Opinion: The Power of a Familiar Face

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Every student deserves to see someone they can relate to in a position of authority

Every day we wake up to go to the same place, for the same amount of time, with the same people. Though we have many things in common as Jeff High students, we are all different. We have different priorities, motivations and backgrounds. You may not have thought about it this way, but finding someone who shares your background could help you learn.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, in the 2016-17 school year there were 92.3 percent white teachers to 7.8 percent of non-white teachers at Jeffersonville High School.* While the student body has a great deal of diversity, the teaching staff does not. This may be what is making it hard for students to engage academically. If students don’t see someone who looks like them in power, it’s hard for them to imagine themselves in that position.

Junior Ananda Brooks says that when she has a teacher who has a similar background, “I can relate and be motivated more. If they can do it coming from where I do, then I know I can too,” she said.

Each student has a different range of strengths in certain areas. Some can be based on their environment and how they were brought up. Others can be strictly social based. Some teachers are willing to modify the way they teach to the way some students learn. On the other hand, adapting their teaching style is out of the question for some teachers; students who struggle in the classroom that know this are willing just to give up. Most students just want their teachers to encourage them.

Lanna Tate, a junior, spoke on how one of her predominantly white teachers did not encourage her to strive for a higher semester grade after she had asked if there was anything she could do to raise it. Despite that one teacher, she had a staff member of color guide her as a student. “He gave me a lot of advice and helped me make smart decisions in school and out,” said Tate.

Schools should provide teachers who can properly engage students with the same ethnicity or background because not all students are the same. Every student deserves to see someone they can relate to in a position of authority. Give the chance for JHS students to grow feeling empowered in their academics. All students may not remember the knowledge, but we choose to remember the individuals who taught us.

Written by Alanna Groves

Photo by Caleb Sorrells

My View: Disabled People Need Your Help, But Not The Kind You’re Thinking Of

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There are ordinary, everyday actions that people often don’t think about. Such as the ability to move your arms, legs, see and hear.

Now, pick one of those and think about what life would be like without it. For example, imagine you couldn’t walk very well, or not at all. Say you want to meet up with friends at a restaurant, and when you get there a flight of stairs stands between you and the entrance. Or what if you couldn’t see well and they have no enlarged menus?

This is what life is like every day for a person with a disability, including myself.

I was born at 28 weeks and weighed three pounds and a quarter of an ounce at birth. As a result of being so early, I have brain damage that causes me to have epilepsy, auditory neuropathy (a type of hearing loss) and cerebral palsy in my legs. But the point of this column is not to tell my life story. It is to talk about how disabled people are a minority and why the lack of accessibility is a problem.

The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990 by former president George H.W. Bush. The five titles of the ADA cover employment, state and local government, public accommodations, telecommunications and miscellaneous provisions. Under this law, disabled people supposedly should not have to encounter many barriers in life. Right?

In 2017, there were an estimated 320 million Americans with a disability, or approximately 12.7 percent of the population. Despite this huge number of disabled people, there is still discrimination and lack of accessibility nearly 29 years after the ADA was made a law.

Bonny Folz, a physical therapist at the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies in Louisville, Ky., has practiced for more than 30 years. Over this time period, she said, “I feel that many positive things have happened, especially within our physical structures. However, I continue to see greater limitations in how we as individuals look at those who may appear, sound or move differently from ourselves or how we feel the norm is.”

Today’s society lacks the understanding and accommodations needed for people who are different – those who don’t fit what they see as the norm. It’s a reminder that not all people see disabled people as equal, or even as people. Unfortunately, the president is among those.

During a campaign rally in 2016, now president Donald Trump mocked the arm movements of a disabled New York Times reporter. Also, in 2018, some found his comments on the Paralympics offensive. He said, “it’s a little tough to watch too much, but I watched as much as I could.” How can discrimination get better for people with disabilities when our own president makes fun of disabled people? Society needs to learn to not judge people based on first impressions of how they talk, walk or look.

For example, a deaf woman named Amanda Koller recently told NPR about her struggles to get a job despite the fact that she’s working on her second master’s degree. She described how potential employers got frustrated with her needs and impatient while interviewing her.

How is this okay? An extremely smart, well-educated woman can’t get a job because employers simply get frustrated? This might seem like a rare occurrence, but a statistic provided by NPR showed that less than 40 percent of deaf people work full time.

