Climate Change Crisis Still Concerns Students

by Cadence Gutman, staff writer

SEPTEMBER 2022 — The Federal government of the United States officially began to take an active role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by passing the Inflation Reduction Act Aug. 16. Although there have been previous attempts to combat the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, none have ever been this aggressive.

In its entirety, the Inflation Reduction Act intends to lower the costs of prescription drugs, health care, and energy. According to a statement made by the White House, President Joe Biden’s promises to take “aggressive action” to tackle climate change.

“Climate report shows that unless there are immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, 1.5°C is beyond reach. However, there are options available now in all sectors to halve emissions by 2030,” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrote. Photo obtained from the International Panel on Climate Change’s Instagram @ipcc.

The section of the bill regarding energy aims to modify and extend tax credits for producing electricity from renewable resources, specifically for wind, biomass, geothermal, solar, and hydropower through 2024. The bill targets larger, wealthier companies that actively put carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

Analyzing the bill, Bio-Med Science Academy 10th-grade integrated mathematics instructor Melissa Cairns said, “I think that if those companies were being forced to meet those marks, then yeah, it could totally work. But you know the problem is that they keep trying to shift the blame to us, like we’re not recycling or composting, but the real criminals are industry farming and manufacturing, so if we could rein them in, that could definitely make a difference.”

Cairns has worried immensely about the lack of knowledge surrounding climate change, especially among students. “Education is like our first line of defense. It has to be spoken about in education, but there are also all these bills trying to be passed that tell teachers what they can and can’t speak about, and they turn things that aren’t political agendas into political agendas.”

Cairns plans to host a course about climate change during Bio-Med’s accelerated term, where teachers are able to offer courses that count towards students’ elective credits. Accelerated term begins after Thanksgiving break and concludes at the start of winter break.

Arguments regarding climate change have affected the amount of knowledge many students have today.

Junior Katherine Lennox shared her perspective on climate change.

“I know that solar panels are good, and I would like to believe that recycling helps, but I don’t know what it has to do with climate change,” Lennox said.

“I think any progress is progress though, right?” remarked Catherine Panchyshyn, the 10th-grade science instructor at Bio-Med Science Academy. “I think it’s good that this information is being taught more in school. I know when I was younger, I think a lot more people thought [climate change] was a hoax or something that we would never see in our lifetime. I think since a large majority of people do know what’s going on, I’m not as [concerned].”

Electric cars are built to function by connecting to a charging point and taking electricity from the grid, and they store electricity in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Photo obtained from autoevelution.com.

Panchyshyn continued, “I feel like I should be more [concerned], knowing the data…. It’s one of those things that you tend to blackout of your mind. I think being in Ohio, we are a little luckier, because we don’t have severe weather, while people in Florida are going to feel it a lot more.”

Bio-Med sophomore Nami Miller worried, “I think that I’m concerned enough [regarding climate change], but I definitely think that there are other people, especially people who still don’t believe climate change is a thing, that should be more concerned. Because it’s real, and it’s really bad.”

Cairns talked about her extreme concern with climate change in the U.S. 

“I mean we [the U.S.] are definitely one of the biggest problems when it comes to [climate change].”

Part of the movement against climate change has involved the introduction of electric cars into the general public. Electric vehicles are designed to emit fewer greenhouse gasses and air pollutants than petrol or diesel cars.

Miller expressed, “My family has an electric car, and it’s amazing. You know, even taking the lithium batteries into consideration, it’s still better for the environment when compared to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that regular cars put into the air.”

While lithium batteries are often thought to be an essential part of the future with fewer carbon emissions in the atmosphere, they can be harmful towards people and the environment. Lithium batteries contain potentially toxic nickel, copper and lead materials. Used batteries that are stored improperly and uncontrolled can become explosive, and possibly turn into an environmental disaster.

Electric vehicles may be the start, but the movement has pushed further.

The infographic above describes the several effects of climate change on the environment and society around the world. Photo obtained from Globalchange.gov.

Along with China and Russia, the U.S. has been responsible for a majority of the global greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution. While the U.S. only accounts for 4.25% of the total population of the world, they have been responsible for 30% of global energy use and 28% of carbon emissions, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI)

Cairns explained, “Our lifestyle since the industrial revolution has put a lot of carbon dioxide and a lot of methane gas into the atmosphere, and some of that is necessary to keep the planet from freezing.” She later countered, “But we’ve doubled the amount that we should have in the atmosphere. So it’s kind of like a snowball effect on the entire planet.”

Transportation was most recently one of the main sources of greenhouse gasses, taking up 27% of total emissions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, between March and Dec. 2020, there was a dip in the level of gasses being produced by 4.6% due to the declining use of public transportation. However, between Jan. 2021 and Aug. 2022, greenhouse gas emissions have rebounded by 6.4%.  

Other offenders contributing to the total emissions include industry development at 24% and electric power at 25%.

Cairns explained where her concern currently lies.

“At this point it’s not just about saving the planet, but also saving ourselves.” She concluded, “The planet will be fine with us completely wiped out probably even better but it’s about saving our future generations. It’s not just about you, it’s about future generations after us, and how we are going to set them up to be successful.”

General Interest STEM

Ohio’s New Graduation Requirements Take Effect This Year

by Avery Miller, staff writer

SEPTEMBER 2022 — Ohio’s new graduation requirements for the class of 2023 and beyond allow students a more customized high school experience through earning seals on their diplomas. The seals allow students to show proof of proficiency in various areas and are earned by meeting the state or locally defined requirements.

“Students need two seals to graduate. One of them has to be a state defined seal, and the other one can be a state or locally defined seal,” explained Jacquelyn Collins, the school counselor for grades 10-12 at Bio-Med Science Academy.

Pictured above is each of the twelve seals and what they look like. Photo compiled from the Ohio Department of Education website.

Students get to choose which seals to pursue. It is possible for a high school student to earn all twelve seals on their diploma as long as they take one of the required routes, which could include earning a score of proficient or higher on end-of-course exams, earning a B or higher in a CCP class, or earning at least proficient on Advanced Placement exams. At this point in time, students can only earn seven seals through Bio-Med, all of which are state seals.

The local seals have not yet been defined by Bio-Med or approved by the board. These seals are the Community Service, the Student Engagement, and the Fine and Performing Arts seals. Collins said she does not know when information on the locally defined seals will be released.

Once they are decided, Collins said, “[The requirements] will definitely be located in a place where everyone will be able to access [them], including parents.”

In an Aug. 25 interview, Graham Wood, the Graduation and College in High School Administrator from the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Graduate Success, said that he encouraged districts to define their seals: “We hope that schools have [their local seals] established at this point. The information has been available to them since July 2019. Though COVID has caused some schools to fall behind, most schools have established [local seals].”

Even if local seals aren’t defined, state seals are well within students’ reach.

Wood said, “Schools may not offer all state seals, since not all courses are available in different schools, but if a student does the work to earn a seal, then a school is required to award it to them.”

One example of this is foreign language at Bio-Med. Though Bio-Med does not offer any in-house foreign language courses, if a student does the work to earn the seal of Biliteracy on their diploma, Bio-Med, as well as any other school, can reach out to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages to gain access to the assessment they need, so students who’ve learned a foreign language can be awarded the seal.

“Students can also use CCP classes to help earn seals their school doesn’t offer curriculum for,” Wood added. “There’s a number of possibilities for students to earn these seals. I think that students should know their options and what’s out there. Students should explore the best thing for them.”

Without taking CCP classes, Bio-Med students still have the ability to earn other seals, like the Citizenship seal, the College-Ready seal, the Technology seal, and the Honors Diploma.

According to Wood, “schools can create their own coursework that still proves students meet state standards and should be awarded the [technology] seal.”

