Discussing Democracy: Why Politics Should be Part of Education

politics rescanned croppedBy Olivia Gubel ’21

Every school across America has unique rules regarding current politics. Some ban the subject entirely, while others gently discourage the banter. Some even encourage debates among students. But should students have to be a certain age to partake in these discussions? Most students understand how heated arguments regarding politics can be, especially presidential elections. Many educators and parents believe that students should not be discussing political beliefs inside the classroom or outside on the playground because it is not uncommon for pupils to cross the line or hurt another, but making politics a required course in schools may be exactly what our country needs.

More significantly, however, the purpose of education is for children to become adults who are well-prepared for what they will encounter in the real world. This includes information and knowledge in subjects such as history and algebra, but more importantly, includes how to be successful. The goal of schools are to cultivate resilient, civil and hardworking citizens who understand on a thorough level how to act in society. But to be a contributing citizen, voting comes into play.

At the age of 18, while some students are still in high school, students begin to vote, impacting the world around them. They have reached the adult age and have earned the right to vote, but many young adults are mis- or under-informed regarding current issues. In 2005, 71% teens age 13 to 17 reported that their political views are about the same as their parents’. Is this because they are inclined to do what is easiest? Public schools are ran by the government, yet they are not required to teach about politics. One can conclude that the government expects young adults to take their own initiative to educate themselves. However, in many cases, this does not happen.

If students are not given an objective, in-depth education on politics, they are likely influenced by those around them, most significantly, their parents, family and friends. If a hypothetical student’s parent is in favor of a certain candidate, it is likely that they will naturally focus on the good of that particular candidate. Even if that young adult is developing an opinion based on facts, it is probable that they have been given a manipulated set of facts. It is important that all adults have developed their own opinions without any influence. In 2014, The American Election Study found that over 40% of people try to persuade others to a specific candidate. With so many subjective opinions, and so few facts, how can we expect young voters to vote responsibly?

In 2015, researchers at Hawaii University found that most adults age 18-20 do not research political information; instead, they come across it by accident, which influences their vote. Much of the information they come across is from social media. Social media is a line for false news and only exposes people to personalized media. If the majority of the people someone is following represents a certain political group, that person will most likely be influenced and manipulated because of the skewed views and supporting facts towards a specific political view or candidate.

Although ideally teenagers and young adults would only vote if they have sufficiently educated themselves on the topics, that is not happening. If politics were a required class in schools, students would be given the complete opportunity to not only develop their own unbiased opinions regarding specific affairs, but their complete political identity.


Less Stress: AP Limits, GPA Changes Will Help Students

APimage1By Mia Feizbakhsh ’22

The school is known for its notorious amount of pressure when it comes to one’s academic future, but this is about to change. The school has made a new rule that will be in effect, starting with the class of 2022. From that grade on, a student’s GPA will no longer be affected by AP or honors courses. This change was made so that students who sign up for advanced-level classes do not do it for the GPA boost they would receive.

Throughout the years, many students have often taken AP and honors classes solely for the one point boost in their GPA, without actually having a passion about that specific subject.  This has caused many students to feel that taking an AP or honors course is necessary in order for their GPA to increase.  This new rule is a step towards relieving students of stress when it comes to their classes.

Many people believe that the new change is unfair because students will no longer be properly compensated for their work; however, the correct reason as to why one should take an AP or honors course is the pursuit of education, not a higher grade point average.  Students should choose to take an advanced course because they have grown to like a specific subject more than others and are willing to accept a challenge in their preferred classes. They should not be signing up for harder courses if all they care about is their grade point average.

Maintaining a high GPA has become a priority at our school, but why? The idea that one’s GPA is a deciding factor in college applications is firmly believed by many students, which is why they prioritize their grade over the value of what they learn.  Taking an AP course, or any course, should not just be about getting a good grade.  If the absence of a GPA boost changes one’s decision when it comes to taking the advanced route, then they don’t really want to take that class because they enjoy it.  When people sign up for an accelerated program, they have a genuine interest in the subject, and they accept the challenge. These students are willing to put in the time and effort to learn, not just to get a good grade.

