Monday, September 26, 2016

A Shifting Tide for Our Nation’s Future?

Danny Doherty
Political Editor

Flipping between Fox and MSNBC’s nightly news yesterday gave me a look into why this year’s election is polarizing Americans more than ever. Social media’s staggering influence on our life, our constant attention on a screen, and two candidates who people hate, all make for the most intriguing election in U.S. Senator Clinton’s withholding of pneumonia and Trump’s recent run of keeping his mouth shut turned the table? Has the Washington elite been overtaken? Was Clinton’s comment that a quarter of Americans are “deplorables” her “47%” (Following a comment declaring the 47% of Americans who don’t pay taxes “not important”, he tanked in the polls)
 Fox spent hours blasting Hillary for withholding her illness and for her “deplorable comment,” while MSNBC stayed the course of questioning Trump about his tax returns. The lone difference I am seeing between the liberal and conservative media is that MSNBC continues to talk older issues and never has much new material (Trump’s tax returns have been a hobby horse for months), while conservative media outlets like Fox continue to find new little things to nitpick at Clinton (Clinton Global initiative, emails, “deplorables”). Both tactics have proved positive for each respectable outlet. People still hate Clinton, and people still hate Trump. But are the tides changing?
 Trump’s name has been in the news per usual, but his bromance with Putin and continued hard stance on Islam and immigration have been overshadowed by Clinton, who's kept her name in the bad press section for the first time in a while (her polls numbers rise when she is out of the picture). It is a serious shift, whereas up until this point, it has been just the opposite. Clinton’s post-DNC poll boost of around ten points is finally gone, as Trump has overtaken her nationally and in several Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina polls.  

 With Clinton still looking like a lock to win the election, in large part, the media’s portrayal of each candidate’s issues will prove fatal to one in the end. Will people care more about Trump’s antics, withholding of tax returns, and political inexperience, or Clinton’s lying record, health concerns, and “deplorable comment? Only time will tell.

Expectations of new freshmen not quite met

Devon Beacham
Staff Writer

When incoming freshmen enter the high school, they hope for the experience to be somewhat guided and simple, but that wasn’t the case this year.
 The freshmen class didn’t get a tour at the end of the year last year; therefore, they relied on what they thought they knew from the year before to guess where some classes might be. But when they entered the school on the first day, it was completely different from what they had thought. This not only affected the freshmen, but for everyone, the places students are not use to going to for certain subjects are all different. Have been moved around because of the construction.
 The first day was chaos with everyone running around trying to find their classrooms.
 “On the first day, I got lost a couple times. It was embarrassing, and I wish I had been given more guidance,” said Parker Cane, freshman.
 In addition to the confusion, many students were separated from their friends when it came to lunch. This was the only time of day where everyone got to chill and eat before returning to work; however, due to high enrollment and legal requirements there are now two lunches. Freshman, being new to the high school, were separated from most of their friends, making it hard for them to find a table where they felt comfortable. This was not a hardship solely reserved for the new ninth grade. The seniors were also separated from their friends. Overall though, students don’t have too much to complain about.
 “We’ve [been] given a lot more freedom and more choice in the classes we want to take,” says Tara Cooney, a freshman at New Hope-Solebury.

 Compared to the the middle school, this new environment is definitely a step up.

Do the seniors really have "senior privileges?"

Nina Coughlin and Courtney Purdy
Staff Writers

The class of 2017 is beginning to question if the senior privileges they have waited four years to receive are even “senior” privileges anymore. 
  On the first day back to school, every student was told that seniors are no longer the only ones that have the privilege to leave early and come in late; the juniors now get that benefit as well. Not only was the class of 2017 angered by this new rule, they were also questioning what the reasoning was. 
    An email was sent out by Mrs. Nealis through listserv stating that seniors received “first priority” for the 100 spots available in the West lot. Those who did not get a pass in the first 100 spots were given the opportunity to get a spot once they were counted in the first week of school. After about two weeks, nearly 20 spots were taken away due to construction in the back lot. Since then, students with late arrival that come to school around 8:40 enter that parking lot to find that all the spots are filled. To their surprise, a majority of the cars belong to juniors, and there are even cars without parking passes. Seniors that were told that they had “priority” over the available parking spots are now parking in nonexistent spots on the grass and in the East parking lot. They also have to see those who don’t even have their licenses are getting parking spots issued to them, just to add to the overflow that is already present in the lot.
  Not only are seniors upset about the parking situation, we have many seniors complaining about the lack of freedom during lunch. 
  An angry senior, Mackenzie Carpenter said: “It feels the same as junior year. We are sitting at the same table we’ve sat at all of high school. I was really looking forward to being able to eat lunch anywhere in the school.”
  In previous years, when the current seniors were underclassmen they had study halls first and eighth period but did not have the privilege to come in late or leave early. Now, they are seeing their fellow classmates coming in late and leaving early as juniors. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Talk About the Victim