Since Bio-Med’s technology classes fit those requirements, graduating at Bio-Med ensures students earn the state defined technology seal. Currently, 100% of seniors have received the technology seal on their diploma and 97% have earned the science seal. The remaining 3% of seniors will be responsible for earning an alternative second seal to meet graduation requirements.

Above is a table that lists each seal, state and locally defined. The chart also details the requirements students would have to meet to earn each state seal. More information can be found on the Ohio Department of Education’s official website. The Ohio Department of Education is also working on another resource, Unlock Your Future, containing information on graduation in more student friendly terms which should be available this September. Photo provided by the Ohio Department of Education.

Wood noted this ability to customize curriculum as a benefit to the seals.

“The more students can tailor their high school experience, the better off they’ll be for their future, whatever they choose to do,” he said.

Tessa Wood, a senior at Bio-Med, shared her concerns about the seals, saying, “I think the seals mean making a degree harder to obtain.”

Tessa was glad she met the new requirements, since she graduates this year and wasn’t aware anything had changed. 

“Prior to looking them up, I had no idea that was a thing. I thought I just had to have certain scores on certain tests as long as [I recieved] my required credits.”

Andrew Roshong, a junior at Bio-Med, had a similar experience.

“I overheard about [the seals] and did my own research on the Ohio Department of Education website. I understand that [the seals] are requirements for graduating in the state of Ohio, but I’m not sure about much else,” he said.

Roshong expressed concern regarding the lack of information, saying, “I’m not sure that adding another graduation requirement to the state is the best idea, especially when we are not told very much about them. I had to learn about this very important topic through the grapevine rather than through official channels. It is unsettling to say the least. What other vital info could we, as students, be missing? I would like some better communication with the administration about this topic, and for them to address this, and other, issues.”

Emma Brown, a junior at Kent Roosevelt High School, explained that her school communicated the new requirements last year.

“We’ve met with our guidance counselor already. Yeah, we aren’t graduating until next year, but I’m glad we had the meeting. It was kind of nerve racking to have new things I have to earn, but I’m glad I know about them in advance, so I can fix my schedule next year to classes that would help me get certain seals so that graduation isn’t a problem,” Brown said.

Kent Roosevelt defined their local seals and put their state seals into more student-friendly terms on a document that their students have had access to since Jan. 12.

Brown continued, “I’m glad we have the document. I like being able to see my options, so that I can choose classes with graduation requirements in my mind instead of just choosing classes and hoping they meet the requirements for two different seals. Especially the state seals — those seem a lot more difficult to earn. I feel like I actively have to try to earn them.”

Graham Wood thinks that students should “utilize their counselors” to find out information about the graduation seals.

Collins will be meeting with seniors mid-September to speak with them about credits, graduation pathway, diploma seals, and honor diplomas.

Graham Wood concluded, “The diploma with seals will have students tackle more for skill building which should help them see through graduation and identify more opportunities.”

Bio-Med General Interest

Congress Summer Laws In Review

by Jesse Mitchell, staff writer

SEPTEMBER 2022 — Extensive pieces of legislation were passed this summer by the 117th Congress, as the most recent wave of legislation makes its way to President Joe Biden’s desk. Everything from climate change, tax reform, healthcare cost reductions, gun safety, background checks, and semiconductor manufacturing have received significant advances thanks to three bills now made into law. The total projected combined spendings of these bills is more than $700 billion over the next seven years, with a $400 billion reduction to the government’s budget.

“Congress is showing that we can, in fact, work together across the aisle to pass meaningful legislation that will save lives,”said Cleveland Area Representative Shontel Brown in a press release. She spoke not only to the heart of the Safer Communities Act, but also to all of the work done by Congress this summer.

Photo of the U.S. Capitol Building, where members of Congress meet to discuss legislation. Photo by Logan Cook, staff writer

The Inflation Reduction Act

        Climate Change Spending

The last bill passed this summer was The Inflation Reduction Act, which narrowly passed the Senate by a 51-50 vote, and made it to the president’s desk Aug. 16. The bill included historical provisions for the healthcare and climate industries in an attempt to create long and short-term investments in the country’s economic system to stabilize the rising costs of inflation.

Senate Democrats put out a statement that hailed this new legislation as, “the single biggest climate investment in U.S. history, by far” as the bill saw a roughly $386 billion investment into energy and climate policy.

This included everything from new investments into U.S. clean energy generation, provisions to clean up pollution in disadvantaged communities, and tax cuts for electric vehicles and energy-efficient technology and appliances.

The bill established a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030. This is in line with Paris Climate Accords, which has the ultimate goal of net zero emission by 2050.

        Medicare Expansion

Medicare also saw some significant changes from the bill that would allow the federal government to expand upon the program. Changes include reducing the budget deficit by $300 billion while also putting money back into the hands of the American people. This would be done through free vaccinations for seniors, a reduction down to $35 a month insulin costs, and new out-of-pocket drug expense caps at $2000 by the year 2025.

Along with the changes to Medicare was an expansion of its ability to negotiate prescription drug prices. This would allow for high-cost drugs to be sold to medicare recipients for a cheaper price. The White House believes this change could affect over 5 million people and would allow the government more control in terms of long-term Medicare spending.

        Tax Expansions 

In addition to The Inflation Reduction Act, Congress also introduced an amendment to tax reform that targets the wealthiest Americans and corporations making more than $1 billion annually and who don’t pay at least a 15% tax rate.

There’s also a new 1% fee on stock buybacks that would apply to any publicly-traded corporations. These changes make this bill a long-term revenue generator, with Congress already set to increase funding to the IRS to track down the tax loopholes.

Many democrats have seen this bill as a win in terms of the sweeping provisions for climate change alone.

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Kathy Castor (D-FL) took to Twitter on the signing of the bill, writing, “It’s a Big Climate Deal!”

Many congresspeople are proud of the steps this bill has taken towards funding these often overlooked areas of policy.

However, some in Congress disagree with the bill.

“As currently written, this is an extremely modest piece of legislation that does virtually nothing to address the enormous crises that working families all across this country are facing today,” said Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders from the floor of the Senate Chambers.

The bill falls short for many, as all the provisions in it don’t address short term issues and don’t directly affect current inflation problems in the country.

CHIPS and Science Act

Another bill that was more universally supported by both sides of the aisle was the popularly named CHIPS and Science Act. This bill was signed into law in early August.

The bill approved some $52.7 billion in incentives and was created to combat a massive semiconductor shortage the United States has seen due to supply chain issues with China from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money would go towards creating incentives for companies to build new chip manufacturing locations across the United States. It would also go towards research and development in the technology sector, and workforce training to get Americans into the newly created positions. This is projected to open up 90,000 new jobs in this sector by 2025.

The bill would provide $39 billion, specifically for the manufacturing industry to build new production and research locations across the U.S.

The White House announced, following the bill’s passing, that it would create an interagency group to work with state and local governments and private sector companies. The group would implement projects supported by the bill, with the goal of developing 20 new regional technology hubs across the country in areas that aren’t leading technology centers.

The bill also looked at expanding workforce education concerning technology and science, aiming to create more qualified, prepared workers. This included an $81 billion investment in all aspects of the education system, including funding and research into pre-K through 12 systems to see how education can be improved. It also includes added provisions for the National Science Foundation to support research into STEM teaching in rural schools to improve student participation and advancement in STEM.

Photo of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. The Supreme Court is part of the Department of Justice, which received funding under the Safer Communities Act for intervention and outreach programs. Photo by Logan Cook, staff writer

The Safer Communities Act

Earlier this summer, Congress created the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a bill that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi described as, “advanced legislation for the first time in three decades.”

