Student ID Rules: Ones To Keep, Ones To Change

by Mallory Butcher, associate editor

SEPTEMBER 2022 – The staff of Bio-Med Science Academy enforced regulations around identification cards (IDs) this year, to the dismay of many students.

Per the request of Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), the Bio-Med Rootstown campus has used IDs for staff and students since the school’s beginnings in 2012. Even with their long legacy of use, some students have been calling for changes to the system moving forward.

“It’s a good thing to make sure we have our ID, because it’s how we get into the building. It does identify us, similar to other jobs, but I also feel like it could be conducted in a better fashion,” junior Alexander Maglott said. 

NEOMED Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police Kali Williams is seen above checking the picture of a Bio-Med student before taking any remaining photos for identification cards. Students new to either the school district or the building were called down to the Yoga Room to get a picture taken for their eventual ID. Photo by Mallory Butcher.

When entering the building, students are required to show their ID to Bio-Med Paraprofessional Kathy Cooper. Maglott recalled his morning disembarking from the school bus: “Having one person [at the entrance to check IDs] is rather inefficient. It takes me five minutes to get from the door to the stairs.”

Students in previous years entered the building without showing their IDs to any staff members. Many students were able to get in when they had no ID on them by waiting for other students to scan their IDs and open the doors. IDs were instead checked by a student’s homeroom teacher upon entering the classroom. Depending on the homeroom teacher, the ID checks varied.

Although faced with student complaints, the Bio-Med administration strongly supported the new system.

Charmayne Polen, chief operating officer of 10th through 12th grade, argued, “I think it helps support the teachers, because they don’t have to worry about checking for [IDs] as much.”

Above pictures Bio-Med alumni Jared Butcher working from home for Sanctuary Software Studio, Inc as a Software Engineer. In the bottom right is Butcher’s student ID, which he used to enter the Bio-Med Rootstown campus prior to his graduation in 2017. Above are his computer monitors displaying his current project. Butcher sits in the top left, setting up his equipment. Photo by Mallory Butcher.

Maglott was not the only one to find issues with how Bio-Med handles IDs. All students are given a free ID their first year at Bio-Med’s Rootstown campus, but if it is lost, they pay for their own replacement card. However, students who successfully keep track of and maintain their IDs have the same picture for their entire high school career.

“I think they should be giving IDs every year,” said Cooper Lappe, a junior at Bio-Med. “If IDs are supposed to identify you, then you should have an up-to-date picture on it because, in these years, we change a lot.”

Additionally, Lappe voiced, “Some kids have these super old IDs, and some of them aren’t even working. A lot of my friends said that their IDs aren’t scanning anymore.”

Getting a new ID would cost a student $15, so many concerns have stemmed from needing to pay for a replacement. That worry of IDs deteriorating, however, has been taken into account by the administration.

Polen explained, “If the card is damaged or doesn’t scan, [NEOMED] will always replace it for free…. If it’s wear-and-tear damage, they’ll take care of it, but if the kid got mad and broke it, then, obviously, it’s on the kid.”

As for the photos, she noted, “The name’s on there, so I don’t think it should pose a problem. I do have some kids, though, that chose to get their ID updated. If that’s so, they can do it on their own dime.”

Bio-Med ID cards are not going away. Some students would like to see changes, but everyone on the NEOMED campus, from the faculty to the police officers, has an ID. No one is an exception.


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

Breaking the Mold: The Fourth Season of “Stranger Things” Brings the Show to the Next Level

By Alyssa Cocchiola, editor-in-chief

This review is spoiler-free

SEPTEMBER 2022 — The penultimate season of the Duffer Brothers’ “Stranger Things” surpassed one billion views on Netflix, solidifying it as the second most-viewed piece of content on the platform — and there’s a reason why. Season four of “Stranger Things” is captivating. It breaks the mold of the previous seasons, elevating the show with a darker and more compelling plot.

Immediately after the show first aired in 2016, “Stranger Things” became a huge success. As the show progressed, its fan base greatly expanded. However, it seemed as though since the first season was so popular, ideas for the plot were simply recycled.

The fourth season of “Stranger Things” was released in two parts, with the first airing May 27 and the last two episodes airing July 1. After its release, season four of “Stranger Things” became a huge success, earning itself the number one spot in Top TV show releases in the U.S. The show became the second show to surpass one billion views, with “Squid Game” being first. “Squid Game” still holds the record with a total of 1.65 billion hours viewed. Photo by Alyssa Cocchiola, editor-in-chief.

While the first three seasons were enjoyable, they became repetitive. They each followed the same formula: the threat of the Upside Down looms over the small town Hawkins, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) has a connection with the villain of the season, a new character is unsurprisingly killed off, and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) magically saves the day.

As the show progressed, it felt predictable, to the point where it felt like there were few surprises and even fewer stakes.

The newest season brought the static nature of the show to an abrupt stop.