In a USA Today article published on Jan. 8, a paraplegic named Tyler Schilhabel shared how lack of accessibility nearly ruined his honeymoon trip. On the first flight, he had to be carried off a plane by a flight attendant to ensure that he made his next flight on time. On his return trip, the plane didn’t have the aisle chair he requested, so he had to scoot down to the very back of the plane on the floor to reach his seat.

This is not right and something needs to change. All disabled people want to be is independent, and when we’re forced into situations that put us on the spot it’s humiliating and demeaning.

We have the ADA for a good reason, but society hasn’t caught up. We should be able to get jobs. We should be able to get on an airplane. We should be able to go out with friends and not worry about how we’re going to read the menu, or get into the building.

There needs to be change to prevent situations like those of Koller and Schilhabel. Even if you are not disabled, you can be an advocate for change.

“The environment will never be totally barrier free, but our eyes can be,” Folz said. “We all need to see the worth of those around us, no matter if they talk differently, (or) move differently….We all have strengths. We need to point those out, not distinguish.”

Written by Greta Reel

Photo by Kyle Tincher

Opposing Views: Should We Build the Border Wall?

JHS students and staff weigh in on the pros and cons of President Trump’s plan for securing the border with Mexico

“I am against the wall. Statistics show we don’t need the wall and if we get a wall it won’t do the things Trump says it will.”
– Jojo Spio, Senior

“I am for the wall because we do need to protect our borders. Every other country in the world protects their borders so I don’t see why we can’t. Should we let immigrants in and out? Yes, but it has to be according to proper procedures.”
– Mr. Dench, Radio and TV Teacher

“I am against it because I feel like the money that could go to the wall could go towards many other things that could be way more beneficial for the country. For example, Flint Michigan still doesn’t have clean water. Why would we spend so much money on a wall, when we could spend money on getting citizens clean water?”
– Jaleigh Brown, Sophomore

“I’m for the wall. It seems like a pretty obvious solution to me. If you want to stop people from coming in, you put a barrier in front of them.”
– Brennan Zastawny, Senior

“America was founded on the idea that it was for immigrants. It was founded by immigrants, for immigrants, and for people who needed a safe place. And if you really want to get technical, the first illegal immigrants showed up in 1492 with Christopher Columbus. The wall won’t stop illegal immigration.”
– Mr. Henderson, English Teacher

“In my opinion the wall isn’t a bad solution to immigration, but it’s not perfect either. But bottom line is eventually something needs to be done and the wall seems like a fitting solution to the problem.”
– Lex Hawkins, Junior

Written by Joselen Lopez, Mattie Blanton, and Sophie Rousseau

Why Should You Care About Class Size?

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As a student, you might not think about class size very much. However, it is a topic that teachers discuss often and, in some cases, disagree about. This topic is disputed because most teachers like to have smaller classes, while others like to have bigger classes.

Since our school has so many students, classes are typically pretty large, usually ranging from 30 to 35 people in each class. However, some teachers can’t decide if they prefer bigger or smaller classes. This is a common dilemma for foreign language teachers, in particular. Aude Johnson, one of the French teachers, faces this problem.

“On one hand, I like smaller classes because I can have more one-on-one time with the students,” said Johnson. “On the other hand, when it comes to presenting, I find that students in bigger classes perform a lot better than students in smaller classes.” However, teachers who teach the common core classes such as Language Arts generally prefer smaller classes ranging from about 20 to 25 students. For example, Carolyn Simpson, a 10th grade Language Arts teacher, agrees that smaller classes are the way to go.

“I definitely prefer smaller classes because I can have more one-on-one time with my students,” said Simpson. “Also, students in smaller classes typically have better grades because of that extra one-on-one time.”

Although the teacher’s opinions on class size are very important, the students’ opinions are just as important, if not more so. Students’ education is very important and should be prioritized. When students feel as though they aren’t catching on as fast as others, they need that extra help from the teachers.

“Anything over 30 makes it harder for teachers to control the class and for students to learn effectively due to distraction,” said Evelyn Minton, sophomore.

All in all, while class size is a very debated topic among teachers, it should be an important topic for students, as well. Class size not only affects how students learn, but it also affects students’ grades. In the bigger picture, this one topic affects students now and well in to the future.

 

Written by Mattie Blanton and Kayleigh Gernand

Photo by Joselen Lopez

How Does Social Media Affect Your Mental Health?

You live in a pretend world. Viewing fake people in fake places with all of their fake possessions. Sure you have followers, sure you have “friends,” but are you really happy? Most people think Yeah, I’m Happy, but social media can affect your mental health more than you think.

