Opinion

The truth behind teen suicide

by Shanece Adams                                                                                      published 5/8/2018

You may hear different articles talk about suicide and signs to look out for. But what they don’t understand is that many people can hide their true feelings really well. I was one of those people.

When I was 13, I was diagnosed with depression and also severe mood disorder. No one knew how I felt; no one knew what was going through my head…they still don’t. So one day I started cutting my whole left side arm, my parents then got me checked into baptist hospital. Many people say watch out for signs,but the truth is there are no signs.

When I was depressed I showed no signs. I would hide behind a laugh and smile,something that has become a habit. I didn’t like to open up to people,so  the only way for me to speak was to write poetry. I felt trapped in my head…in my own head. I felt like I was fighting In a life long battle. And of course no one knew that because, I didn’t let them see that side of me.

Yes, I am still depressed. But not as much as I used to be. When I was 16, I was admitted back into the hospital,because I attempted a overdose. The ambulance had to come pick me up.

If  you were to hang around me, and look at me, you would never know what I was thinking and you’d never know how I was feeling unless I told you. I have a very mild emotion so it’s really really hard to figure me out. My parents literally have to ask me what’s wrong if they feel something is off. So when I’m around my family I act happy and extra goofy to hide what i’m really thinking and feeling.

Till this day they still don’t know that about me. This is why I don’t agree with articles online about teen suicide because truthfully you can’t tell. Like you’re not going to see or hear a teen or child going around saying ‘I wanna die’. Because they don’t want that attention,they don’t want  anyone to stop them.

I know how those people who were depressed felt, I know why they wanted to commit suicide,because they felt shut out and alone. I felt alone,I felt mistreated even when I wasn’t but by the people. No one can heal from depression,but yes they can be helped.

If  you are trying to tell parents,teachers,and friends to watch out for signs, you are sadly mistaken and you’re missing one big problem…you’ll never find a sign.

What you can do is  make sure you are talking to your child, that is the  biggest job for the parents. Parents need to make sure that they do what my parents do with me, make sure that they don’t isolate themselves from everyone else, and make sure that you talk to your child as much as possible ask them what’s going on at school or, how are people treating you. Ask them  no matter how aggravated they may get still, talk to them because this can make a huge difference and this can show them that even though people in the real world may treat you bad , you still have a loving caring family to come home to.

Now the next question is, what do they do when they don’t have a loving family to come home to,and is getting mistreated by kids at school or anywhere else for that matter? It is then up to the guidance counselors or therapist to be they’re next step. Make it know to them that if they are going through something at home and don’t know who else to talk to, go to a counselor and get some kind of help because that to can make a huge difference.

I truly believe that the people who take their lives don’t really want to die, but they feel that it is they’re only way out because they don’t have a way to escape and they feel death is the only way. Don’t let death be their only way.

When the system fails

By Adrien Trippany                                                                  published 4/25/2018

From the time we were young children, we have been told to call 911 in case of an emergency. We’ve been told to say what happened and to know where we are, so we can get help. But what happens if help doesn’t come? This became a very real for the late Kyle Plush, 16.

Plush was a sophomore at Seven Hills School in Cincinnati Ohio. On April 10, he suffocated in his minivan after a third-row seat malfunctioned, pinning him against the floor. He was parked in his school parking lot, where he was later found by his father.

It was found out, later, that Plush had made two calls to 911 while trapped in the car. He used the Apple voice command app, Siri, to make the calls as his phone was out of reach. In the first call, he was unable to communicate well with the operator because he couldn’t hear her.

After the first call, two police officers were dispatched to Seven Hills School. According to authorities, the officers were on foot searching for a woman in a van in some sort of trouble. The officers left the school after being unable to find anything.

While the two officers were at the school, 911 received another call from Plush, this time detailing the color and make of his car. This information was never relayed to the officers on site.

At the time, Plush’s mother had filed a missing person’s report when her son didn’t come home after practice. Her husband left to search for their son at the school, where he found their son dead in his van.

The 911 operator on duty was suspended until she was allowed to return to work on Wednesday, April 18.

The story of Kyle Plush’s death is one of the system completely failing someone in need. There were several steps that could have been taken to save his life that were just not taken. Plush’s school was not contacted by the police after he made his emergency call. There was a missing persons report made by Plush’s mother at the time that was not followed through. There were only two police officers on scene, who were supposedly on foot. The officers on scene were not informed of the contents of the second phone call made by Plush.

