead, while FLEX time should be flexible for students, it should be inflexible for school administrators to touch because it is OUR time. With FLEX hours, we can choose to meet with teachers, study on our own, hang out with friends, participate in club activities, and, most importantly, eat lunch. We went from the middle school where we had a designated lunch period to having no lunch. At least with FLEX we have the flexibility to eat, but not if that time stolen from us. While some teachers allow us to eat in the classrooms, not all teachers do, and without a clearly designated and protected time to eat, we tend to grab unhealthy snacks, such as candy and chips, to snack on the move as we go from class to class. In turn, we develop unhealthy eating habits. Somedays, many students may not have any frees because of our busy schedules. But, we need a break every now and again, and FLEX tends to be the only break we are supposed to be able to count on. It is unfair to take away that time that we are counting on, especially since kids needs breaks in ingesting lessons. Also, some students want to be a part of clubs but do not have the opportunity to come early or to stay after school. FLEX allows those students to be able to join a club or try an activity that they would not otherwise be able to. If FLEX is the only time that some students can participate in clubs, it is not right to take that time away and prevent them from doing so. Sometimes it's vital to meet with a teacher for extra help or to make up something that you missed. FLEX is supposed to be the perfect time to do just that. But then we might have an unexpected drill, and our FLEX time will be shortened. And now we don’t have the time we must have to learn. FLEX is made to allow us to get the help we need, so its purpose is wasted in the status quo. FLEX time was designed because we, as students, need to have a say in what we require on any given day. While one day, we might need extra math help, another day, we might need a laugh with a friend or a nap! However, currently that essential flexibility is being taken away from the students and used by the administrators to fit events into our day that are not vital to us, our learning, our mental health, or important to the school. Instead of taking away time from FLEX, time should be taken away from our other classes, and FLEX should be made a priority and untouchable. When you lose time in class, you can make up the lesson the next day. If we lose FLEX time, our mental health suffers. We lost the time we were counting on for social and emotional connection. FLEX already is fifteen minutes shorter than every other period. It cannot be cut any shorter or it will be non-existent, sending the message that the students' time is not valued. Give us the flexibility that we deserve by guaranteeing FLEX for thirty minutes every day. Protect our right to eat, relax, and get help during our rare moments of free time .

BHS curriculum aids and abets senior year burnout

Arnav Sharma Associate Staff Writer ———————–—— Throughout the years Brighton’s approach to senior year has become a topic of discussion for the students, parents, and educators. Brighton’s strategy is frontloading senior year with work, which causes seniors to burn out and fail to balance their academic and personal lives. Now is the time to reconsider and change this approach for the better, allowing senior-year students to have a better experience. BHS argues that frontloading the curriculum is better as seniors tend to slack off in their second semester, and by frontloading work, student’s education does not suffer. However, this approach does not consider the number of responsibilities students are dealing with., causing the very thing BHS tried to prevent. Senior year is very hectic with college applications, grades, extracurriculars such as clubs, jobs, and other commitments in the mix. Seniors’ schedules are already full enough, so they will not be able to focus on their academics as much as this frontload demands. This can lead to decreasing quality in their commitments since they are forced to prioritize quantity of work rather than quality. Focusing on the most significant issue in this approach is balancing schoolwork with college applications. The vast majority of college applications are due in the fall, especially considering the registrar’s office deadline that requires applications a half month before they are truly due, forcing students to give academics a limited portion of their time. The extra work in 1st semester just aggravates students’ stresses, causing negative effects. With this on their shoulders, students are cornered into a chaotic environment where they must scramble to complete schoolwork and applications simultaneously, which ultimately weakens their senior year due to the increased risk of burnout, contributing to the “senioritis” phenomenon so many catch after the fall. A clear way to ease this situation for them is to distribute the schoolwork evenly throughout the year, if not concentrate curriculum on the third and fourth quarter once college applications are out of the picture, protecting seniors from the threat of burning out altogether. Another issue is that many senior courses assign busy work, which doesn’t have a clear purpose or relevance to the curriculum, leading to unnecessary stress and wasted time. Educators need to design assignments that promote critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a deep understanding of the content at key points in learning. Busy work must be decreased to a manageable load; otherwise, students will not be able to spend the appropriate amount of time on their critical assignments. Seniors’ extracurricular activities and jobs are also critical in their lives, and with school dominating their lives in the first semester, they will often struggle to maintain a balanced lifestyle outside of the classroom. With seniors expected to spend eight hours a day in school for five days, hours every night for homework, work a job, and participate in clubs or sports, seniors will have no time to relax and take time for themselves needs to rethink how they approach senior year. Their current approach is unproductive and overwhelming, letting down students that should have the support necessary to look back on their education in these halls with nothing but joy and appreciation, not PTSD. People should not have to choose between maintaining grades or focusing on college applications, extracurriculars, and jobs. The best approach would be balanced and distributed schoolwork throughout the year, allowing students to complete all their college applications, schoolwork, and extracurriculars and still have time to relax. Implementation of these changes would ensure that senior year is a period of growth, learning, and preparation instead of months of insanity followed by months of recuperation and burnout.