When going through the application process for college, of course, a student’s GPA appears on the application.  Some people think that they now have a disadvantage, but colleges also receive a copy of transcripts and would be able to tell that a student took an advanced course.

The school has made this new rule to relieve a burden that can cause students to obsess over their future, to the detriment of the present.  School is not always about what grade a student got on his or her tests; it is about the experiences had, such as making new friends on retreat or going on that school trip one was curious about.  The school is trying to give kids more of a “regular” high school experience, instead of the high-pressure-GPA-obsessed school it is sometimes thought to be from people both inside and outside.  Therefore, the new GPA policy is a step towards a less stressful school environment.


Hungry Hungry Students: How Assigned Lunch Periods Still Need Improvement

img002By Sophia Musante ’22

Student hunger has been an issue in the school community for years. The Administration has made several changes over the years to address this problem, the most recent being assigning mandatory lunch periods. While designating lunch periods has certainly helped, has it done enough to end student hunger?

According to Eighth Grade Dean Karen Fukushima, the school assigns lunch periods to ensure everyone eats lunch at a reasonable time. For seventh graders, lunch is either fifth or sixth period. For eighth graders, lunch is fourth, seventh or eighth period, and for ninth graders, assigned lunch is anytime between fourth and eighth period.

It seemed as if having an assigned lunch would be of great help to many students. However, these lunch times are not as reasonable as they seem. Eating at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m., far earlier and later than most students are used to, is not uncommon. As a result, many students are desperate to eat hours before or after their assigned lunch.

“I’m starving throughout the day,” Paris Little ‘22, who has lunch seventh period, said. “My stomach is growling during each class, especially sixth period.”

Assigning lunch periods is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to stop student hunger. Students struggle to find other times to eat during school hours. School policy mandates that food is not allowed in the buildings, prohibiting students from eating in class. These rules have only gotten harsher with the start of the new school year. When hunger strikes, students must wait until break or frees.

Break is of little help to most students who get hungry later in the day, occurring less than an hour before some students’ lunches. Students are also often busy with work, meeting with teachers or going to club meetings during break. Frees are not a sufficient substitute for lunch because they are not always consistent and do not always appear during typical lunch periods. Students are also busy with homework during their frees, and the majority of the places students do homework – the library, the lounges or the flex space – do not allow food.

“During frees, I have homework to do, so it’s not like I can really eat lunch,” Justin Lee ‘22 said.

Because of this, students have to deal with their hunger during the school day, which can be detrimental to their performance in class. Both students and faculty agree that students being hungry during class can cause them to lose focus, distracting them from learning.

“I’m focusing on food more than actual work,” Matthew Servin ‘21 said.

Students said they find that their hunger prevents them from learning. Because of this, some teachers allow their students to eat in class in spite of the rule, something students find very helpful.

“Even though students have lunch blocks, sometimes they’re very late in the day…. I would rather [my students] eat and participate fully than sit there and be distracted,” a teacher who wishes to remain anonymous said.

While one teacher’s solution works for their classes, this is not what the school needs. We need a solution that works for the entire student body.

One such solution is altering the food policy so students can eat small, no-mess snacks in class, such as granola bars or apple slices. Students would be able to satisfy their hunger without disrupting class or creating any sort of mess.

Another possible solution is splitting break into two smaller breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This way, every student would have three opportunities to eat every day. Students with early lunches could get a snack later in the day, and those with later lunches could eat something to tide them over.

Whether these or other solutions are chosen, the school is in need of a change in policy.




First Impressions: A New Student’s Perspective

img001By Mohona Ganguly ’21

First Impressions

As a new Ninth Grader, I want to share my experiences. This issue, I am describing a few of my first impressions and some things that stood out to me during my first month at school.


