CHCCS School to Prison Pipeline

What comes to mind when you hear the words ‘school-to-prison-pipeline?’ Education, teachers, the justice system or America? Some could probably guess as to what it is, but many people don’t know the denotation of the phrase, never mind how it affects students in our district.

The term school-to-prison-pipeline was coined in the 1990s when “zero tolerance” was beginning to be a part of the chain that led students of color into jail or prison. This idea refers to practices like a zero tolerance for fighting, zero tolerance for insubordi- nation or zero tolerance for vandalism.

This practice creates policies that push students of color specifically into the juvenile justice system. When students were found guilty of infractions like these, they were automatically suspended. Typically, black students were suspended for more non provable offenses like insubordination, while white students would only be suspended for probable offenses.

This became a nation-wide issue, and over the past years, different schools have begun to create new policies to reverse the problem. Some schools are taking away zero tolerance and putting in restorative justice practices some schools are creating equity teams, and students are beginning to create clubs and organizations to help solve the issue.

Restorative justice is a form of talking about a conflict or incident with all the parties involved in order to discuss why the event happened and how to prevent it in the future.

Mintzy Paige, chair of the Equity Team at Carrboro High, believes that restorative justice can be a good practice if the moderator leads the session well.

In Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools, the term ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ has been used more often in the past five years. According to the Daily Tar Heel, in the 2015-2016 school year, black students were ten times more likely to get suspend- ed than white students for short-term suspensions. Following these alarmingly-high numbers, people across the boards started
to address the root of the issue, especially as the numbers continue to grow.

One of the main groups that is beginning to play a larger role and get more attention is the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN). This group is a national organization formed in districts with high achievement gaps to create coalitions of students who work to eliminate racial disparities in their districts. Within CHCCS, Lorie Clark and Sheldon Lanier serve as advisors for this organization, which consists of over 20 students. The work of MSAN over past years consisted of trying to eliminate the school-to-prison pipeline through restructuring the student code of conduct.

Stephanie Lopez, senior at CHS and member of MSAN, believes that the work of MSAN is transforming the fu- ture for the district.

“Our main goal is to restructure the code of conduct; it’s not fair for students of color to be disproportionately affected. The voice should come from the students,” said Lopez.

Even with all of the groups, teams and organizations, there is still a lot of work to be done. This includes starting with the education of others about what the pipeline is and whom it effects. A decrease in the school-to-prison pipeline can have positive effects on the achievement gap and the environment of a school.

Illustration by Ryx Zan

Cost of CHCCS

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are among the most prestigious public schools in all of North Carolina. Accompanying the high praise is a high price tag.

Over the last decade, schools have increasingly moved away from traditional forms of teaching and moved towards technology-based teaching; this has brought, in turn, an increase in the cost of attending public school. Since a large portion of teaching is done via technology, the majority of modern-day homework is assigned online. This requires students to have internet access and a computer or some sort of mobile device at home. While the cost burden of internet and mobile devices differs from family to family, there is no denying that it is an added expense which previous decades of public school students did not have to consider.

The costs of standardized aptitude tests, such as the ACT and SAT, are also steadily increasing. While both cost somewhere between $40 and $50, most students take them multiple times in order to ensure they are submitting the best score possible to universities — which means students who can only afford to take these tests once are often at a disadvantage. There are also external factors to consider such as SAT and ACT prep, which range in price from $95 to $200 per hour, again putting students who cannot afford these preparations at a disadvantage.

The American education system invests nearly $1.7 billion in standardized testing annually, yet students are still paying an average of $650 for school supplies over the course of a given school year, and college tuition is constantly increasing. These are all examples of how personal gain is prioritized over collective success.

Although public schools are marketed as a form of “free” education, the more advanced education becomes, the less free it really is. The divide between well-funded schools and under-funded schools is constantly increasing; where the former is able to provide students with more institutionalized assistance, the latter struggles to provide students with the most basic forms of support.

Is Chivalry Dead?

Chivalry is dead, or so we often hear. Chivalry originated in the medieval times as a way to differentiate the knights from the common folk in society. Today, the definition and applications of chivalry have drastically changed, leaving CHS students to wonder if chivalry is still alive.

Kimeran Kimble, CHS sophomore, believes that chivalry is still alive, but “it’s just a lot different.”

Since we no longer have knights fighting for their Christian values within the feudal system, the definition of chivalry has been narrowed down to only include basic courteous behaviors and has become a recommended code for men.