Over $13 billion in federal funding was designated in the bill to expand upon safety and health initiatives in every state, bolster in-school mental health resources, provide additional mental health training to physicians and first responders, and ensure improved safety development across all of America’s communities. This will make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands.

The bill targets a highly criticized “boyfriend” loophole in domestic assault cases. The bill made it so now convicted domestic abusers in dating relationships are added to the criminal background check system, along with enhanced background checks to look into the juvenile and mental health records for anyone under the age of 21.

This ensures more time and consideration is put into the process of purchasing a firearm.

Along with this, came the creation of new federal offenses to tackle straw purchasing (purchasing weapons for people prohibited from doing so) and gun trafficking. This addressed an often overlooked part of gun reform and is a change many in Congress were looking for, as the effects of gun violence grew over 2022.

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman commented on the bill in a press release, saying, “The Safer Communities Act takes common-sense steps to improve access to mental health, protect America’s children, improve school safety, and reduce the threat of gun violence across our country while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

This is a sentiment shared by many Republicans and Democrats alike in the capitol building.

President Joe Biden also commented on the bill in a speech at the White House, saying, “This bill is far from perfect. It’s a compromise. But it is — it’s often how progress is made: by compromises.”

He and many in the Democratic party are happy about being able to accomplish something for the American people, and the response from the public has been supportive and approving.

Biden gave his best regards to Congress’s busy summer and all of the funding and policy development that took place in the past three months.

“Making progress in a country as big and complicated as ours is not easy. It never has been. But with unwavering conviction, commitment, and patience, progress does come. These past few weeks have proven that,” he said.

General Interest Politics

The End of a Nearly 50-Year-Old Era: The Summer Without Roe v. Wade

By Ken Burchett, associate editor, and Alyssa Cocchiola, editor-in-chief

AUGUST 2022 — Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that considered abortion a right to privacy by the 14th Amendment, was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court by a 6-3 vote June 24. Following the decision, protests were held, legislation was enacted, and the legality of abortion was left in the hands of the individual U.S. states.

The Ohio Heartbeat Bill

Shortly after Roe’s overturn, Ohio SB 23, otherwise known as the heartbeat bill, was enacted. The bill declares that all abortion becomes illegal once a fetal heartbeat could be detected, which is usually around six weeks.

Pictured above is a map outlining the legality of abortion in the U.S. post-Roe. Image obtained from https://reproductiverights.org/maps/abortion-laws-by-state/.

Elizabeth Whitmarsh, the director of communications at Ohio Right to Life, a pro-life organization, explained how the heartbeat bill came into effect.

“So the heartbeat bill, it was passed in 2019. As soon as Governor Mike DeWine came into office, that was his campaign promise: he would sign the heartbeat bill as soon as it’s on his desk,” explained Whitmarsh. “That was one of the first things that he did as governor, and immediately, as soon as it got signed, a federal judge in Cincinnati…put an injunction on it, so it wasn’t able to go into effect.”

The injunction was enacted by Judge Michael Barrett by request of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

The Ohio law does not allow exceptions for rape or incest, only in cases of medical emergency.

Medical emergency is defined as “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman,” according to Ohio Revised Code 2919.16(F) & (K).

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the WilmerHale law firm, submitted a motion for an emergency stay of the ban, though the Ohio Supreme Court denied it. Denial of emergency stay means that abortion clinics cannot conduct abortions past six weeks while the case is ongoing.

“With the six-week ban in effect, most Ohioans are now unable to access abortion unless they can afford to travel hundreds of miles out of state, take time off work and arrange child care and transportation. At Planned Parenthood, we have the resources to support patients in getting the care they need and deserve, yet it comes at a cost,” CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio Iris Harvey said in a statement following the overturning of Roe.

On the Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio website, the group’s stance on the overturning was outlined.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure every person’s right to bodily autonomy is upheld. Our health centers have and will remain trusted health care partners for patients across Ohio. Planned Parenthood stands for care — without exception or condition,” it read.

Other organizations, like Ohio Right to Life, looked at the heartbeat bill in a positive light. The organization’s mission is to end all abortion in the state of Ohio. This mission sparks from the belief that a human life starts at conception and should be protected in the womb under any circumstances.  

“It is a huge sign of progress in the state of Ohio, because with the heartbeat, a heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks, which is a really short window of time for abortionists to perform an abortion. Most women find out they are pregnant anywhere between…three weeks or all the way up to six to seven week. It can be a bit later if you’re not paying attention to your cycle,” Whitmarsh explained.

Due to the shortened window that women are able to get an abortion, Whitmarsh noted that the bill would “move Ohio in the right direction.”

She continued, “When Roe got passed, the approval of abortion significantly went up. Laws do have an effect on our society. They do have an effect on our culture as a whole, so we’re hoping that with this, it’ll help to change the society so that we embrace more of a culture of life — so that we come together. It will also help us as a community to think twice when we see women in need.”

Ginger Bakos, former co-chair of Northeast Ohio Women’s March and mother of Bio-Med Science Academy Senior Emmett Bakos, voiced her opinion of the bill.

“What they have essentially done is outlawed abortion without saying that. Because most people don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks,” she said. “The idea that you can just shove all these babies into the foster care system is so infuriating. There aren’t enough families to adopt all the babies and kids we have now. The way that foster kids are treated, and shuffled from place to place. It’s already a system that’s busting at the seams. The idea that this is a good idea is so offensive. The idea that in the middle of an infant formula shortage, that we’re going to force people to have babies, is just so offensive.”

Activism From Bio-Med Science Academy Parents and Students

A local protest was organized by Bakos and Kenyona “Sunny” Mathews, the other former co-chair of Northeast Ohio Women’s March, June 28.

Bakos emphasized the importance of hiring peace marshals at the protest. “That’s a key piece of organizing, because the peace marshals work for the event, not the city or police, so they keep the people happy.” Photo provided by Jenna Bates.

“We had some folks who held political office, people from their offices, and we had people there just to tell their stories. I think there is, particularly from the pro-life side, a lot of villainizing abortion, and what it’s for, and how people ‘use abortion.’ Everybody who spoke had a story,” Bakos said. “So often, abortion and abortion-care in this country is to save lives, and we just forget that.”

The protest was held in Downtown Cuyahoga Falls and hosted a variety of speakers.

Bakos cited her own experience with abortion, stating, “When [my son], Tristan, was three years old, I started having a miscarriage in the middle of his birthday party. If I had not had abortion services, I would have died. At this point, [pro-lifers] would’ve tried to justify that.”

Bakos was not the only person to protest as a result of Roe’s overturning. Bio-Med Senior Hailey Mills was on vacation when she learned about the overturn.

Bio-Med Senior Hailey Mills stands outside of the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. June 24, the day that Roe v. Wade was overturned. There, she holds a sign with a link to LiberateAbortion.org. Photo provided by Hailey Mills.

“I was in Washington D.C. at the spy museum, and I was looking at stuff. My dad sends me a text and says, ‘Just opened the news app and saw this.’ It was a screenshot of Roe v. Wade getting overturned. At first, I thought he was just reading fake news… so I looked online, and I saw that it was real, and tears started forming in my eyes. I don’t even know how to explain it, but I was so upset and distraught about what was going on,” she said.

Shortly after learning about the overturn of Roe, Mills and her mother attended a protest in front of the Supreme Court building.

“[We] protested for about 30-ish minutes, because we had reservations to do other things,” Mills recalled. “It was just nice to be there at the Supreme Court. Even though they probably weren’t there,… it just still felt important, because they would obviously be watching and seeing how many people were actually there, outside of the place they work.”