The First Bus Ride

On the first day of school, I woke up early to take the bus to school for the first time. Nervous and skittish, I extended my shaking hand to show the bus driver my I.D. After the bus took off, many of the other passengers started discussing their summers. Pretty soon, the whole bus was filled with the excited voices of students talking and laughing with their friends. Although I did not join in on their conversations, I still felt cheerful listening to them talk. There was so much camaraderie on that school bus and it felt like I was part of a big team.


The Wonderful Unknown

Any new experience takes some time to become used to. When my first day came along, I was expecting to end up lost and to be wandering around aimlessly while my other classmates would be talking about people that I barely knew. Instead, I was greeted with friendly faces and my classmates invited me wholeheartedly into their conversations. People were there to take me to classrooms if I looked lost (which was a fairly common occurrence in my first few days). Everyone was so warm and welcoming, and it felt like I had been studying here for my whole life after just one week.



My first period everyday is Symphony. It always feels so wonderful to get lost in the sound of instruments in the morning before my academic classes. My other classes are also equally extraordinary. All of my teachers are so invested in what they teach that it is hard not to get excited when they teach a new concept. All of the material is very interesting, and I am particularly fond of doing group work and exercises during class so that I can meet new and interesting people. Overall, there are so many unique opportunities at our school. It is no wonder that part of our mission statement is “to promote the joyful pursuit of excellence.”


Absence Nightmares

In the second week of school, I fell sick with a virus. I was horrified. I had heard the rumors that missing a day of school is like missing a whole year. I insisted on going to school and not missing any of my classes, but my mother refused and forced me to stay home. The next day I arrived at school, absence note in hand, trying to frantically catch up on what I had missed. Instead, I found that the teachers were patient and understanding and they all helped me catch up on what I had missed. By the end of the day it felt like I had missed nothing at all.


Future Hopes

After my first few weeks, I feel well integrated into the community. The teachers and students are friendly, warm and approachable. I am very optimistic and I cannot wait for what is in store for me next during my first year.


Staff Editorial

img020The Middle School can live up to its reputation as a stressful environment, but a lot of that is due to students not taking advantage of breaks from academics during the school year.  The beginning of the first semester is filled with no homework holidays and exciting school events, such as retreat and spirit week. However, many students get swept up in the anxiety of the year and choose to opt out, focus on stressing over their school work instead of enjoying events or time off. Extracurriculars and new friendships can be exciting for students and help create a focus and joy for the new year. Students are on the middle school campus for three years, and although it can be nice to prepare for the future, it is also important to find a good balance between school-work and fun.

Since schedules are fixed, students interact with the same people daily. This is why retreat is a crucial time to bond with classmates and meet new people. This is especially true for seventh graders who are now all going on the same retreat. Retreat also allows students to engage with each other in a work-free and unplugged environment, allowing them to focus more on enjoying each other’s company. This stress-free time should be taken advantage of because students rarely interact in groups with peers they do not know well out of school.

Rest and Recharge weekends, or R&R weekends, are also important for students to find balance because they allow students to focus on their extracurriculars and friendships. School can be overwhelming because there are so many tasks to balance and different pressures, and R&R weekends take one of those larger pressures away. Although it is always good to be ahead of the work schedule, students oftentimes worry more about the work they have, instead of actually getting their work done. Students can take time to study individually but should also make sure to take breaks to do other activities as they are also vital to learning and staying focused. These times can also be a great time to catch up on extracurricular and do other enjoyable activities. People also tend to worry too much about work over the weekends, which can be detrimental to the fun parts of life. The weekends are great for fixing the exhaustion of a week’s worth of hard work, and they are also a good time to sleep in and catch up on television. Students should not feel ashamed of being unproductive because relaxation helps productivity later on and R&R weekends are planned for relaxation.

Homecoming and Spirit Week are other important events to bond with peers. Homecoming is one of the few events all year with students from both campuses. This allows students to get used to the high school campus, see older friends and acts as another important reminder that we are part of a larger community, not just an isolated campus.  Rides and sports games can be an enjoyable break from school. Seeing the whole community support a sports team or cheer at our Friday prep rally shows school unity and the support for one another. Even other days of Spirit Week show excitement and energy, and planning your outfits and seeing other dress up can be fun.The fall student council event happens at the end of the month and is a great chance to balance student schedules.