Season four portrays a thrilling and suspenseful story for its viewers. For the audience, it feels like a breath of fresh air compared to its predecessors. The season explores the idea of maturity through the setting, characters, and plot.

The fourth season adds a distance barrier that distinguishes the season. Instead of the plot being isolated in one location, the conflict spreads itself throughout Hawkins, California, and Russia.

After the events of season three, Will, Eleven, Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) have moved out of Hawkins, while Jim Hopper (David Harbor) is missing. The events of season four take place over the course of Hawkins High’s spring break. Mike (Finn Wolfhard) begins the break by visiting Eleven and the Byers family.

As supernatural murders unfold in Hawkins, Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink), Lucas SinClair (Caleb McLaughlin), Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), and Robin Buckley (Maya Hawke), are forced to navigate their way through this mystery without the usual help of the other characters.

By removing half of the cast from Hawkins, the overarching mystery becomes more challenging to solve. Things that were once easy, like accessing the Upside Down, police records, or magical powers, have all vanished.

The separation also forces all of the characters to become more independent.

In past seasons, Eleven’s very presence in Hawkins made the stakes feel dull. She was an easy solution to the supernatural mystery. Any plothole in the antagonist’s defeat could be justified by Eleven’s supernatural powers. No matter how high the stakes were, there was always an easy solution.

Having that easy solution be ripped away is what makes this season so unique. Seeing characters in Hawkins struggle for any possible clue and utilize all their available resources created a compelling and suspenseful mystery.

Though Eleven is not in Hawkins, the plotline with her in California is still wonderfully done and adds to the overall story. For the first few episodes, it provides a refreshing contrast to the dark nature of the Hawkins mystery. Instead of focusing on the supernatural side of things, the characters in California deal with “normal” teenage issues, like bullying and relationship drama.

Part of what elevates the plotline in California, as well as in Hawkins, is the absence of adults. Though Joyce originally starts out in California, she is sooned joined by Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) to investigate a mystery relating to Jim Hopper in Russia.

Season four portrays a thrilling and suspenseful story for its viewers. For the audience, it feels like a breath of fresh air compared to its predecessors.

Alyssa Cocchiola, editor-in-chief

Their absence allows the children in both Hawkins and California to demonstrate their growth as soon-to-be/young adults.

Though it was incredibly entertaining to watch the children make independent decisions and navigate their way through this dark mystery, it came with a price: the show sidelined Joyce and Murray.

While the stories in Hawkins and California quickly become intertwined, the relevance of the Russia plotline was unclear until the last episode. When the connection of the plotline was revealed, it was far too late for the viewer to care.

After eight long episodes of prison break-ins and screencaps of snow, it is easy to lose interest. Compared to the rest of the story, the plot feels stale.

The plotline in Russia succumbed to the same failure of the first three seasons: it was predictable. The plotline should have been suspenseful and nerve wracking, but it simply wasn’t presented that way. There was an obvious character shield, meaning that the protagonists were able to survive deadly situations where, realistically, their chances of survival would be near impossible. This made the plot feel even more dull, unsatisfying, and predictable.

In the final battle, the contribution of the characters in Hawkins and California felt natural and logical. Each character gave it their all to pitch in. The growth of the children especially was showcased wonderfully, and it felt rewarding to watch.

Meanwhile, nothing really felt rewarding about the Russia plotline. The relevance to the overall plot felt far-fetched and unrealistic, even for a show relating to supernatural elements. Still, there were heartwarming moments in the plotline that made it tolerable.

Though not all of the plotlines were as engaging as they could have been, another huge success of the season is due to the antagonist.

Vecna, the newest villain in ‘Stranger Things,’ is the most horrific creature from the Upside Down to date.

Pictured above is Vecna, the main antagonist of season four of “Stranger Things.” Photo by Alyssa Cocchiola, editor-in-chief.

Instantly setting himself apart from the Demogorgon, Demodogs, or the Mindflayer, Vecna is able to speak. Instead of a dog-like creature with thousands of teeth, or a giant spider-like cloud in the sky, Vecna has a humanoid appearance. This instantly makes him more unsettling and realistic.

His overall design elevates the season and taps into the recurring theme of maturity.

Just like the separation of characters, the addition of Vecna creates a more realistic feel to the season. As the characters are exploring a sense of maturity and independence, the antagonist and plot are more gruesome as well.

For many shows, as more seasons are added, the writing becomes sloppier. With “Stranger Things,” the opposite is certainly true.

Opinion Review

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

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 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

Welcome to the Hive!