Cassidy Smith
Staff Writer

“Should Brock Turner be referred to as a rapist?”
“Mad About Brock Turner? Maybe You Shouldn't Be.”
These are just some of the headlines following Brock Turner, a convicted rapist, being released from prison after only three months.
 If you don’t remember what happened back in March of 2015, here’s a quick recap. Turner was found behind a dumpster, on top of an unconscious woman, raping her. Two other college students pinned him to the ground, confirmed the victim was alive and called the police. Upon examination, the victim showed signs of sexual trauma and Turner had her DNA under his fingernails.
 The case was brought to trial, and Turner was indicted on five charges: rape of an intoxicated person, rape of an unconscious person, assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object. With no proof of genital to genital contact, the two rape charges were dropped.
 Turner was found guilty on three out of the five charges, yet judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to six months in prison. More time, he said, would have a “severe impact on him.” His decision was influenced by Turner’s father, who wrote a letter urging the judge to sentence his son to only probation. “As it stands now,” Turner’s father wrote, “Brock’s life has been deeply altered forever.” Jail time would be a “steep price to pay for [his] 20 minutes of action.”
 In the end, Turner was released from prison after three months, due to good behavior. He registered on the Ohio sex offender list and returned home, safe and sound.
 Through all of my research, I scrolled through hundreds of articles about Turner himself. Where he went when he got released, new pictures of him in his backyard, the 4-1-1 on what he plans to do next. In the 20 articles, I read only three focused on the victim, and I’d assume this trend continues. Through all the outrage over what Turner did and how he was sentenced, we forget about the reason behind all of this. There is a woman that has to live with this trauma for the rest of her life. There is a woman being victim-blamed and asked about the clothes she was wearing when it happened. There is a woman suffering.
 “[...]what he did to me doesn’t expire, doesn’t just go away after a set number of years. It stays with me, it’s part of my identity, it has forever changed the way I carry myself, the way I live the rest of my life.” This is only a segment of the victim’s letter to Turner, which she read at his trial.
 Statistics show that one in four college women report surviving rape, or attempted rape, at some point in their lifetime. One in 16 men report the same. We, as a society, need to prevent this from happening. With such a lenient sentence for Brock Turner, this tells rapists all over the country that what they’re doing is OK. That if they get caught, they will get off easy like he did. We cannot change the judicial system ourselves, but we can support victims in the way they cannot.

 Have a voice. Talk about the victims, write articles about them; not about the perpetrator. Get involved. The RVA supports those affected by sexual violence and urges people to stand with them. As the outrage over Turner’s actions is warranted, remember that as he walks free she carries around this trauma for the rest of her life. She is the survivor, not him.

Tips from a senior: focus on yourself

Elizabeth Both

High school is a time to make relationships, and most of them will probably not last entirely after graduation. Friendships tend to fade away: switching cliques is inevitable while others have stuck together since elementary school. As a senior, I’ve gone through a ridiculous amount of friend drama--not just including people from this high school. What I can tell lower classmen is don’t expect to stick with your same “group” that you have now. It’s taken four years for me to find a wide range of people that I feel comfortable with.
 Honestly, now with the fear of deadlines, time management, and that dreaded phrase Where do you want to go to college? The time for petty friend drama (one large example is “lunch tables”) has hit a close for me. Life is short, and as much as I hated going through sophomore and junior year, I got through it. It may seem like decades are spent inside this building, but winter will pass sooner than you think and graduation will be right around the corner.
 Boyfriends and girlfriends are a completely different situation. New Hope’s small-there’s no denying it. Rumors spread quickly. Whatever happens over a weekend is usually spread around the school and is manipulated into something much bigger than it ever was. From my personal experience all I have to say is this, don’t do something you will end up regretting. Take the time to prepare yourself (concerts, an event with meeting new people, basically anything outside of your comfort zone) and make sure in the end you won’t be getting hurt physically, mentally and emotionally. Being spontaneous is awesome, but double checking your reasoning doesn’t hurt.

 Mistakes are going to happen in highschool but the best thing you can do is learn from them, But keep in mind that high school is not everything and that there’s a crazy, large world outside of Bucks County. Find a balance of courses that challenge you and a group of friends that you feel comfortable with: if something feels wrong, speak up. Whether it's four years or a few mere months left of highschool, take the time to still focus on yourself and what you’re looking for in a friendship or relationship.