All of these breaks and events are all created to help balance out the stress of the school year with some fun activities, and students should take advantage of them before they fade away.


‘Am I a feminist?’: The movement should not have a bad rep

By Valerie Velazquez ’20
Illustration by Lauren Mcgee ’20

At least 470,000 people assembled less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump’s inauguration to protest numerous issues concerning women’s rights in light of his problematic campaign for the presidency. According to the New York Times, crowd scientists deduced that the number of people who marched in Washington D.C. was roughly triple of those attending the inauguration.

Concerns surrounding feminism were present prior to the Women’s Marches; however, the publicity around the marches has newly sparked them. Many of us are now asking ourselves questions in light of the heated debates around feminism, women’s rights and the patriarchy. Even if one believes oneself to be well informed, the question we all eventually ask ourselves when thinking about feminism is, “Am I a feminist?” Issues such as abortion are blurring the line for many people as to what a feminist believes in or what a feminist should believe in, making the answer to that question more complicated.

Abortion has been a huge topic, and it is bound to come up when discussing feminism. Since Planned Parenthood was one of the biggest supporters and sponsors of the Women’s March, many women against abortion felt unsure about attending, despite the fact that they agreed with many other issues concerning women’s rights. All women should individually have the right to choose abortion over an emotionally painful and unwanted pregnancy, especially since the choice to have a baby is one that affects the mother and the child’s future. Feminism supports the right of each woman to autonomously make decisions as to what to do with her body and health; not her husband, her partner, her parents and especially not the government. Being against abortion is still accepted since everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion; however, no one should force their opinion on someone else, especially when multiple lives are at stake.

Feminism is also criticized for the exclusion of the transsexual community, ignoring trans women’s issues or blatantly not recognizing trans women as women. Some people consider themselves feminists, but they ignore the trans community because they believe that trans women who one were once considered men are exempt to issues concerning women. However, the more people who identify as feminist and support trans women, the quicker this ignorance can go away.

Additionally, the title of “feminist” has been called into question as to what that entails and how effective it really is for the future of women’s rights. Public figures like Kellyanne Conway, the first female campaign manager to win a U.S. election, and celebrities like Kelly Clarkson have made their stance against feminism clear. One of the main concerns that these women and many others have about feminism is that it could foster a society where women are overly dominant and men are considered inferior or worthless.

“I’m not anti-male. One does not need to be pro-female and call yourself a feminist, when with it comes the whole anti-male culture where we want young boys to sit down and shut up in the classroom,” Conway said in an interview with the Washington Post.

However the issue of women overly dominating society in the same way men have been for thousands of years should not stop one from supporting feminism because the problem itself does not exist. The goal of feminism is not to put women above men; it is to equal the playing field. The idea of “sit down and shut up” is not as related to men as depicted in Conway’s quote. Women have been shut up for the vast majority of history, whether it has been in their marriages, classrooms or in front of the Senate like Elizabeth Warren. The feminism movement is meant to make up for the women who did not get a chance in history and to make the future more inclusive.

Some prefer to pivot to identifying as “humanist” or choosing another way to avoid being directly called a feminist. Though being a humanist seems appealing, it is essentially avoiding differences in opinion with those who avidly disagree with feminism. The point of calling oneself a feminist is to be confident in one’s decision to be fully supportive of women. The word feminist is supposed to be a harsh word. It is supposed to be strong and provoke confidence in those who embrace it, and in a way it is meant to intimidate. However the harsh stereotypes identifying feminists as power hungry women who do not have children, take extreme measures and burn bras do not define the aspects of feminism. Feminism is the opinion that both men and women should have equal opportunities in the world.