According to a Pew Research Center study, 92 percent of teens claim to go online at least once a day, and 24 percent say they are online almost nonstop. The statistics are from 2015 and I can only assume these numbers have increased in the past three years. So, here’s my question: how much does this affect your pursuit of happiness?

Worrying about the amount of “friends” you have or the amount of likes you get can impact you more than you think. Not only does social media have emotional consequences, but it can influence what you eat, how much you eat and how often you choose to go to the gym. These things can cause physical problems, not just emotional problems. If you’re under eating and over-exercising (yes, that is a real thing) just to impress your followers, it can generate physical health issues.

Cyberbullying is another big problem that comes with social media. Not being the “perfect weight,” not wearing the “right clothes,” and/or not having all the right materialistic things are only a few situations that could result in cyberbullying. People can be mean. I’m just going to put that out there. Some will criticize you for things that may not even be true, but that’s just the way the world works. I’m not saying that cyberbullying is okay; that’s not at all what I’m implying. What I am trying to say is that you can’t expect for things to be perfect. And, if you are getting bullied, in person or not, you should definitely talk to a trusted adult. Whether that be a teacher, counselor or parent, they can most likely help you.

Growing up without social media hasn’t been super easy, which seemingly contradicts the purpose of this entire article; however, that actually helps my case. I don’t connect with people in the same ways as everyone else does. I tend to feel left out when I don’t see “that picture” or “that tweet” or don’t get “that invitation.” Just as having social media can cause negative feelings, not having social media can degrade your self-esteem too. This shows how much these apps have changed people throughout the last decade. If I can feel uncomfortable just because I am forced to have physical conversations, that tells you that some changes really need to be made.

What can you do to alter the way social media influences you? First I would suggest a cleanse. Although I said that not having social can be negative, I still think that you should try to go a couple days or maybe even a week or two without using any of your social media. It may end up becoming something that you make permanent. If you can’t stomach dropping Snapchat, however, you need to remember that whatever you post it will be out there forever. You don’t need to change who you are to fit in. If you are posting things that are even the slightest bit inappropriate just because everyone else is doing it, that can really come back to haunt you. Everything you put on the internet can be saved by anyone who sees it, even if it gets deleted.

 

Written by Kristen Jacobs

Is it Unfair? Students and Staff Sound Off on the Dress Code

Dress code has been a hotly debated topic for as long as I can remember. Teachers, peers, administrators and more all have different expectations of what students should and can wear to school.

There are even differences among dress codes in schools in our area. For example, New Albany-Floyd County Schools have a casual dress code and it isn’t even strongly enforced. They can show skin above the knee, have rips in their jeans, show shoulders and more.

Our dress code at Jeff High is very strict, but there are many people who say that it is somewhat sexist, as well. While it doesn’t explicitly show, everyone knows that our dress code affects girls more than boys. Guys can wear shorts a few inches above the knee, but if a girl wears a skirt or dress the same length, they get punished.

When asked if our dress code is more unfair to girls than guys, these are some responses from students and staff at Jeff High:

“I would agree that the dress code is more unfair to girls than guys. Guys can get away with a little bit more when it comes to dress code, because one would think they don’t have as much to cover up as girls do.”
– Natalie Bronson, science teacher and student council sponsor

“Absolutely. Guys violate dress code all the time and nothing gets said to them because they are guys, when girls barely break dress code by the slightest bit, we get in trouble.”
– Tiara Jones, sophomore

“Yeah, there’s more rules for girls compared to boys. I’ve been dress coded for having a hole in my jeans above my knee and a boy could have a hole in the same place and not have anything happen.”
– Elliot Mays, freshman

“Yes, guys have the ability to wear clothes that kind of let you breathe more than girls do based on our current dress code. Depending on the weather and circumstances, girls have it a lot harder.”
– Harrison Paul, senior

“Girls have it harder because guys don’t have that problem, really, or I haven’t at least. A lot of girls clothes break dress code and that’s just how they’re made. So it’s kind of unfair that they buy clothes and can’t wear them.”
– Hunter Milam, junior

 

Written by Joselen Lopez

Editorial: Benefits of the Ivy Tech Scholarship Reach Far Beyond Jeffersonville High School

The city of Jeffersonville has created the life-changing promise of a free college education for Jeff High graduates. Mayor Mike Moore and Redevelopment Commission members joined with Jeff High representatives on November 28, 2018, to commit $150,000 to the promise of free college tuition.