That day, Mills later posted an image of her protesting on Instagram, with a caption that read, “I am in disappointment, finding out I won’t have a choice for my body. We are going backwards in history. If given the choice, I would rather not had protests…but because a terrible choice made by congress, I am as happy as I can be to be able to speak up in front of the Supreme Court. I am furious and in dismay of what this country is leading to.”

“One of the biggest things that came about from [the] Women’s March was when you organize, you have to have a purpose. You have to be doing something, there has to be a call to action,” Bakos said. “We organized voter registration, and then we took donations for Planned Parenthood and [the Escort Service Program].” Photo provided by Ginger Bakos.

Offering More Support for Pregnant People

Mills, Bakos, and thousands of Americans attended and/or organized protests following the overturn of Roe, citing a pro-choice stance.

Whitmarsh, on the other hand, disagreed with the protests’ message. She believed that instead of legalizing abortion, offering more support for pregnant people will eliminate the “need” for one.

“We know that ending the horror of abortion, while I do believe that it is terribile and needs to be ended, that doesn’t take away the fact that there’s women and children that are in need, and they need our help and that they find themselves in these situations where they consider abortion, because they feel as though they have no other option. The other half of our mission is to really care for those women, to show them that there is support, and to create a culture and a community where they feel supported or they feel like they don’t have to run to get an abortion. They can choose life, and they can continue on to have a future.”

She also noted that more expectations should not only be placed on women to keep the child, but on men as well.

“A huge reason why so many women are feeling like they have to get an abortion is because a man is not involved. That’s scary, as young women, that’s really scary if I was pregnant and found out that I was going to be a single mother,” Whitmarsh said. “We as a culture and a society, we need to demand that. We need to demand that men can no longer feel like they can just walk away. That’s not okay. I think that really having a holistic conversation about the entire issue and what got us there.”

Pictured above is the Ohio Right to Life booth at the Portage County Randolph Fair. Photo by Alyssa Cocchiola, editor-in-chief.

Part of the “holistic conversation” Whitmarsh mentioned is to address the risks of pregnancy more seriously and offer a different approach to sex education.

“I think that we have, as a society, bought into the idea that you can divorce sex from having children, and while it’s very true that there are methods that you can put in place to prevent pregnancy from happening, there’s always a chance that it will happen. You can never completely separate sex and baby making. You just scientifically can’t,” Whitmarsh explained.

She continued, “As a society and culture, we need to come back to that and realize that while yes, there’s amazing modern and scientific inventions like birth control, like condoms or just tracking your cycle as women. Talking about sex education, most women don’t even know how to track their cycle. Most women don’t even know when they ovulate or how they can actually family plan. Those things are so important to teach to young women, and it puts so much more control over our own bodies back into our hands, so just giving real tools to women and men, I think that that will be huge.”

Bakos responded to this, saying, “That’s a big part of the pro-choice movement, that you need to have all of those things, but the irony is that many Right-to-Lifers are against all of those things. They say they want sex ed, but they want abstinence-only sex ed, which is nonsense. Anyone who’s ever been a teenager knows that that’s nonsense.”

She recalled her own pregnancy experience, and the difficulty she faced regarding insurance and how expensive prenatal care was. She also noted that low-income households struggle to afford prenatal healthcare, disproportionately affecting minorities such as people of color.

Due to the cost of prenatal care, Ohio has proposed Senate Bill 262, which would allow people to sue their impregnator if the pregnancy was unintentional. This bill is still in the early stages, and has not had a formal hearing.

U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer and Representative Mike Johnson also introduced the Unborn Child Support Act, which allows child support payments to be claimed on unborn children.

Even with the implementation of these policies, Bakos still believes abortion should remain legal.

“A woman has to have a right to choose, period. There is no [legislation] that anyone can name where we restrict men,” she said.

She compared this to organ donation, describing how organs cannot be taken from anyone, including corpses, without their consent.

New Exceptions for Medical Emergency

Though abortion is still regulated in many U.S. states, President Biden signed an executive order July 8 that mandated abortion be legal in cases of medical emergencies, as it would be in violation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.

Though it does not impact Ohio’s heartbeat bill, which already had exceptions for medical emergencies, the order will change the legality of abortion in states where it is completely banned. For example, Missouri’s House Bill 2810 still charges a class A felony if the “abortion was performed or induced or was attempted to be performed or induced on a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy.”

President Biden Tweeted the following image July 23 with a caption that read, “Under no circumstances should a woman be denied emergency medical care because she’s pregnant. I’ve taken action to ensure this is never the case in the United States.” Photo obtained from Twitter @POTUS.

Ectopic pregnancies are when an egg implants outside the uterus; these cases are never viable, and almost always put the pregnant person’s life at risk.

Prior to Biden’s executive order, one of Mills’ main concerns was people being denied abortions in cases of medical emergencies.

“I think that it’s already starting to impact [people] even though it just happened…. It’s been less than a week and people have already been affected by it,” Mills stated. “I read somewhere how there was an iffy situation going on at a hospital where it was either the mom’s life or a fetus not ready to be born outside of the womb, and it came down to that situation, and the doctor had to call lawyers to see what he could do so he wouldn’t lose his license of being a doctor.”

She continued, “I couldn’t even imagine laying there thinking, ‘I’m going to die today,’ and the doctors can’t even do anything to help me. Stuff like that — people could be going to jail for having an abortion and it’s just crazy. It’s so crazy. I don’t even know what to say.”

Under Ohio’s heartbeat bill, controversy has sparked over a recent story of a 10-year-old who became pregnant after being raped by a 27-year-old man. After the heartbeat bill was passed, she traveled to Indiana, where Dr. Caitlin Bernard administered the treatment.

Mills commented, “I saw a Tik Tok that was like, ‘not old enough to give consent, but old enough to have a baby,’ and that was so heartbreaking to think of all the little girls that are not even in middle school about to have children because — a child is going to have a child — because of this [decision]. It’s just heartbreaking.”

Bakos agreed, saying, “A 10-year-old, under any circumstance, should not be forced to have a child. If you wouldn’t let a 10-year-old adopt a child, why would you force them to birth a child?”

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita claimed that Bernard has previously failed to follow state reporting requirements surrounding abortion procedures. Indiana health officials released documentation indicating this to be false, and Bernard has threatened to sue Rokita for defamation. She has yet to decide if she will proceed with the lawsuit.

Other measures have been taken to ensure access to abortion. The House of Representatives passed a bill that would protect the right to travel between states for abortion care. Dubbed the “Ensuring Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Act,” it also ensures that states cannot restrict or punish those who “assist another person traveling across a State line for the purpose of obtaining an abortion service that is lawful in the State in which the service is to be provided.”

It also protects the movement of “interstate commerce… of any drug approved or licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for the termination of a pregnancy.”

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford claimed this was unnecessary, stating, “No state has banned interstate travel for adult women seeking to obtain an abortion.”

Despite this, Yvette Ostolazaa, a Dallas-based corporate litigator and the head of the Sidley Austin LLP, received a letter from Texas elected officials, threatening the office for assisting employees with abortion-related travel costs. The letter also included plans to introduce legislation that will “impose additional civil and criminal sanctions on law firms that pay for abortions or abortion travel.”

Future Legislation and Supreme Court Cases

Many wonder if this decision will affect in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Attorney Eric Johnston, the author of Alabama’s 2019 Human Life Protection Act, stated that abortion would only be prohibited when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, despite other legislation indicating that life begins at conception.

“In vitro fertilization would not be affected by this law as there are no intentional attempts to remove a fertilized egg from the uterine wall with in vitro fertilization,” Johnston said in an interview with Alabama policy institute.

Many also wonder if this would lead to restrictions on forms of contraception that could work after conception, such as intrauterine devices (IUD), and the morning-after pill.