It is hard to believe that the world is still faced with such a primitive issue since many of us like to believe that our generation is miles above the past in terms of human and especially women’s rights. Though it is true that women’s rights have improved greatly during our lifetimes, it is incredibly important to remember that there is still a huge amount of work to do in order to fully achieve acceptance and equality for all women. Yet this should not discourage people; instead, that makes it all the more urgent for gender inequality to be resolved. If we see ourselves as the future of America, and representatives of the free world, we need to be able to embrace the challenge and not flee from conflict. Feminism at its core is not a hard concept to accept because in theory, as long as one believes in women’s rights, they should be considered a feminist. However it is the stereotypes and stigmas against feminism that discourage people from fully embracing it. In reality, taking the leap of faith to call oneself a feminist is the easiest risk one will ever take.


Gor-Such a Bad Choice: Analyzing Trump’s pick for justice

By Luke Scheider ’20
Illustration by Hannah Mittleman ’20

After Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, President Barack Obama pushed for Merrick Garland, a qualified appellate judge, to take his Supreme Court seat. However, the majority Republican Senate announced that they would not consider any of Obama’s nominees. This action was deemed unconstitutional in a letter signed by over 350 law professors. This made it clear that they were holding out for a possible Trump presidency.

Currently, controversial and hazardous laws and orders are being passed, the constitutionality of many of these laws and orders will almost certainly be called into question in the Supreme Court, and a Republican court would only continue to reaffirm the horrendous laws already being enacted by the Republican congress and president.

Trump’s immigration travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries will likely be called into question by the Supreme Court. The legality of this executive order has already been questioned by many judges and justices, and it has been partially halted by some federal judges. However, the Supreme Court has the power to overturn all decisions, furthering the Republican agenda to an even greater extent.

Another way that a fifth conservative judge on the Supreme Court could be detrimental is because they would support the enactment of the Mexico City policy and many other laws restricting access to abortions for many women across the country. A Supreme Court that reaffirms these laws could be the final nail in the coffin for many abortion providers. In places with very few options for abortion services, this could have terrible effects on the people who reside there. For example, the state of Mississippi has just one abortion clinic, and even that one clinic is in danger of shutting down.

If Gorsuch assumes the empty seat, Republicans hold a majority in all three branches of government, in effect, a monopoly on the United States. For example, this occurred in 1927 to 1933, which were the years leading up to and the first part of the Great Depression, and again from 2003 to 2007, which were the years right before the global financial crisis of 2007-2008. The Republican Party will have complete control of the United States, allowing any number of drastic laws to be passed. When one looks at the correlation of these events, one can only speculate the awful laws that could be enacted with a fully Republican government coupled with a president who has promised radical reforms.

The nominee to this seat, Neil Gorsuch, does not alleviate any concerns of many sensible people of the U.S. He nearly always votes along party lines, so coupled with Justices Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, he is very likely to nearly never challenge any of Trump’s executive orders or any of the conservative legislation that Trump signs into law. Gorsuch’s opinions share the strongest resemblance with those of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, a firebrand conservative known for defending anti-sodomy laws and attempting to uphold school prayer. These extremists pose a threat to the freedom of the United States when put into a position of power.

As a traditional conservative, Gorsuch has ruled against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores. Along with providing health coverage for millions across America, the Affordable Care Act allows young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until they are 26. This allows young people to establish themselves in the world before they need to pay for health insurance. Obamacare sets people up to prosper, which further cultivates the economy. However, Gorsuch and the rest of the Republican Supreme Court could easily side with Congress and Trump and repeal Obamacare. This would hurt millions upon millions of young and disadvantaged people.

Complete control of the government by the Republican Party will allow Trump near complete control of the United States, putting our lives in the hands of someone unfit to serve.


Protests are Best: Protesting is effective in the long run

By Rachel Brown ’20 and Emma Shapiro ’20
Protests Comic AWU
Illustration by Astor Wu ’20

Although the Women’s March was roughly a month ago, we continue to view it as a successful way we fought back and resisted. Protests seem to be everywhere we turn nowadays, and they are making the public evermore present in the political stage. With the increasing of protests, it is important for one to decide for oneself whether they even matter or consider what these demonstrations might lead to.