Despite some concerns from the community, this money is not coming from taxpaying citizens. “The funding is tax money generated by new business,” Principal Julie Straight said, “so it’s not coming out of our pockets; it’s coming out of new businesses that are generating income they’re putting back into the community through this TIF tax. That [income] goes into the Redevelopment Commission to decide how they use that money to help build up our community to further support business development.”

The benefits of this program will reach far beyond the students who qualify for scholarships. Making post-secondary education more affordable will benefit our city and our region, as well. We should expect to see business flourish now that the number of college-educated Jeff High graduates is expected to jump exponentially. The program will open doors for job opportunities and entrepreneurship. It could even attract transfers to the city. Jeffersonville’s Promise is more than a scholarship program. It’s a dramatic way to shed the reputation of “Dirty J” and embrace a bright new future.

Written by Bella Bungcayao

Commentary: This is America

A flag, a song and a nation divided by racial tensions and injustice; this is America.
For some, the freedom and pride that comes along with being American is represented through our flag and our national anthem, but I’m here to break the news to you: it is so
much more than that.

Sitting and kneeling during the national anthem is nothing new in America, yet it has created one of the biggest divides among people in this country to date. But the divide isn’t caused specifically by kneeling before a football game or sitting during the pledge in first period. The divide is due to the reasoning. Quite simply, everyone has a different perspective on life in America.

Both the American flag and the national anthem are symbols, and no great country is founded on symbolism. America was founded on freedoms, liberties and the privileged right to have a choice. In some places around the world (North Korea, Venezuela, Syria,
etc.), simply having an opinion is illegal and can even get you killed.

In the past year, the media and society in America have become a dangerously divided place of hatred, and our once “united nation” gone. The idea that not participating in the worship of a flag or song being is disrespectful to America is outlandish.

To anyone who asks, “why don’t you stand?”, the answer is everywhere around you. We live in a country that takes such pride in all men being equal when, in fact, there are stipulations and inequality. That is wrong. Not until every person is treated the exact same, no matter their physical appearance, will all of America stand.

From Martin Luther King, Jr. to Colin Kaepernick, the road to change has been paved. From urban cities to suburban neighborhoods, injustice will end and equality will
arise.

Whether you sit or stand, always remember: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” – Colin Kaepernick

 

By Chloe Treat

Commentary: Religion in Schools – is it Constitutional?

written by Emily Tully

At the constitutional convention in 1787, our founding fathers came to the conclusion that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Many interpret this to mean that, literally, Americans have the right to practice any religion that we choose, but the government cannot force any religion onto you.

In recent times, or even since that amendment has been ratified, it has been misquoted and not followed as our founders meant.

Religion remains a topic not to be brought up with people, as most have a passionate opinion about it. Individuals follow the faith that they so choose and practice it in their daily lives to their discretion.

With that being said, there are some that don’t.

If things were as they were laid out in the Constitution, that would be fine. But companies, schools and other organizations have been shaming those who do not follow religion, or don’t practice the religion that they do, and making it institutional.

With the recent mass shootings in schools, there have been more calls for action as a means to stop the senseless violence and death that have been surrounding our society for over a decade. Solutions to the problem have been mentioned — arming teachers, stronger gun control, and even some unconventional ones, like adding more religion in schools.

The problem with teaching religion in public schools is that it is unconstitutional and hinders the process of students being able to form their own opinions.

Posts on social media from local high school students have claimed that the reason for these tragedies is ‘our country’s lack of morals and a relationship with God.’ Organizations have banded together to put ‘God back into public schools’ following mass acts of violence.

But what about those who do not practice any religion, or a religion that doesn’t have to do with God?

As a high school student, who isn’t particularly religious, I am absolutely in awe at the fact that other high schoolers want to blame this problem on something that is not based on fact. The fact of the matter is the average person, as young as 16 years old in Vermont, can purchase a gun. Eighteen-year-olds can purchase semi-automatic weapons that cause mass destruction. As many as 50 people can be killed in minutes, as seen in the Las Vegas shooting.

How long must this go on before our voices are heard? Why do these calls for action have to come from ‘children’? Why is being a ‘child,’ or a young person, a bad thing? Why do we imply that our youth is uneducated about this topic in particular; when, in reality, high school students are the ones who deal with this first hand?

As of print, there have been 82 school shootings since I started my freshman year at Jeff High, all of these resulting in injury and death. But my opinion doesn’t matter?

Students are faced with anxieties and fears that our lives will be potentially cut short, in a place where we are supposed to prepare for a life full of longevity and prosperity.