Copper IUDs work by releasing copper ions to create an inhospitable environment for sperm. Hormonal IUDs work by using hormones to thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Both IUDs and Plan B pills thin the uterine lining to prevent the egg from implanting, should fertilization occur. Photo, “Mirena IUD,” by Sarah Mirk is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

In Ohio, since the abortion ban does not take effect until six weeks of pregnancy, these options remain available. Should Ohio issue a total abortion ban, these methods may become illegal.

In the future, SCOTUS may review other cases with rulings with similar precedent. Shortly after the initial overturning of Roe, Justice Clarence Thomas stated in a concurring opinion that the court “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.”

These cases ruled for the right for married couples to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction, that sanctions of criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy are unconstitutional, and the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

Many individuals have expressed concern that, like Roe, court cases like Griswold may be overruled.  

Whitmarch concluded, “Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, it never was settled. There was always a huge pro-life movement that fought against it, whereas, if you compare that to, I believe it’s Griswold that was the decision for birth control, there was never a continued fight after that….I don’t think that the pro-life movement is going to go anywhere near the fight against birth control. I don’t think that’s our goal, and that is our focus,”

She continued, “I think that the focus is ending abortion and building a culture of life. I don’t think that it’s going to be the next step. I think there might be some churches or outliers who feel strongly about it that might fight against [contraceptives] from a cultural perspective, but from a legal perspective, I think that it’s pretty settled, and I don’t think that anybody is going to be trying to overturn Griswold by any means.”

Associate Justice Samuel Alito assured that this logic would not extend to these cases, writing, “Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”

However, SCOTUS’s liberal justices, Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, are not convinced, saying the decision on Roe leaves other decades-old precedents vulnerable.

Bakos responded to Thomas’s opinion.

“The irony is that you don’t get to choose. If Clarence Thomas wants to go after these other decisions, then he’s also going to be going after Loving v. Virginia, which gives him a right to be married to his wife. He doesn’t get to choose,” she said. “That’s the problem with precedent, you don’t get to choose how it gets applied. What will happen now, is it will come to cases being brought up to SCOTUS. What we’re seeing right now, in our government, is everything is being run through the courts. Our legislative system is pretty crippled.”

Bakos advised citizens to contact their local legislators, pushing them to codify Roe v. Wade into law and end the filibuster, and to donate to organizations that assist women in finding abortion care.

She concluded, “I think the idea that anyone who isn’t of voting age doesn’t have power is false. There has been a massive shift in power and structure in this country, and there are a lot of people who are saying, ‘We’re just not gonna take it anymore.’ [Gen Z] has the power to push back. Politicians are public servants. They work for their constituents, and anyone who doesn’t isn’t doing their job.”


The Hive reached out to the Supreme Court Public Information Office, several representatives from Planned Parenthood via email, phone, and in-person requests, and Bio-Med Students and parents whose opinions varied on the subject. The Hive’s queries were not answered by these parties.

General Interest Politics

10 Years After Sandy Hook, History Repeats, and Little Is Being Done to Change That

by The Hive editorial board

JUNE 2022 — The second deadliest U.S. school shooting occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were fatally shot and killed May 23. The severity of the attack is only preceded by the events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary school Dec. 14, 2012, where 20 students and seven adults were killed. Though 10 years have passed since Sandy Hook, students are still being subjected to the horrors of gun violence; history is repeating itself, and little is being done to fix it.

At Robb Elementary, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos barricaded himself in a classroom around 11:30 a.m and shot those inside. The tactical team forced the door open, shooting and killing Ramos more than an hour after entering the school.

Prior to the shooting, Ramos shot his grandmother, who is in the hospital. Ramos crashed his truck in a ditch near the school before entering, wearing a plate carrier with no ballistic armor and exchanging fire with school officers.

Pictured above are people visiting Robb Elementary School to leave flowers by the school sign May 25 in light of the shooting. Photo obtained from Jack Gruber, USA Today.
It has been almost 10 years since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, and after this event, politicians and lawmakers across the country have promised, “never again.” Despite this, 229 mass shootings have taken place on U.S. school grounds in 2022 alone, according to the gun violence archive. 

That number is more than one school shooting per day this year.

Regardless of what people blame, the promise of “never again” has proven to be false time and time again, and countless lives have suffered as a result.

Following the events, Texas Governor Greg Abbott noted, “What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas.”

However, in the past year, Abbott has signed numerous legislation that lifted restrictions on gun laws. Some of these laws include HB 1927, which allows Texans to carry guns without a license, background check, or training and HB 2622 which prohibits local government agencies from enforcing federal gun laws.

In total, Abbott signed and enacted 22 laws to make it easier to obtain, buy, and carry guns, according to Houston Public Media.

On top of this, Abbott tweeted the following Oct. 28, 2015: “I’m EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in the nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let’s pick up the pace Texans.”

For someone who claims that school shootings “cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Abbott has single handedly enacted legislation that has enabled individuals to obtain weapons of destruction in a more efficient manner.

According to the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, it was found that states with higher levels of household gun ownership had higher rates of firearm homicide and overall homicide for all genders and age groups.

“Regardless of what people blame, the promise of ‘never again’ has proven to be false time and time again, and countless lives have suffered as a result”

The Hive Editorial Board

In instances like Uvalde, the shooter was able to obtain the gun legally with little restriction as a result of these actions. Ramos legally purchased two assault rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition just after his 18th birthday. One of the rifles was found in the back of his truck, the other located in the school.

Even so, the issue lies deeper than just gun control; having strict gun control will not magically eradicate the issue of gun-related violence. In other cases, while less common, the guns were purchased illegally or underground.

Most commonly, the Sandy Hook promise outlined that 68% of guns in gun-related incidents at schools were taken from a family member who purchased the guns legally. Though gun control will not completely erase the issue, requiring permits, training, background checks, and licenses for obtaining firearms could prevent certain acts of gun-related violence.

Controlling fire-arm access was not the only repeated message from history.

The infamous 1999 Columbine High School shooting saw police officers arrive on the scene, only to wait hours to enter and secure the building. In Uvalde, they took roughly 90 minutes to breach the classroom the shooter stayed in.

From worries of officer safety to police chiefs making “wrong decisions” during desperate situations, police training must be questioned. With the infuriating frequency of these events, they need to be prepared. If the police refuse to be disarmed of their guns for public safety, they should at least use their guns when the public needs them.

Another aspect that is critical to consider is offering better mental health support. A common argument against gun control is that “if someone wants to obtain a gun, they will, whether it is legal or not.” Instead of just preventing individuals from obtaining the gun, a focus should also be placed on preventing people from committing these violent acts altogether.

Watching out for threats of violence and flagging them before they escalate is another key factor in preventing shootings, which is often not considered until it is too late.

Prior to the shooting, Ramos used Yubo, a social media site, as a platform to make threats about rape and shooting the school. If these threats were taken seriously and brought to the attention of officials, these events could have been prevented; lives could have been saved.

The issue, though, is that most people preach looking for “warning signs,” but when actions are flagged, few repercussions occur. Noticing these actions and dealing with the threats is crucial to preventing violent actions in schools.

In fact, 93% of school shootings were planned in advance in almost every documented case. In those cases, the Sandy Hook promise noted that one or multiple of these warning signs were shown.

Many of these signs include things like bullying, withdrawing from friends, making direct threats, and recruiting accomplices or audiences for the attack. In these cases, these signs are able to be caught early, and actions can be taken to prevent these harmful acts.

“Schools are supposed to provide a comfortable learning environment for children to learn and grow as individuals. In spite of this, the world of today has seen school shootings rip away that right from students; these places can no longer feel safe.”

The Hive Editorial Board

As outlined by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “school shootings typically involve a mix of suicidal thoughts, despair, and anger — plus access to guns.”