Nearly 250,000 people gathered in 1963 to attempt to end segregation and earn equal rights in the Civil Rights March on Washington. This protest is often viewed as one of the most influential marches and led to the Civil Rights Act being passed. However, the size of the crowd itself did not cause the protest to be successful. Instead, it was the fact that citizens heard those speeches, went home and worked to achieve their cause.

In 1963 Hazel Mangel Rivers spent eight dollars, or 63.50 in today’s dollars, on an overnight bus from Birmingham, Alabama to Washington. Without the actions Rivers and countless others took after that March on Washington, we would not have the Civil Rights Act or the amount of equality we have today.

“When I get back tomorrow I’m going to do whatever needs to be done. I don’t care if it’s picketing or marching or sitting-in or what, I’m ready to do it,” Rivers said to a Times reporter at the protest in 1963.

When we look at successful protests, the Hollywood ending does not seem to  happen until years after. This is because it is not the protest that causes change, but the lawmakers who are working behind the scenes. Protests influence citizens to push legislators to begin working for a certain cause, but without lawmakers nothing gets done. In 1913, women gathered to march in support of women’s rights and the right to vote. Although initially they did not make an impact, women were granted the right to vote seven years later. The demonstrations, now referred to as the Women’s Suffrage Parade of the 1913, sparked a series of political movements that later caused the government to change their previous views. Assuming that our situation is similar to theirs, the Women’s March hopefully started an idea in the government and gathered the popular support that will ultimately lead to achieving the end goal of equality.

While seen as an initial failure due to them not completing their goal, the Occupy Wall Street protest in 2007 created a movement that we still see today. Protests build up morale and energy to rally behind a cause, and once the numbers build and they get more exposure, the greater impact they make. Many can trace the energy from the 2007 marches to the supporting of Bernie Sanders. We saw this during the presidential election. It included social media advertising before the event took place, gathering more numbers like the Women’s March today.

Initial results of global movements may not have immediate change, but they slowly build and the movement grows, encouraging more people into following the popular mass. Especially since the Women’s March had a national turnout, that should help convince leaders to make a difference and support the cause. Protests are beneficial because they unite a group or large mass of people to show a certain stance on an issue that many individuals support. The larger the turnout and publicity, the more likely changes will be made.


Thoughts from a Journalist: The importance of news

By Jessa Glassman ’20
Spectrum Fake News Art
Graphic by Hannah Mittleman ’20

In an era where the media is tightening its grip on every consumer, journalism often gets jumbled up in its power, causing it to enter murky waters. The evolution of news is tremendous, starting with periodicals made by letterpress printers, going on to newspapers delivered by bicycles and all the way to broadcasting and websites updated hourly. We can even receive updates on news from anywhere in the world in minutes through a simple tweet. While this has many obvious advantages, it also has some unfortunate aspects.

When we get two sentence notifications that come right to our pockets, the value and need for print journalism is eliminated. It becomes too routine to just scan quick blurb summaries of news that we cannot bring ourselves to read physical copies of newspapers in their entirety or wait until Sunday to purchase one. Over the years, consumers have craved more condensed news that they can read on the go while sitting on the public bus, on the way to work or while waiting in line for a morning cup of coffee. For journalists everywhere, adapting to this new demand while still making a profit is extremely difficult.

Numbers in the journalism industry are smaller than many would think, and they are what have lead to its so-called “death”. We have moved into an age that focuses entirely on internet presence, and while we might be saving trees, there are not many other benefits to this transition.

The growth of online news and media has led to many issues involving consumers’ suspicions. When news stations align with a certain political party or when they target a specific political audience, questions regarding the credibility and the objectivity of their content are raised. This issue has received more publicity than before because of the politically charged times and recent election controversy. Claims of fake news have been seen significantly more than ever before.