Vapes  and administrators: the toll of the war on vapes

David Lusignan Opinion Editor ———————–—— The second period bell rings, and students flood from classrooms as they eagerly rush to their next class. Stopping at the bathroom, you see The Enemy. The monster that Dr. Hall warned everyone of. The object feared above all else ... a terrifying vape. Everyone agrees vaping is harmful, and the administration has continually warned us of the threat of vaping, yet students continue to light up, why? BHS has had a vaping problem for as long as I can remember, and our administration has fought unsuccessfully to cure it. Performing the same seminars, sending the same emails, and threatening the same punishments have struggled and will continue to fail , and the sooner BHS realizes this, the sooner we can make a positive step forward in solving the vaping crisis. Vaping is an addiction, threatening to scour the bathrooms for vapers is pointless because our students are addicted. If someone is addicted to a vape, or any drug for that matter, threatening them will not affect their consumption because their brain craves the drug. The outcome of Dr. Hall’s  war on vapes is the burden on the students and taxpayers; the cost of paying vice principals six figures to stand outside bathrooms instead of doing their job hurts our school due to a waste of resources, and intimidation of our students , harming learning. Treating problematic students like offenders creates an environment in which students are seen as guilty instead of fostering an educational space that has a few individuals struggling with addiction, but receiving assistance. Brighton’s misguided drug policy is rooted in the War on Drugs. In 1971, America began its War on Drugs, and by 2021 had spent over 1 trillion dollars, with rates still climbing. New to Brighton this year are Halo detectors, which can identify vapes, THC oil, vape maskers, gunshots, and aggressive sounds. The detectors function by sending a message to administrators' phones listing off a problem that is occurring, and what type of issue it is. While it could be helpful in addressing any fighting that is occurring in bathrooms, the $1,300 price tag per detector could better be spent in helping our students instead of targeting them. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Dr. Gabor Maté explains that all addictions trigger the same responses in a person’s brain, and his basic treatment plans do not differ from a person with a cocaine addiction to any other addiction. While society considers workaholism to be a “good” addiction and vaping to be a “bad” addiction, both have the same neurological effect on brains, and both can destroy lives. Once Brighton accepts that addiction itself is problem and simply stationing guards in bathrooms to intimidate students won't cure addiction, we can change our focus to assisting in combating student’s addiction and not the vaping crisis. Brighton could reallocate resources that are currently spent on policing to fund programs that are designed to help students wean themselves off vapes because it is unfair to assume people with addictions can fix their problems overnight. Creating a system that allowed people to slowly reduce their nicotine dependence, like setting a number of times an addicted student could vape and slowly reducing it would be more beneficial to solving the crisis. In 2001, Portugal legalized and decriminalized all drugs, and this method has been proven to be more successful than the US approach. Between 1998 and 2011, people in drug treatment centers rose by 60%, and Portugal’s drug rates dropped to one-fifth of the European Union’s average and 1/50 of the US drug rate. In 2017, 18% of BHS students vaped in the past 30 days compared to in 2019 when 34% of BHS student reported vaping. There was also a 12% increase in the number of students who vaped the devil’s lettuce. Nationwide, the rate of vape usage increased from 11% to 25% in 12th graders during the same time period. Both America’s and Brighton’s response to vaping has not been effective, and we must attempt a completely different approach. If Brighton cares about its students, they will understand we are battling addictions and will try to help us instead of blaming us for our addictions.

October

New Starbucks brews trouble for local businesses

There are 35,711 Starbucks stores in the world. You can’t go far in our zip code without running into a few - take Monroe Ave for example. There’s one in the library in Pittsford. Travel a few blocks towards the city and there’s one in the Whole Foods Plaza. Continue your journey just a mile and change, and there is the one on Twelve Corners, which we all know so well. We simply don’t need another in Rochester NY. Yet, there's a new Starbucks going in on 644 Park Ave, a street that’s filled with small businesses and cafes. This move will bring serious competition to the local establishments that make our area so special. This collection of vibrant businesses makes Rochester a community, not just a city. This community was built by the people in it, with cafes like Village Bakery, Java’s, Tree Town, and Café Sasso run by locals for locals. By supporting local business, you are supporting your neighbor instead of the million-dollar corporation. All the unique businesses, owners, and employees that make such places gems are put in jeopardy with chains expanding and becoming more popular. Don’t get me wrong, there isn't anything bad with big corporations that employ thousands and offer quality goods. But, while big corporations make decisions for their stores based on profits and market shares, local businesses are run by a family or individual trying to turn their passion into a living. Chains and big corporations fit better in a corporate-run place like New York City or Los Angeles. What makes Starbucks so special anyway? Why are they so popular? Sure, their service is fast, but other than that what else is there? No ambiance, no sense of community, and no sense of heart. If you look at the design of a Starbuck, it feels cold and austere. Why would we spend more money for Starbucks when we can eat locally? Local coffee shops are generally small spaces decorated warmly, surrounded by the people we’ve lived near for years; places where the community can come together and have meaningful conversations and connections. You may get your food quickly from Starbucks, but there’s a reason for that. They don’t make it. They pull whatever you ordered out of a plastic package. Every food item they have is prepackaged and shipped however long ago. Now let's juxtapose this business style to the many local places in our area that make fresh food or beverages on site. They support local brands. If you ask for a milkshake at a local café, many will make it with Pittsford Farm Dairy ice cream rather than Ben and Jerry’s. It’s fresh food with much more selection and lower costs. In my eyes, the choice is obvious. Let’s also think about another way this will impact our community. Not just local business and people, but the traffic. On small streets, another popular business will bring much more traffic. Especially in an area so close to homes and schools. Brighton High School is just down the road, and many newly licensed drivers must navigate their town and drive home at the end of a tiresome day. With more traffic there is a greater likelihood of accidents. Finally, while we all appreciate a Pumpkin Spice Latte, especially in these fall months, I just urge you to ask yourself where you would rather source it. A dominating industry, or a home for the community where you’re supporting your own?