Though many pin the blame only on weapons, recognizing the signs and knowing how to deal with them is important. Taking threats seriously and having repercussions for these threats, along with implementing more mental health initiatives to prevent shootings that result from mental illnesses would provide a step in the right direction.

In the span of 10 years, instead of putting any legislation in place — whether it is gun control, taking threats seriously and recognizing the warning signs, better mental illness check-ins, or other actions to lessen the amount of violence in this country — America has decided to train schools and students to be “prepared” against active shooters instead of attempting to eradicate the issue all together.

After all of the ALICE drills, lockdowns, talk of or implementation of arming teachers, walk-outs in protest of the violence, and all the thoughts and prayers to the victims, how many more conversations have to occur before any action is taken?

We said “never again” after Sandy Hook. Since then, 947 school shootings have occurred, and an estimated 12 children die from gun violence in America each day. At what point, if ever, will this statement hold true? How many more lives need to be lost — in schools, in supermarkets, in places of worship — until anything changes?

These places where gun violence occur are supposed to be safe. Schools are supposed to provide a comfortable learning environment for children to learn and grow as individuals. In spite of this, the world of today has seen school shootings rip away that right from students; these places can no longer feel safe.

There’s a terrifying fact that looms over the heads of every student when an ALICE drill is practiced: This is the sad reality of the world we live in, where it is a necessity that students know how to increase their chances of survival in the event of a shooting. As the instances of school shootings increase, the terrifying thought of our community falling victim to the horrors of gun violence becomes increasingly more probable.

Though the thought of the community being exposed to gun violence is frightening to even imagine, it is likely that, even then, America will continue to argue and fail to act; that fact is even scarier.

General Interest Opinion Politics

Commentary: Abortion Bans Are Anything But Pro-Life

by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

For almost 50 years, people have heavily relied on the holding in Roe v. Wade to make the decision about whether or not to have a baby. As the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey decision, “[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.” Photo by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief.

MAY 2022 — Abortion is currently legal everywhere in the United States. However, it appears that won’t be true for long. According to a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito in February, at least five of the court’s justices have voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision recognizing the right to abortion, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 decision reaffirming that right.

“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” wrote Alito. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

He went on to state, “Roe was egregiously wrong,” and demonstrated that the court is looking to reject Roe’s legal protections.

It is unclear if the draft represents a final opinion, as justices have previously changed their views during the drafting process. The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months.

If the Supreme Court overturns the nearly 50-year-old precedent granted by Roe’s abortion rights ruling, access to abortion will become a state-by-state issue, which would be a nightmare scenario.

An NBC News analysis of Center for Reproductive Rights data shows that 23 states would institute abortion bans. “Trigger laws,” or laws that would go into effect banning abortions when Roe is overturned, are on the books in 13 of those states. A second abortion-rights advocacy group, the Guttmacher Institute, counted as many as 26 states considered certain or likely to ban abortion ​​based on laws passed before and after Roe, in the event it was overturned.

In Ohio, abortion rights would likely be eliminated if Roe were overturned. Governor Mike DeWine has signed multiple horrific bills to ban abortion as early as six weeks gestation, require aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated, prevent medication abortions, and add rules that could shut down two Southwest Ohio abortion clinics. Additionally, a bill pending in the Ohio General Assembly would ban doctors from performing medication or surgical abortions, instituting a fourth-degree felony for violators.

Pictured is a sign from a May 5 protest in support of reproductive rights hosted by Kent State Univerity’s Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. Since the leaking of the Supreme Court draft, protests have sparked all across the country, with many being hosted on college campuses. Photo provided by Jana Stone, a Kent State freshman.

Access to safe abortion services is a human right. Forcing someone to carry an unwanted pregnancy or to seek out an unsafe abortion is a violation of their human rights, including the rights to privacy and bodily autonomy. Furthermore, denying someone abortion care has devastating and lasting consequences for the pregnant person, as it can jeopardize their health, economic well-being, and ability to determine their future.

Restricting abortions does nothing to reduce the number of abortions that people have; it only forces people to seek out unsafe abortions. Alternatively, pregnancy carries more significant risks than abortion does. A 2021 research study predicted that abortion bans would lead to a 21 percent increase in pregnancy-related deaths.

People will die if Roe is overturned, which is far from the “pro-life” stance that opponents of abortion often take. According to NPR, before Roe, anywhere from 200,000 to 1,000,000 illegal abortions took place each year. A majority of the Supreme Court will have blood on their hands.

Those most harmed by these decisions will continue to be people of color, people in rural areas, young people, immigrants, and low-income individuals, who face systemic barriers to medical care. People living in areas considered “hostile” towards abortion would likely have to travel to a state with laws protecting abortion, which is highly inaccessible. Wealthy individuals will always have access to abortion, so ending Roe is an attack on the autonomy of the poor among many others.

In the past, justices have been hesitant when overturning a precedent, and usually only after public opinions toward the subject had changed. However, a majority of the American people support abortion rights. According to a January CNN poll, “nearly 70 percent of Americans do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.” Despite this issue being seized by vocal extremists, the numbers are certain; people support legal access to abortion.

With the leaking of the Supreme Court draft, one thing has been made terribly clear: the overturning of abortion rights is just the beginning. Alito’s reasoning for overturning Roe is simple. Since the Constitution doesn’t mention the word “abortion,” any claim that there is a constitutional right to one must show that legal abortions have been “deeply rooted in our nation’s history and traditions.”

Roe’s logic hinges on a person’s right to privacy. Overturning Roe could also undermine other rights to which Americans have grown accustomed, such as access to contraceptives and gay marriage, which also hinge on a right to privacy.

Even though the word “privacy,” like the word “abortion,” does not appear in the Constitution, justices have held the stance that it could be inferred from the text. Even if Alito is correct that legal abortion is not “deeply rooted” in our culture, he ignores the fact that women were denied nearly all rights we now take for granted for much of history.

Obviously, the Constitution says nothing about abortion, because it does not mention women. It was written by a group of all white and mostly wealthy men, who weren’t concerned with reproductive rights or any rights for women. Over the past century, the United States has rejected the worst of the founders’ beliefs and strived to respond to the needs of a changing society, either through constitutional amendments or modern interpretations of the text they created. So, why is abortion any different?

Overturning Roe is not about protecting human life; it is about control. In brazenly ignoring 50 years of its own precedent and the will of the American people, this draft ruling would destroy the legitimacy of the court. At best, abortion would only become inaccessible to those living in restricted areas. However, the more likely outcome would be an increase in maternal mortality and an influx of unwanted children. I truly hope that I am wrong. Everyone should have the right to decide what happens to their body. It’s that simple.

Abortion bans are not pro-life. They are pro-poverty, pro-inequality, and pro-cruelty.

General Interest Opinion Politics

Obsessing Over a Compulsion: OCD and the Reasons Behind the “Bizarre”

by Mallory Butcher, staff writer

MAY 2022 — One winter morning, students dragged snowy shoes through the hallway on their way to class. Tables and chairs stood against the walls. Suddenly, a student in the crowd slipped on the melting ice. They tumbled forward, bumping their left hip into a table. Dread surged, the feeling of imbalance knotting in their gut. They had to correct it. Despite the darkening patch of skin and the racing crowd, they pushed through the mass back towards the table. The student limped into class a few minutes late with two purple bruises, one on each hip, but momentarily free of an overwhelming weight.

This scenario accurately describes one person’s experience of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, most commonly abbreviated OCD, which is a mental disorder characterized by frequent, uncontrollable thoughts or tendencies that interfere with daily life. These urges raise anxiety in the person affected with the disorder and encourage them to engage in said urges to relieve stress.