Betsy DeVos, the United States Secretary of Education, has been known for her Christian belief, although she has kept quiet since her nomination. In a 2001 interview, though, she offered a glimpse into her convictions.

“Our desire,” she claimed, “is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom.”

Isn’t this, by definition, unconstitutional?

DeVos is known for her support of private and Christian/Catholic education, supporting President Donald Trump’s call to fund families moving away from “our failing government schools” into their choice of charter or private school.

Why would the country’s Secretary of Education be focused on moving families out of government schools, instead of improving them? Is it because they cannot teach their religious agenda in public schools?

Public schools are not a place to push ideologies, whether they be religious, political or economic. Schools are supposed to be a place for us students to prosper and find ourselves — find our ways of thinking and ways of doing things in a manner that we so please. If I had listened to all of the principles that were pushed upon me, I would not be the activist and opinionated person that I am today.

It’s not just ‘liberals’ or ‘left-wing’ people who believe in teaching students in a way that they can learn for themselves. Most students that I have polled, from all walks of life, want to learn for themselves.

Junior Chris Sosa believes that, “If the government is funding families going into private schools, that’s wrong. They should be focusing on bettering our public schools, because not everyone is going to choose to go to a private school.

“It’s a bias within our government towards those who don’t follow the religion that they do,” Sosa continued.

In this time of societal divy of how to fix this nationwide dilemma of violence, does the answer really lie within amending the Constitution?

Commentary: Stigmas of Mental Illness

written by Tomi Clark

A school. A trigger of a gun. And the person behind the bullet.

With mass shootings, the assumptions that are frequently associated with those who stand behind the trigger are typical:

  1. Mental illness causes gun violence
  2. The crime can be prevented with psychiatric diagnosis
  3. The shooter is troubled, deranged and lonely

What is at the forefront of your mind when somebody mentions ‘school shooter’? Is it that the shooter is mentally disturbed and that is what drove them to burst?

Links between gun violence and mental illness have been the center of misconceptions, but labeling it as a misconception is only based on what you believe.

Abstractly, not only does mental stability come to mind when speaking of school shooters, but it brings to light other stereotypes and anxieties associated with gun violence.

More importantly, though, it brings up the ultimate question: Where is safe?

The stigmas of mental illness

The stigmas surrounding school shooters are only implications.

Do you picture someone who harbors telltale signs of loneliness, failing grades, a secret

vendetta, a broken family, and a history of mental illness?

From what is broadcast on the news, people tend to develop bias prejudices toward the mentally ill, and profile them as mass murderers. Thus, they make generalizations on the spectrum of the argument at hand.

The presumption that all mentally ill have a burning passion to shoot up schools just because of their mental state is only an implication. What did the mentally ill do to incur the wrath of harsh judgment and cruel discriminations?

Frankly, anyone can be an anomaly who commits the crime.

The assumptions that link gun violence and mental illness stem from some place, but where? Any correlation between the mental illness and gun violence is a fallacy, because not everyone who is mentally ill is going to conduct a shooting.

Anyone, not only those labeled as “sick”, has the capability to gain access to a weapon (whether by legal or illegal means), walk onto a school campus, and begin shooting at random. But the stigmas perpetuate the direction that all mentally ill are belligerent, and are simply waiting in the shadows, ready to strike.

Mass shootings are a conundrum, and all society aspires to do is understand, and know how to prevent them. The first group of people in line to blame are those who have mental health issues, even if they do not act or show signs of erratic behavior.

The notions that proclaim mental illness as being the sole reason for any mass shooting, or that advanced physiatric surveillance could prevent a shooting, is unsensible because denouncing a substantial amount of the population on a topic as grand terror scale as this is unfair. And while the shooter may have personal turmoil or mental instability, throwing blame on an entire group of people is where the line is drawn.

No school is infallible and grand scale shootings are inevitable, but discriminating and associating murder mentality with all mentally ill is unjustifiable.

This is an extensive and imperative topic at hand, and in the end it’s in your hands to decide what you deem the reasons for mass shootings are.

Commentary: Our voices will be heard

written by Lisa Morris

How many?

How many more teenagers will have to die or be injured before there are stricter gun laws and better safety in schools? How many more threats will there have to be for our voice to be heard?

How many?

When my mom and dad went to school, the thought of them possibly dying never even crossed their mind. Even when I was a little girl on my way to third grade, I never imagined that I could very well take my last breath at a school.