DEBATE: US weighs debt versus morality in Moroccan crisis

On September 8th, an earthquake of a 6.8 magnitude devastated Morocco, leaving it in shambles. This was the highest magnitude of an earthquake ever recorded in over a century in this north-western African country. The major damages done were in largely populated areas, specifically in the Atlas Mountain range with a death toll surpassing 2,000 people. Marrakesh, a popular tourist city of about 840,000 people was also affected, as well as many other places in the vicinity of this natural disaster. People's homes, property, and lives have been destroyed and the days preceding, the Moroccan government was slow to act. "The authorities are focusing on the bigger communities and not the remote villages that are the worst affected," says Hamid Ait Bouyali, a survivor from the quake. "There are some villages that still have the dead buried under the rubble." With many power lines and telephone networks disintegrated, ordinary citizens have come together to help their community recover loved ones, pulling out dead bodies from under the debris. “Brahim Daldali, 36, from Marrakech, who was using a motorcycle to distribute food, water, clothes and blankets donated by friends and strangers,” says Reuters. "They have nothing, and the people are starving." The international community recognized the disaster and hopes to provide any help they can. Morocco’s response has included “...deploying ambulances, rescue crews and soldiers to the region to help assist with emergency response efforts," but so far it has not been enough to help everyone. But back home in the land of stars and stripes, Americans are torn over how we should respond, with Democrats supporting relief plans while Republicans wish to cut our country’s spending. Due to their economically conservative beliefs, Republicans believe that “the United States should not provide aid to other countries unless it also feeds America’s own interest or is a more economical form of peace keeping” (Republican Views). There is also a consensus among members of the right that America should only assist like-minded countries that are democratic, not countries that have a constitutional monarchy like Morocco. From their vantage point, the United States has no reason to aid Morocco in its crisis as it does not feed American interests; The United States has no formal treaties with the Moroccan government. The US is currently undergoing its own financial crisis and cannot recover if we continue to support foreign nations instead of our own; seeing as the federal government does not have unlimited funding and must not continue to act like we do. Currently, the United States spends over 60 billion dollars annually on foreign aid and international affairs, which could be reinvested into more valuable assets for the country such as the border or military, Why should America serve as the checkbook for the globe when dozens of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) deal with natural disasters and aid those affected by them? These include NGOs such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army; these NGOs are more than capable of dealing with the incidents that took place within Morocco, thus further showing the lack of demand for US support. On the opposite side of the political pendulum, President Biden, representing the democratic party’s interests, is attempting to pass crisis relief aid to support Morocco, believing that strong international connections will be essential to the long-term survival of America. In democrat’s eyes, now is not the time to risk alienating our allies overseas due to a lack of a moral compass. The Democratic party, compared to the Republicans, are more than willing to offer aid with Biden assuring worried constituents that “My administration is in contact with Moroccan officials”, and that he has full support of numerous government officials, including Secretary of State Anothony Blinken, to provide financial assistance. Alas, these efforts made by the U.S. were futile, as Morrocco has yet to ask or accept aid from the United States at this time. Many other countries such as Spain, Portugal, The UK, and Germany have all offered and have sent help. One of the primary resources of aid was Spain and the UK, who both sent around 50-60 rescue specialists and a team of four sniffer-dogs to the region. The Moroccan government released a statement stating the reason that they did not accept more foreign aid was because they were anxious it would do more harm than good, “It is for the Moroccan authorities to determine what support they deem necessary” (Aljazeera). Because the earthquake hit one the highest mountainous ranges in Morocco, it makes it extremely difficult to send teams in through the road system present. With too much aid, the road system would not be able to support it, and it would create chaos in the midst of a disaster where the one thing they do not need more of is chaos. Morocco needs aid but fears the strings attached to taking money from others, Republicans fear the tens of trillions in debt with rising interest rates that threaten to cripple our economy, and Democrats fear the loss of allies as well as the loss of needless life. Who is truly in the right?

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