As a journalist, it is my job to report the news in the most objective way possible so that I can deliver my audience the facts without my own personal take on them. It is immensely important to acknowledge the fact that the ethics of journalism have been called into question, not only for problems involving incorrect reporting, but also sensationalism and writing stories for profit. Certain news channels, papers and websites often cover stories that will grant them the largest audience and not the stories that are most relevant or that need to be written. This is apparent when we see articles about celebrities closer to the cover than articles about real world issues. News stations also can exaggerate facts, make assumptions and blow things out of proportion. For instance, creating a front page story with a headline that talks about a divorce rumor or an abuse claim that is not based on evidence. This yellow journalism is problematic because newspapers and news sources evolve into something that they should not be.

As someone who works on a newspaper full of writers who are passionate about journalism, it is imperative to recognize the problems that the journalism industry is currently facing. Training writers who can reflect favorable journalistic ethics and who can also adapt to their audience is important so that we can carry on the profession. Reinforcing the momentousness of newspapers, magazines or anything else that falls under this category is our job, as we are their future. Even despite this, good training and learning how to satisfy consumers while making a profit and while still appealing to the ethical toolkit is of the utmost importance and needs to be taught and reinforced so that journalism can continue.

School should not be a Marketplace

By Caitlin Chung ’20 and Anusha Mathur ’20
Reselling Cartoon AWU
Illustration by Astor Wu ’20

Buy for five dollars, sell for ten. At first, it seems like a smart idea. It seems like an easy way to make money and give someone something they want. As Girl Scouts began to sell cookies this spring, several issues involving both selling and reselling goods arose in the school community. Should students be able to sell items at school without facing consequences, or should it be banned completely?

As outlined in the MS Student/Parent Handbook, “selling of items for any reason” is prohibited. However, “students who wish to sell items for charitable purposes must apply for permission from HW-Give.” Although Girl Scouts qualifies as a charitable organization, none of the students selling cookies on campus have asked for permission from HW-Give. In addition, some students have been selling other goods such as shoes and different types of apparel for their own benefit. This has led to discussion among the middle school deans, who have not yet reached a conclusion about how the school community should handle the issue.

Even though selling goods such as cookies is technically a violation of the school code of conduct, the administration said it wants to be able to support its students in their extracurricular activities. Because Girl Scouts is an organization which is involved in building leadership in young girls, and the money earned from selling Girl Scout cookies supports good causes, selling Girl Scout cookies should be an exception to this rule. However, the line must be drawn at reselling Girl Scout cookies for a higher price by people who are not Girl Scouts and reselling other goods for personal benefit.

The administration is clear that reselling goods for a higher price constitutes a violation of school rules and will not be tolerated. Even though many students might interpret this act of entrepreneurship as being smart, it is explicitly banned. While the profits earned from selling things such as Girl Scout cookies goes to the Girl Scout organization, which is involved in empowering women, the profits earned from individual sales such as shoes, other apparel and goods solely benefit the seller. By allowing students to engage in these types of activities at school, we are fueling a self-serving mindset.

So why are kids reselling items for an inflated price? It seems like an easy way to make money. However, what students often do not consider are the repercussions it has on others. It is upsetting for the person they bought the good from because the original intention of selling it was certainly not for it to be resold. Additionally, in the case of Girl Scout cookies, the Girl Scouts who were selling cookies at school were very upset that students were taking advantage of their efforts to promote the Girl Scouts organization and that the money earned from the later sales were not going to the right place.

Reselling cookies can also have adverse effects on the person buying the product, because they have bought the good for an unfair price. Many times, students are unaware that they were even buying the good for a higher than normal price. In that case, reselling the cookies is actually dishonest and would constitute an Honor Code violation.

This is not to say that reselling goods to other people is always bad. In the real world, reselling of goods for a higher price happens often. For example, retail stores sell goods for a price that is marked up. However, students should not be conducting such transactions at school. Doing this promotes an environment where students take advantage of others for their own personal interests.

It is important to support students participating in organizations such as Girl Scouts, because it is directly involved in empowering leadership in young girls, but pursuing one’s own ends at the expense of other people or a good organization only creates a sense of distrust within the community.