Today, the most common place to see chivalrous behavior is between romantic partners — yet it’s not even found in every relationship.

Kimble thinks that you see a lot more examples of non-chivalrous behavior these days, but, every now and then, you do see people honor chivalry by giving flowers or gifts to another. Furthermore, she thinks that chivalry has changed from proper manners to gift giving because of the materialistic focus of modern society.

In medieval society, the feudal system created a rigid structure that determined people’s place in society; this contrasts with modern society where we have the power to determine our place. The development of capitalism has placed emphasis on the importance of making money that you can then use to buy status symbols. By giving gifts to people, you are presenting them with a just that — symbol of your status.

The increased social mobility has brought in more room for competition within our society to pass our peers on the social hierarchy by having more materialistic demonstrations of wealth and prosperity. This makes it evident that the structure of society is built off a foundation of materialism.

Chivalry has continued to evolve through the feminist movement. The feminist movement allowed women to voice their opinions, and some women shared that what traditional chivalry classified as manners, such as holding the door open, can be more patronizing than endearing. Some say, chivalry should be less about protecting women and more about supporting women. Chivalrous behavior should be used to show respect and caring and not be used as an assertion of male power and superiority.

Although the meaning of chivalry has changed over time, there have been various efforts to keep it alive. Couples express acts of thoughtfulness for each other on Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and throughout everyday life. The connections between people — especially love for each other — has kept chivalry alive to this day. Chivalry is an important part of our society and one that is vital to preserve.

Illustration by Ryx Zan

CHS Swimming takes on States

On February 9, the Carrboro swim team went to NCHSAA State Championships. Swimmers who placed in the top twelve of their events at regionals qualified to swim in states. The meet took place at Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary, stretching from 7 AM to 8 PM.

There were many exciting races for both the girls and boys. Overall, in their respective races, the boys placed ninth, and the girls placed fourth. However the girls especially excelled in their events.

There were a few girls, Paloma Baca and Anneliese Merry, who placed within the top three of their races and earned a medal. As the lively day of racing came to a close, the highlight of the night began: the final race of the day was the 400 Freestyle Relay.

The Carrboro girls were seated second overall against fierce opponents. The swimmers in the relay, Paloma, Audrey Costley and Eliot Hunsberger, held their own throughout the race, switching between second and third.

As the race was coming to an end, Anneliese Merry, who was at the last swimmer of the relay,dived in and caught up to those in the lead.On the last lap, Carrboro and their competitor, Pine Lake Prep, were neck and neck. As they swam, the screaming and shouting was so loud that one couldn’t hear themselves think. Both swimmers touched the wall, but no one could tell who touched first.

Everyone looked to the board and showed Carrboro beating Pine Lake Prep by 0.04 seconds. Every Carrboro swimmer jumped and cheered. With a win under the belts, the Carrboro Swim Team knew that they succeeded.

How Many Valen-times Must I Buy You Chocolate?

For me, Valentine’s day is the day I don’t get any Singing Grams, but in all fairness, it’s more fun to sit back and watch others get sung to anyways.

My problem with Valentine’s Day is that, for as long as I can remember, I have always felt a societal pressure to buy stuff for someone else, even if it’s something small, like a small box of candies. It’s gotten to the point where Walmart has its own guide on what gifts to buy based on the stage of one’s relationship.

Nowadays, Valentine’s Day celebrations miss the point of the holiday. If you’re meant to celebrate loved ones and friends, why have we settled on buying each other cards with clichéd text and candies attached?

More than likely, it’s because showing up without candy made you look bad. One of my worst memories from elementary schools was not getting a lollipop card combo from a kid I thought was my friend. I may have cried a bit.

Behind the seemingly innocent celebration lie advertisers trying to take advantage of the holiday to sell their company’s goods. I can’t say I blame marketers for doing their jobs, but these practices do conflict with the holiday’s spirit.

However, is Valentine’s Day the only holiday to blame? Most others are on a completely different level of sales-based propaganda. Christmas, for example, has become so commercially oversaturated store chains adorn their aisles with the typical shiny string and tree ornaments before Thanksgiving. Not to mention the Holiday “sales” where the seller drastically increases the price of their goods only then to return them to original price and claim a price reduction.

Valentine’s Day gets a bad rep because people see that it isn’t the innocent holiday from their childhoods, but just something one has to deal with in general in our commercially driven society.