If any of these steps had been taken, the chances of Plush surviving increases.

This isn’t the first time 911 has failed someone in need. This isn’t even the first time this 911 dispatch office had failed someone. This is a huge problem, and something needs to be done about it.

It’s a heartbreaking thought to imagine a child doing exactly what they were supposed to do, only to have the system completely let them down. This should something that never should have happened, and definitely should never happen again. Whether this means changing how the system works period, or changing how this one office works, I can’t say. But I do know that there does need to be some sort of change to prevent another disaster like this one.

 

Teen violence in high schools

By Caitlin Brewer                                                                         published 3/15/2018

As most of the well-informed public is aware, violence among teenagers in high school has always been a problem within the educational institutions. Whether hormones are to blame, or it be simple human emotions; it is essential that all students feel they are in a safe and healthy environment when they are away from home and especially at school.

Despite the fact that most students do not condone some of their fellow classmates violent behavior, adults are often quick to blame the youth, believing all teenagers are prone to getting into physical confrontation at some point during their high school careers.

To instill the credibility of the general high school student population, students offered their own perspectives on teen violence in educational institutions.

Keyonna Hampton, a senior member of the Bio-Allied Magnet Program at Ridge View  commented, “Fighting in schools is just going to far. Students just need to settle their differences outside of school. It would save their school from the embarrassment fighting would cause.”

This is the popular opinion among most high school students, however it does not get any publicity because the public is amused by violence, especially in real a life scenario. Violence sells, it always has; therefore, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone when they see the latest blood-shed from a neighboring high school being posted online via social media, and occasionally, even on their local or national news station. The majority of the public may be entertained by these foolish acts of rage; however, there are some people who want schools to start doing something to prevent it.

High schools across the United States usually expel both parties involved in any sort of physical confrontation; however; very few do anything to prevent the situation from happening.

When asked her opinion on why students resort to violence, Gabriella Hewitt, another senior member  in the Scholar’s Academy Magnet Program stated, “They haven’t been taught healthy anger management skills.”

Most educators, parents, and well-informed students would agree with Ms. Hewitt’s statement, as it addresses the much needed education for students to control their anger. Most children have been exposed to television which in some way, shape, or form promotes resorting to violence when one becomes angry.

To ensure that students are fully aware that violent behavior will not be permitted or tolerated in an educational space, schools need to teach students basic anger management skills, which would hopefully decrease the number of physical confrontations within high schools, provide students with an outlet for their aggression, and end the stereotypes which are produced from them.

 

The rise of “empty threats”

By Adrien Trippany                                                        published 3/8/2018

If you’re a student, teacher, or parent of a student, then you’ve undoubtedly heard about some sort of threat someone has made towards your school. Bomb threats, threats of shooting students and teachers, and everything in between, have all been happening at a very frequent rate, but almost always there is no incident after the threat. This phenomena has been happening all over the country, not just here in our district.

With the rapid increase of these “false threats,” how should students, teachers, parents, and school administration react to threats? If a student says that they’re going to “blow up the school” should they ignore it and assume it was some sort of joke, or should they assume that the student is planning on carrying out that threat? These questions are ones that people have been asking themselves, and the opinions on this are all over.

Some people, such as Sean Gary, a freshman at Ridge View, believe that any threat made by a student should be treated as serious. “I think, especially with how many school shootings there have been lately, we need to treat all threats seriously,” he said. “You just never know.”

Mallory Mullen, teacher at Ridge View High School, agrees with this. “It’s like the boy who cried wolf. The one time you don’t take a threat seriously, it’ll be the one that’s real.”

On the other side, however, some believe that giving students who make threats a large amount of attention only makes the problem worse. In an age of social media, it’s only a matter of hours before an entire school gets caught in the paranoia of any threat. Shia Cyprian, another Ridge View student, shares this opinion. “It’ll just make people who want attention say things like that,” he says. “One minute they’re nobody, and the next the whole community is talking about them.”