Pictured above is a cabinet containing glass dishes organized in even rows. According to the Division Director of Adolescent Medicine at Akron Children’s Hospital Dr. Stephen Sondike, if a person with OCD has a compulsion to keep items such as cups in order, this method may be appealing to them. On the right side of the photo is an open bottle of prescribed medication. When medicated, OCD is typically treated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI), a type of drug designed to block serotonin from being reabsorbed by neurons, thus lessening feelings of anxiety and depression. A common SSRI used for newly diagnosed individuals is Zoloft. The dosage ranges from 25 to 200 milligrams per pill capsule. Photo by Mallory Butcher, staff writer.

According to Dr. Randon Welton, the Margaret Clark Morgan Chair of Psychiatry and Professor of Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University, “Two to three percent of Americans have OCD. Of that, half of them are diagnosed before they turn 20, and a quarter are diagnosed before they turn 14. There are no really major demographics or groups not affected, but men are more likely to show symptoms than women.”

Welton claimed that those with OCD are around ten times more likely to have a close relative with the same disorder. However, no biomarkers (molecules inside an individual that indicate the presence of a disease or other condition) have been located to confirm a genetic link.

Sophomore Mason Lewis has experienced many tendencies of OCD in addition to his family history, though he has never been officially diagnosed. He described one such compulsion: “Before sitting down, I have to brush off the seat with my hand or something. I normally Purell my hands multiple times a day. With my bag, I have to touch the straps multiple times to pick it up.”

He said, “I haven’t been to the doctor since I fully got into my OCD ‘phase.’ I know my mom has OCD. It was much worse when she was a teenager.”

Young adults are the most common group to show signs of OCD. Welton elaborated on this, noting that “Early on, many say that they didn’t realize their behavior is abnormal.”

Lewis didn’t recall behaviors he experienced at a young age, but he remembered, “starting to notice it through sixth-grade, and it’s just gotten worse over the years. I know the first tendency I had was I had to sit halfway off the seat, and that’s when I started to develop the tendency to brush off the seat. Then, I could sit on the seat fully.”

If someone with OCD does not complete a tendency or compulsion, Welton said that they experience intense stress and are unable to concentrate on any other tasks.

“If I don’t do those things, my brain doesn’t feel right,” Lewis explained. “It makes me think about it more like, ‘What if this happens? What if that happens?’ It kind of makes me do it after a little while.”

In contrast to the acclaimed experiences, public perception of OCD is often described as inaccurate.

“It seems bizarre,” Welton stated before elaborating. “OCD is oftentimes made fun of. It’s the typical joke of a person driving around a block and feeling like they hit someone while driving, so they get out and check. Even though they didn’t, they have to drive around the block five more times.”

Lewis agreed, describing common stereotypes: “They’re perfectionists. They need everything a certain way. Most people think of OCD as organized, having everything tidy, and stuff like that…. When people do something a certain way, they say, ‘Oh, it’s just something from my OCD.’”

Though equated with perfectionism, OCD has displayed itself to be very different. Lewis concluded, “OCD can be more things than just being a perfectionist. There are lots of tendencies that happen that don’t make you a perfectionist. You can’t control what tendencies you have.”

For more information on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, click here to read an article from the National Institute of Mental Health.

General Interest

Can Men Be Feminists?

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

MAY 2022 – There are many misconceptions about the definition of feminism and what feminists are. Misconceptions include the ideas that feminists hate men, feminism kills traditional femininity, and only women can be feminists.

Bio-Med’s Feminist Club played a game to see where people stood on certain topics. During this game, there are seven lines (in this case chairs) that mark a neutral point in the middle, and on the right, it marks slightly disagree, disagree, and strongly disagree. On the left side of the neutral point, it marks slightly agree, agree, and strongly agree. Participants are given a statement like “Can men be feminists?” and will move to one of the points that corresponds to their opinions. Students are then encouraged to explain their stance and spark discussion. Photo provided by Newspaper and Feminist Club adviser Ms. Jenna Bates.

Cheryl Tawney-Lallemand, a junior at Bio-Med Science Academy and member of its Feminist Club, said, “I would change how when people hear the word ‘feminism,’ they think it’s a bad thing and ‘all men should die.’” She continued, “Most feminists don’t think like that; they want equality in society and in the workplace for all genders and races.”

The traditional definition of a feminist is someone who supports equal rights for women, but over the years, feminism has branched out to help fight for equal rights for all. Robert Greenwood, a senior in Feminist Club, shared his opinion, saying, “I believe that anyone is capable of being a feminist. Feminism is the advocacy for rights for everyone.” He continued, “I would love if more attention was brought to male feminists. If men would educate themselves on what a feminist is by definition, I feel like there would be less pushback on feminism as a whole.”

Ms. Heidi Hisrich, the ninth-grade science instructor stated, “I think maybe feminism should be taught more explicitly.  I can distinctly remember when my high school history teacher asked students to stand up if they were feminists. Only two students stood up. Then he said, ‘Feminism is the idea that men and women should have equal rights. Now stand up if you are a feminist.’  Nearly the whole class stood up. I think it was a memorable way to help us know what feminism is and it certainly stuck with me!”

Feminism aims to change the patriarchal power structure in society, and this can make it a little harder for men to identify as feminists.

“In my lifetime, many more women entered the workplace, but women still only earn about 80% of what men earn, even when they have the same job,” said Mr. Brian McDonald, the ninth-grade English Language Arts Instructor. “I think this should remain a woman-centric topic. But men can certainly be allies within the fight toward more equality.”

 Inhersight.com stated how “…feminist men need to do more — and different — work both internally and collaboratively in order to advance feminist ideals in support.” However, not all people think this way, as some have different views on the feminist movement.

“Feminism is a group of mostly women that think some things in society are unfair. Most of those issues are unfair but others are illegitimate,” stated a ninth-grade student who wished to remain anonymous. “I think that they [feminists] should take a look at the problems that they say they have and look at more facts about it.”

USA Today stated that only about 40 percent of men think the word “feminist” describes them. About 9 percent of them say it describes them very well, and the other 31 percent say that it describes them somewhat well.

“Some people think that women can’t be sexist and only men can be, but that’s just not true. And I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed,” stated the ninth-grader, “Overall I think that men can be feminists if it’s the right guy… I think that it depends on who it is. If it’s someone more masculine then no, I don’t think men could be [feminists.]” The anonymous student continued, “One problem with the movement is the constant fear of getting called sexist. Almost every time a guy tries to talk about a bad thing with feminism, they get called a sexist.”

These perceptions are a frequent topic at Bio-Med Science Academy’s Feminist Club strives to provide students interested in feminism a safe place to share and discuss feminism and feminist issues. It is open to all students and currently consists of about 10 students ranging from freshmen to seniors.

Greenwood talked about his experience in Feminist Club over the past three years.

“My experience in Feminist Club has been very warm and inviting while sharing my opinions and ideas with different people. It’s a great place to educate yourself while in a safe environment.”

Greenwood joined Feminist Club during his sophomore year. “What made me join the Feminist Club was my family group leader, Ms. Bates, who was always so welcoming to me, and a fellow [student] Havann Brown, also convinced me to go to the club on a regular basis. Other than that, just my general interest in rights and advocacy made me want to go,” Greenwood stated.

In the past, Feminist Club has discussed if men could be included in the movement. During meetings, members have also talked about how the patriarchy imposes stereotypes on men.

Tawney-Lallemand concluded, “I think men can be feminist because many can share an opinion. Just because it’s a man doesn’t mean we should exclude them from sharing similar ideas.” She continued, “People think feminism is only for women when anyone can be a feminist.”