Though at first it may feel like an evil force designed to make you spend money, I’ve come to realize it doesn’t differ from anything else sold or traded in life. I try enjoy the holiday and try not to think about marketers or sales and such.

What to do on Valentine’s Day if you’re single

When Valentine’s Day rolls around, people usually take one of two paths. People in relationships tend to use the holiday as a way to express their affections towards their significant others. But those who are more romantically-challenged (single people, for example) often find themselves feeling lonely, apathetic or indifferent to the mushy, lovey-dovey day. Here are some ways to turn Valentine’s Day from a card-giving, chocolate-eating, lonely-feeling, pink-and-red mess, into a special day to appreciate yourself and your loved ones.

Show your pets some love. Walk your dog! Play with your cat! Pets will be there for you no matter what while significant others will come and go and are virtually useless. Pets deserve love too.

Take a personal day. Read a good book to forget you aren’t in a supportive romantic relationship, or take a bubble bath to relax from all of your stress. Treat yo’ self!

Hang out with friends. Friends are great, and you can even give them valentines without the fear of emotions messing anything up (like in a relationship).

Sleep all day. Think about it: if you sleep the day away, it’s like Valentine’s Day never happened. Bonus: you get beauty sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed and invigorated, which can be rare.

Go do a cool activity. Go for a hike, paint a picture, go to Frankie’s, hit up ice-skating or watch a movie at home. All of these activities are fun, need only one person and keep your mind off of Valentine’s Day!

Sequester yourself. Watching Netflix all day by yourself or playing angsty, unromantic music will definitely keep you occupied, and you won’t have to see anyone you don’t want to. Win-win, for sure.

Treat it like any other day. All jokes aside, Valentine’s Day is just another regular day, whether you are single or not. You don’t have to jump up with joy to celebrate it, but you also don’t have to be the Scrooge of love. Just be yourself, do your own thing and remember that you’ll have 364 days until it comes around again.

Illustration by Ryx Zan

The best (and worst) romantic movies of 2017

Beauty and the Beast

March

3/5

The remake of Beauty and the Beast showcases lovely songs and a magical setting. That being said, I did not enjoy much else about this movie. Call me crazy, but I think it’s plain weird that Belle (played by Emma Watson) falls in love with the man — animal? — who kidnaps her father and then holds her hostage in exchange for his release. Stockholm Syndrome, much? If you liked the original Beauty and the Beast you’ll probably like this film too. It’s just not my singing cup of tea.

The Big Sick

June

5/5  

The Big Sick is a rom-com inspired by a true story, and it was written by its two main characters! Kumail Nanjiani plays himself as he falls in love with his wife, Emily Gordon. Nanjiani and Gordon’s relationship is strained by Nanjiani’s family’s desire for him to have an arranged marriage, and further complicated when Gordon is suddenly hospitalized and put into a medically-induced coma. Overall, The Big Sick strikes a perfect balance between funny and poignant.

Home Again

September

2/5

This movie should be renamed Everybody is in Love with Alice, and who can blame them? Reese Witherspoon plays Alice, a recently-single mom with the heart and face of an angel. Alice, 40, falls for 27-year-old aspiring director Harry while he and his other 20-something friends crash in her guest house. It’s about as awkward as it sounds. Besides lacking a believable storyline, Home Again glosses over the complications of divorce. The film also includes a pointless conflict between Harry and his friends that left me questioning the maturity of the group: the opposite of the film’s intent.  

The Mountain Between Us  

October

1/5

Yikes. Who knew a movie could be so depressing yet so cheesy? The Mountain Between Us takes the “damsel in distress” trope to new heights — literally and figuratively. Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) and Ben Bass (Idris Elba) meet for the first time when their commuter plane crash-lands in the Rocky Mountains. They spend the course of the movie slowly hiking to safety, and I guess falling in love. In reality, The Mountain Between Us consists mostly of scenes of Alex shivering by a fire and Ben — a practicing neurosurgeon — feeding her soup or tending to her wounds. Winslet and Elba did their best, but they couldn’t save a movie with a strange plot and an even more awkward script.

Breathe  

October

5/5

I don’t often cry at movies, but Breathe is the definition of a tear-jerker. It follow the true story of Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield), a 28-year-old British man paralyzed from the neck down by polio in the mid 1960s. Instead of spending his life in a hospital, Robin chooses to live at home with his family eventually travel the world, largely thanks to help from his wife Diana (Claire Foy). Foy and Garfield are both marvelous, and Breathe is a bitter-sweet tale about the beauty and fragility of life.