For the kids and teenagers all around the country that go to school with the fear of being murdered along with their classmates, it is undeniably heartbreaking for me. There is no doubt that there has to be a change.

I believe that in order for this change to occur, we, as students and as youth, have to make a stand. A stand against bullying. A stand against hate. A stand against murder in schools.

Our voices deserve to be heard, especially since we are the ones most affected by this.

Change will never happen if we do not come together and act upon what we are promising, or what we are saying we want done. All over the news and social media are articles about how there needs to be better safety in schools.

Then why did Jeff High, by all accounts a safe school, have two threats within weeks apart? At what point will we stop talking and actually start doing?

Youth, we are so important. We are the voice of change. We have so much energy and we have so much potential. When we put that energy into good use and use it for what we believe in, nothing can stop us.

Simply put, we cannot sit back any longer. We’ve always heard our teachers and our parents tell us that our actions speak louder than words. Then why aren’t we acting upon our beliefs? Why aren’t we pushing for more safety in our own schools?

In order for this change to happen, we as youth have to make our voices heard to the adults. Yes, we have made many mistakes. Yes, we will make many more.

But we can come together and speak out for more safety in our school to those leading it. Our opinions matter, but we have to speak up to the ones who have the legal power to put this change into action.

The threats towards our school, and many other schools like our, from those who are infiltrated with hate and anger will continue to happen. However, the only way we will be safe is if the community hears our voices.

It is time that our voices be heard.

EDITORIAL: We just want to talk…

Staff Editorial:

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a non-profit, pro-gun organization that was founded back in 1871, and has been pushing for the upholding of the Second Amendment ever since.

But, after the last 10 years of gun violence, particularly at the high school and college level, they’ve faced criticism — not for upholding the the Second Amendment of the Constitution, but for not listening to the cries of protesters calling out for a change after multiple school shootings.

Still, one month later,nobody is listening.

Here at the Hyphen, we make it a priority to open lines of communication to every party, especially when talking about such heated issues such as our country’s gun laws.

But in attempting to do so, we were shut down.

After multiple attempts to contact the NRA for their thoughts on the recent school attacks, no feedback was received. Even our advisor, Mr. Wes Scott, reached out to them to no avail.

So we tried local.

Gold & Guns, a jewelry and gun shop located a half-mile away from Jeffersonville High School, denied to comment as well. (Might we add the scariest part: they did not even ask our high school journalists for any type of identification as we walked in, despite the Indiana law stating only those 21 and up can purchase handguns.)

The Liberty Belles Women’s Gun Club, an NRA-sponsored club located in Clarksville, did not comment after multiple phone calls and emails sent out to them, as well. The Hyphen failed to get a SINGLE comment back from three different locations about what should be done in the future, and what safety concerns we, as high school students, have.

Why doesn’t anyone want to talk about it? Why are we taught for 12 years to talk through our issues, but get doors slammed on us when questioning a company about something that could be potentially so life and death with students?

Unfortunately, we think it’s simple: they don’t want kids to be the reason their guns are taken away.

The fact of the matter is nobody wants to talk about a subject where kids are the victims, and student safety is the main concern. But it’s also a touchy subject, especially when Constitutional rights are being discussed.

As difficult as it might be for store owners, politicians and other adults to go through, it’s a discussion that needs to happen. And it needs to happen now.

In the end, each student and staff member of every high school nationwide can probably come to an agreement that during their eight-hour day, they all want to feel safe.

As school shootings have now become more frequently reported in the news, it’s inevitable for students to want some type of change, so that themselves and their peers don’t become the next statistic.

But we can’t do that unless the lines of communication are open.

Whether or not this change is the banning of firearms, or perhaps even increasing them among trusted adults in schools, gun control is the phrase on everyone’s lips. Staying silent is not going to decrease the casualties.

It’s clear there is a problem.

When students at Jeffersonville High School feel hesitant to walk out into the halls when a fire alarm goes off, or when parents feel uneasy watching their kids leave to start their day, it’s clear there is a problem.

There are a myriad of changes that could be argued for improved school safety, and we understand that there are alternatives to taking away everyone’s firearms.

But how can these changes be made if we can’t even get the conversation started? Why are others arguing something that affects us?

We get it. We’re young. We make some dumb decisions sometimes. (Tide Pod Challenge, anyone?)

But we’re not naive. And we’re definitely not stupid.  

So in this issue of the Hyphen, we are making it a point to start the conversation. Listen to us; actually hear us. Involve us.

Change is happening, because the policies we have now simply aren’t sustainable.

It’s time to talk.