School shootings and other attacks are a very real threat here in America, there’s no doubting this. As of this year, there have been ten gun related incidents in schools that resulted in deaths in 2018. One of the most recent of which was the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that took place on February 14, 2018, in which a former student went to the school and killed 17 people. The latest shooting happened on February 20, when a 13-year-old Ohio boy shot and killed himself in his school’s bathroom.

With this threat as well as the almost constant flow of “fake” threats in schools, it’s hard to know what to do. In our area alone, there have been at least five reported school shooting threats since the Stoneman Douglas incident. This is something that our country and our community needs to come together to solve and soon.

 

 

 

 

Students need to clean up their trash

By Justin Seabrook                                                                         published 3/10/2017

High school, for most students, is about speed. What’s the quickest way to get there and then gone? What’s the fastest way to get done with this assignment? When is the next time I get to talk to my friends? Though more often than not, this mentality results in a disregard for common courtesy. Throughout the day students leave wrappers, bottles, and other food trash around the school, especially during and following lunch.

Were you aware that the average student creates 45 to 90 pounds of waste each year from school lunches? This only includes the trash that makes it to the garbage cans. The rest of the waste is picked up by custodial staff, and even though cleaning is part of their job description, there is no need for students to increase their labor because of laziness.

“There is definitely a problem with students cleaning up their trash,” said a member of Ridge View’s custodial staff.

“They are old enough to do it at home, so they should be able to clean up after themselves at school.”

Saying that it is the custodial staff’s job to clean up after each individual student’s trash is like saying that it would be the cashier’s job to pick up all the quarters from around the restaurant.  

Did you know that 78% of the waste for schools could be recycled and reused or transferred into organic waste? Even so, the trash is often put directly into trash cans, with little regard to whether it can be recycled or not. Teenagers will most often choose the easier option, but the easiest option might not be the best option. Most, if not all, classrooms have recycling bins in addition to trash cans, but teens will choose to drop their trash on the floor instead of walking across the room to throw it away. So maybe next time you have any trash, be more considerate of how you get rid of it.

DEBATE: Should students be allowed to listen to music in school?

By Kay Brown                                                                 published  3/2/2017

Students should be allowed to use cellphones in school to listen to music.

The cell phone is essentially a computer that easily fits in someone’s hand and or pocket. What teachers and administrators fail to realize is that students use their cell phones for the same things that a computer does.Why would school districts give out laptops to students calling it one to one learning, designed to enhance learning, only to prohibit personal computers which have morphed into cell phones today?

Although cellphones are being regulated, so are cell phone accessories. The most major one being headphones. Headphones are used for one of the most important things to every human. Somethings that has the power to connect us all. Music.

Music can calm, soothe, or energize. Which are all needed at some point during the school day based on the activities of the day.

Taking away the right of students to listen to music is not the right of the school. Sometimes school days are difficult, and students want to tune out the rest of the world. Taking away students’ music that is used as a coping tool is wrong and disruptive in itself. Instead of letting the student calm down or be distracted with their music, taking away the device escalates the situation into something bigger than it should be.

Sometimes adults forget what it is like to be in high school, or the fact that it feels like the world is ending sometimes. Adults view their problems has having more importance because they have more responsibilities.This is the gap that makes administrators and/or teachers more times than often the enemy of students.

To deny students the right to listen to music is to deny them the right to cope with life.

DEBATE: Should students be allowed to listen to music in school?

by Alexis Danzy                                                             published 2/21/2017

Students should not be allowed to listen to music during the school day.

Though cell phones are useful tools used to keep people connected and provide entertainment, they have no place in classrooms and school hallways.  

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A Ridge View student waits at the end of the day.        photo by Mykel Martin

In classrooms, cell phones are extremely distracting.  Most students claim to be listening to music while working, but more often than not, the students end up searching for the perfect song, organizing their playlists, or even checking their social media accounts and playing intense games of 8-Ball.  This results in less class work being done by the students in question.

Having earbuds in during instructional time also conveys a lack of respect for the teacher, and when a teacher has to constantly interrupt their lesson to remind a student to remove their earbuds, class time is wasted and the other students in the class are negatively impacted.

Listening to music during school also poses a risk to a student’s health and safety.  No matter how attentive someone claims to be, listening to music is an immersive experience.  When students listen to music, they tune everything else out, which can quickly become dangerous if there is an emergency, such as a fire alarm or an intruder in the school.