General Interest

How Have Google’s New YouTube Settings Changed Bio-Med?

by C.J. Delaney, staff writer 

MARCH 2022 — Bio-Med Science Academy students under the age of 18 received an email Sept. 7, 2021 from Team YouTube notifying them of the coming changes to their experience on the site. Due to a new policy at Google, school accounts used by students under 18 years old are no longer able to write comments, participate in live chat, receive most notifications, and upload videos.

Not only are these students no longer able to upload anything onto the site, but any existing content has also been removed from public viewing and can only be accessed by the owner of the account by download. Many student projects have been uploaded in video form in the past.

Pictured is the message that students will receive when clicking on “your channel” on school YouTube accounts.

Google has yet to release a statement on why these changes were made, but it is in line with the many alterations made to the site over the past several years. YouTube has been pushing for child safety more and more, and this particular update specifically targets children in school.

Bio-Med’s technology support specialist, Matthew Schneider, says that the school is unable to reverse this change “since it was a decision made by Google.” Regardless of school policy, “At the beginning of the school year, Google required schools to identify users that were under the age of 18.”

For students wishing to keep everything they’ve uploaded to their account, Google details how to save videos on the “YouTube Help” page. If anyone wishes to access videos uploaded by students no longer attending Bio-Med, there is nothing that can be done without contacting the owner of said account.

This has led to complications for both teachers and students when trying to share videos.

“One of my internship supervisors needed me to send some video projects that I had, but it was much harder to access,” said Randall Hatfield, a junior at Bio-Med. “I had to look through tons of video files [on my computer].”

Along with access to old student projects, many teachers have had to reconsider how students would upload videos for assignments where YouTube was previously used.

Ms. Tracie McFerren, the 10th-grade English teacher, highlighted alternatives to video sharing outside of YouTube with her upcoming Stop Motion project. Instead of uploading final stop motion videos to YouTube, students were instructed to save them to Google Drive. While it will not be as publicly accessible, videos can still be shared via a link and submitted in a similar manner to those submitted to YouTube.

To do this, students will still need to download a video project before uploading it to their Drive. There it can be organized with various folders with complete control over who is able to view the work.

“I don’t think the changes to YouTube have really affected my courses that much this year,” says junior History and College, Career, and Civics teacher Whitney Mihalik. For the juniors, the only video project they needed to complete for Mihalik’s class was a project titled “Save the World” (a challenge where juniors proposed a way to improve the quality of the planet in a video format). Despite the Save the World project being entirely on YouTube before, the junior team found another way around it. Mihalik reassured, “Students couldn’t upload their ‘Save the World’ videos to YouTube this year, but we simply had them submit video files.”

Before the project officially began, the Junior team had gathered examples of the project from previous years to show the students. All of these examples were YouTube videos uploaded by former students. To the teachers’ and students’ frustration, none could be accessed. This left them in a situation where they had to seek out students to request files of their videos or other places where they may have saved the projects. However, as Mihalik stated, this did not affect the remainder of the project.

While the new Google settings seemed concerning to many members of the Bio-Med community at first, future projects have adapted to other methods of uploading videos and seem to be continuing as usual.

General Interest

Schools Supporting Students: How Do Teachers Handle Students’ Mental Health?

by Cadence Gutman, staff writer

MARCH 2022  In recent years, the condition of teenagers’ mental health issues has been at the forefront of many discussions among teachers at schools across the country, including Bio-Med Science Academy.

Pictured is a mental health resource guide given to teachers on Mar. 7 during a professional development day. The guide features information on symptoms of depression and suicide. It also contains resources and advice about what to do when struggling with mental health. Photo by Cadence Gutman, staff writer.

According to the World Health Organization, it’s estimated that as of November 2021, a reported 3.6 percent of 10 through 14-year-olds and 4.6 percent of 15 through 19-year-olds experience an anxiety disorder. Depression is estimated to occur among 1.1 percent of adolescents aged 10 through 14, and 2.8 percent of 15 through 19-year-olds.

In accordance with these statistics, teachers at Bio-Med have taken measures to ensure that their students are mentally well.

As the seventh through ninth grade counselor, Mrs. Emily Lee helps students work through issues they may be facing. She said, “I can’t ‘fix’ anything for them, but I can help them find the tools to hopefully improve their situation while providing support along the way.” She continued, “Sometimes, this means I connect them with outside resources, too. We have great community resources for students who need more than what I can provide here as a school counselor.”

One of these resources is Children’s Advantage, an organization whose main goal is to improve mental health and behavioral issues in adolescents. Children’s Advantage can be applied inside school and outside of school. “It’s a great opportunity for our students who would benefit from therapy and consultation but have time constraints in the evenings, transportation issues, etc.,” Lee explained.

Teachers such as Heidi Hisrich, the ninth grade science instructor, have also made an effort to understand what students may be going through.

Hisrich explained that she was dealing with her own mental health struggles during the week of Feb. 21. “I think it might make you more sensitive to noticing when other people are struggling.” She added, “I also had a couple of students mention how much they were struggling, and that was kind of the tipping point for me.”

Hisrich continued, “Thursday during the flex project, it felt like there was this darkness in the room. Then that was the same day that I knew my dad was dying.” On Feb. 22, Hisrich’s father passed away after a battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease; she explained how this allowed her to become more aware of students’ behavior. “I made observations like body language and comments and stuff that made me think, it’s not just one person. Everyone’s really struggling.”

Ms. Rebecca Putman, the seventh through 12th grade art instructor, noticed a change in the school environment, and how that can affect students. “You know, post-winter break, when I think academic content has picked up and intensified, I think that due dates have started overlapping and expectations have been raised.” She elaborated, “Students are definitely more stressed out, at least from what I’ve seen and what they’ve told me.”

On Feb. 23, Hisrich sent an email to the ninth grade student body, asking how they were doing. She asked several questions that included, “How would you describe your mental health right now?” and, “What can I do to help your mental health?”

Hisrich was surprised by the responses, saying, “I was surprised by how open students were, and how long some of the responses were. Also that some people would apologize for their responses being long, or that they over-shared, when I had requested that they share. They still somehow felt like they needed to apologize.”

Vali Epling, a ninth grade student, responded to Hisrich’s email. “I have therapy every other Monday, but, you know, it certainly helped that someone who I’m around constantly asked how I was.”

Another ninth grader who responded to Hisrich’s email is Anna Turell. “It did [help] actually. It helped me realize that there are teachers out there who genuinely care, and aren’t just in the building to get paid.”

Turell had been enduring her own mental struggles. “My personal life definitely stresses me out much more compared to my grades. I’ve always been a straight A student but also accepting of B’s, and the mastery system has made me a little more laid back about it,” she described. “In my personal life, I tend to be an overthinker and overstress myself out about small little things.”

Mrs. Whitney Mihalik, the 11th grade College, Career and Civics Instructor, explained how students’ reasons for stress could vary. “Some students that are grade-oriented are going to be more anxious about their school work, and some students are more anxious regarding what’s going on in their personal lives.”

This can also differ between grades, she explained. “Teaching juniors, coursework changes a bit as we start transitioning students to prepare for college, so there is always a little stress around that.” She continued, “In recent months, I’ve noticed way more anxiety and issues among friend groups than ever before, so I’d lean toward personal life causing more stress at this point in the year.”

Although caring about their students’ mental health, many teachers aren’t trained to be professional psychologists. Charmayne Polen, the seventh through ninth grade chief operating officer, commented that while it is important for staff to have training in mental health issues, having the full professional training to the extent of a counselor or social worker, is not realistic. “It’s important for teachers to be able to recognize signs, but then also have the connection to the professional mental health workers, social workers, school counselors, school psychologists, to report these signs and then work together to support the students.” Polen stated, “Knowing about the resources available to schools is vital to give students what they need in terms of mental health support.”

General Interest