 

Call Me by Your Name

November

5/5

If like slow movies, you’ll love Call Me by Your Name. Set in an idyllic town in the north of Italy, the movie follows the first love of 17 year-old Elio Perlman. Though I found Elio’s love interest Oliver (Armie Hammer) a little antagonistic, the story is does a great job detailing Elio’s pain and joy as he come to terms with his sexuality and learns more about his place in the world.    

Dance Marathon 2018: dancing for the kids

For six hours every year, the CHCCS district holds a mini-marathon supported by Carolina For The Kids. This year, the marathon will be on February 17 at East Chapel Hill High School.

The mission of these dance marathons is to “unite the university, community and state in fostering emotional and financial support that improves the quality of life for the patients and families of N.C. Children’s Hospital.”

The first dance marathon at UNC took place in February 1999, with around 75 participants who raised $40,000 for the North Carolina Children’s Hospital. It has since raised $3.3 million for the hospital.

Connie Mendoza and Claire Murashima, students from East Chapel Hill High School, presented the idea of a mini-marathon to student government three years ago. Mendoza participated in dance marathons at her old school and was interested in bringing the idea to the CHCCS district.

Three years later, the connection between the district and Carolina For The Kids still stands strong.

The third dance marathon includes some new additions to the six-hour night. It will include a moment called “Pause for the Cause” where children from UNC Children’s Hospital talk to students for a few minutes.

“It’s just a way to keep people encouraged and stay on message because the whole point of the night is to show solidarity with those kids at the hospital,” said Eleanor Murray, current East Chapel Hill High School President.

Another addition includes applications for morale captains: students elected to keep others spirits up throughout the night. In previous years, morale captains were chosen by SGA. This year, 43 students applied to be morale captains of whom 16 received spots.

To raise money for the night, SGA contacts local businesses for any donations such as food or raffle prizes. This year, Freddy’s is donating a custard bar for free because 36 years ago, the current owner met his wife at a dance marathon. It’s moments like these that unite the Chapel Hill/Carrboro community and keep the message of Carolina For The Kids going strong.

Dance Marathon will be on February 17 at East Chapel Hill High School. Doors open at 5:00. Tickets are currently 35 dollars and can be purchased at your school.

Photo courtesy Vincent Chen

There are only two guarantees in life: debates and tax bills

This Thursday, February 1, starting at A lunch, Debate Club met again to discuss the issue of taxes, and primarily how the recent GOP tax bill will either benefit or hurt Americans.

Opponents of the bill brought up points such as how, in contrast to what President Donald Trump has promised, the bill won’t help the middle and working classes in the long term. Others mentioned the part of the bill that allows drilling for natural resources in Alaska, and the worrying aspect that this has little to do with taxes. Further still was the issue around how the bill was passed.

A big aspect of the debate was whether the bill affects different political parties, social classes, or all Americans in general. According to some, the majority of citizens wouldn’t be receiving tax cuts within the next decade.

“This bill was targeted specifically at democratic communities, and I think it’s important that when senators and representatives are drafting bills, they should take into consideration the needs of all the American people,” said Paloma Baca, CHS junior and opponent of the bill.

The GOP tax bill, which was pushed by Senator Mitch McConnell and passed through the Senate and the House, is trying to promote economic growth. The bill will make long term cuts to corporate income taxes, and short term cuts to individual taxes. Main components of the bill also include only four tax brackets instead of the previous seven, while the amount of income that would be taxed will decrease.

Proponents of the bill wanted to focus on the effects of the bill rather than how it was passed. Many cited the idea of trickle down economics: decreasing taxation for large companies will allow them to stimulate the economy and effectively create jobs, which therefore increases spending in the community. They maintained that the bill was trying to promote prosperity within the economy.

“I thought the debate went well; it was a lot more civilized this time,” said Andrew Stewart, junior.

Debate Club leader Jonah Perrin, senior, has made some changes to make the debates run more smoothly. Whereas before participants would raise their hands and jump in when called on, Perrin now intends to make a list of everyone who wants to bring up a point at the start of the debate. Those people will get the chance to speak, and people who want to rebut statements can raise their hands as well during the argument. Perrin aims to make the club more formal in order to have a more reasonable flow of debate, and stay on topic.

Future debates will be held in room E216, Thursdays beginning at A lunch, unless otherwise posted. Feel free to contact Jonah Perrin to join the email list for the club, or about debate topics for coming meetings.

Photo by Olivia Weigle