Additionally, students (and people in general) tend to adjust the volume of their music as the volume around them increases.  Most smartphones can play music as loud as 120 decibels, which is more than enough to cause noticeable damage.

While it is perfectly acceptable for students to listen to music during free time and at home (at acceptable volumes, of course), there is a time and place for everything, and school is neither the time nor the place to listen to music for recreational purposes.

Why don’t we talk about teen violence?        

by Alexis Williams                                                                                  published  5/17/2016

Violence has always been a big issue in adults, but when have we ever discussed it with teens?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 200,000 homicides are committed by “youth” between the ages of 10-29. I question why  teens can be so violent because they are too young to have so much rage built up inside.

This past January, right here in Columbia, 19-year-old Deanndra Roach was found dead, and her 22-year-old ex-boyfriend was arrested for her murder the next day.  Though her boyfriend was not a teenager, this still needs to be brought to light on violence being committed by or on teenagers.

Also more recently on April 21, there was the killing of 16-year-old Amy Joyner-Francis in Wilmington, Delaware. She was jumped and beaten to death in her school’s bathroom by seven other girls. The reason being over an Instagram post about a boy.  

Recently a group of students at Ridge View have been working to get a law called Sierra’s Law passed, that will help teens under 18 acquire orders of protection from abusive partners. Sierra Landry was a 16-year-old teen that was shot and killed by her 18-year-old ex-boyfriend, Tanner Crolley. She was trying to get an order of protection against him after they broke up, but according to South Carolina laws it didn’t allow her to.

It is sad to hear about people of this age committing these crimes and acts of violence, especially being young. Being this age you have so much to look forward to in life, and so do those who fall victim.

Teen violence isn’t talked about or has awareness brought to it as much as it should have. These kinds of things happen everyday and to act as if it doesn’t happen,is not good. Yes, all violence should have attention  brought to it, but it is much more serious and concerning when violent crimes are committed by teens against teens.

Teen Violence is sweeping a nation

by Alexz Wilson

Teen violence in reality is one of those things people seem to overlook. According to loveisrespect.org, one in three adolescents have been victims of many forms of abuse: verbal, physical, and emotional. Bullying degrades one’s self worth and the way they look at themselves.

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Scholars students create new hearts due to an incident of written bullying during Love is Respect week. Photo by Nicole Walker

From a young age we are told to watch what we say, even if it is a joke, because some people may take it the wrong way. We are taught that words can destroy lives. I personally believe that words can go a long way, be it in a good or bad way.

Everyday we are exposed to bullying. A large majority of bullying occurs in our schools, making the hallways a dangerous ground to pass through. We all are familiar with The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and today the word “bullying” has taken on the same connotation. This is becoming a big issue among youth today that can’t receive help because no one knows if they are being serious or not.  

With the advancements technology has brought to our generation, bullying has evolved. Now, all we have to do is simply charge up a screen and type our thoughts out. Cyberbullying has become a major way to bully teens in the last few years.

Smartphones are used as weapons now. Cyberbullying within popular apps such as Twitter and Instagram has blown up tremendously. Whether it involves celebrity bashings or simply making a rude comment to another student, everyone sees it and yet nobody seems to make any action to stop it. Next time, think about what you post and how you communicate to other people. Your actions affect those around you. Observe yourself from the outside and ask yourself, “Am I a bully?”

Encouraging people to vote

By Halin Miklas

The presidential election is just around the corner, which means it is time to go out and vote again. It is important to get out and vote because if you want something to be done, voting is one of the best ways to do so. The problem is that not many people will actually go out to vote because many do not care.

Voting encourages learning about the candidates and helps to form their own opinions about political issues as well as deciding whether they are a Democrat, Republican or Independent. Something to remember is that every vote counts.

Many people think that our vote does not count because the electoral college makes the decision. People who think this don’t realize that your vote decides who votes in the Electoral College. This means that if the majority of people vote for Democrat, then the majority of electors will be Democrats and will vote for the Democratic candidate.

Another reason is that many people do not want to wait in line for hours for something that takes only five minutes, but if we care about our country then we should be willing to take the responsibility of going out to vote no matter how long it takes. We are part of a democracy; this is a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people- which means we make the decisions. If you are 18 years of age, then it is time to take control and vote.

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