The Hive Staff, 2022-2023

Alyssa Cocchiola — Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Ken Burchett — Associate Editor
Mallory Butcher — Associate Editor
Randall Hatfield — Reporter
Camryn Myrla — Reporter
Jesse Mitchell — Reporter
Logan Cook — Reporter
Avery Miller — Reporter
Alex Levy — Reporter
Cadence Gutman — Reporter
Aiden Hills — Reporter
Meadow Sandy — Reporter
Adam Grabowski — Reporter
Audrey Fusillo — Reporter
Ben Lang — Reporter
Jenna Bates — Adviser

*The Hive provides students with the opportunity to express creativity, to learn journalism techniques and principles, and to learn about the rights and responsibilities of public expression in our democratic society. The Hive is produced entirely by students and not subject to prior content review. Bio-Med Science Academy’s Governing Board assumes no liability for the newspaper’s content. Bio-Med’s Hive is a member of the Ohio Scholastic Media Association


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

A Bee’s Farewell to The Hive

by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

MAY 2022 — It is with a great degree of sadness that I say goodbye to The Hive. As I prepare to graduate next week, I must retire from my role as editor-in-chief. No words can adequately express how much I’ve gained from this experience. I am so incredibly proud of the staff, and as I embark on a new journey, I hope to find another community merely half as great as the one we all created.

The Hive was created during the 2019-2020 school year. It was founded by a group of students who wanted to form a newspaper club. Then, the following year it was converted into an elective class.

Pictured is a plaque displaying the former, current, and future editors of The Hive. As Bio-Med Science Academy’s student newspaper continues to evolve, this plaque will reflect the passing of the torch from editor to editor. Photo by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief.

This school year, as a staff, we wrote and published 109 articles which garnered a total of 9,638 views on our webpage. Additionally, The Hive won eight awards at the Ohio Scholastic Media Association 2022 state conference.

“I’m really proud of The Hive’s progress,” said newspaper adviser Ms. Jenna Bates. “We had some growing pains the first year. I think we worked out a lot of those last year, but because of Covid, it was on a very limited basis. So this year, we’ve really seen what [The Hive] can do.”

When I joined The Hive last year as a staff writer, eight students were on the staff, with five of them being virtual. Since then, The Hive has expanded to 15 staff members, the largest it’s ever been.

Bates commented on the expansion, saying, “I think it has worked out very well…. Obviously, three in-person writers and five virtual ones can only cover so much. Having the 15 staff members from grades nine through 12 was very helpful in terms of wider coverage of topics and developing a cross-grade community.”

Associate editors Alyssa Cocchiola and Ken Burchett discussed their experience as veteran members of The Hive.

“Starting out as a staff writer sophomore year was a bit intimidating at first, because I didn’t know what to expect. After my first article, I really started getting into the swing of things. I was fortunate enough to be the associate editor in my second year. And that was a really beneficial experience, because I was able to take the knowledge I learned about the AP style and apply it to editing. While I was able to help others, it also showed me how much I had grown as a writer,” said Cocchiola

Burchett remarked, “Recently, I was looking back at my old articles from last year, and they were really bad. Frankly, I believe I deserved more criticism for them. But looking at my article now, I can see the improvements I’ve made. My articles are longer, and more in-depth, and I know how grammar works. I am proud of my progress.”

Newer members reflected on their first year writing for The Hive.

Jesse Mitchell, a sophomore, said, “Coming into newspaper, I was terrified. I never really saw myself as a good writer, but I had many teachers who believed in me…. I didn’t know how I would do with journalistic writing. It was scary, and I didn’t have high hopes for myself. But looking back at it now, it was the greatest choice I ever made. I think I’ve come a long way.”

“Through writing for The Hive, I was blessed with the ability to do something I’m passionate about, and I met some great people along the way.”

Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

Senior CJ Delaney, said, “I came in without any experience writing in a journalistic style, so it was hard to immediately jump into writing articles. Everything I wrote didn’t feel natural to me, and I made a lot of the big mistakes journalists are often criticized for, like editorializing and sounding too much like an essay. As the year went on, I got a lot more comfortable with writing in this way, and I think that shows in my writing. I still feel like a beginner in a lot of ways, but I’m glad to have a year’s worth of experience.”

Many staff members recalled how their journalism skills had helped them outside of the newsroom.

Senior Elise Miller stated, “The interviewing process has almost forced me to learn how to talk to various types of people. This is essential in any area of life, and it’s helped me greatly. It’s also helped my communication with learning how to tell a story. I’m essentially communicating the story with whoever reads my article, so learning how to convey that has helped a lot with my communication skills.”

As a writer, Burchett gained awareness, saying, “Because I am a journalist now, I have to think about issues in a certain way. And I have to think about the different sides and what is contributing to an issue. So I think it’s helped improve my critical thinking skills about the way the world works around me.”

Cadence Gutman, a freshman, shared a similar sentiment, saying, “I think I’m more aware of the world. I’m constantly paying attention to things that happen around me now.”

The members of the staff all said that their favorite thing about The Hive is the environment and the community. From our matching sweatshirts to our themed potlucks and inside jokes, I would have to agree.

During the beginning of the school year the NOOK, Northeast Ohio Medical University’s bookstore, began making merch for The Hive. Additionally, for our December potluck, Ms. Bates gifted the staff matching bee headbands. Photo by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief.

“I love our group. It’s just the weirdest little oddballs, and they’re all fantastic,” exclaimed sophomore Mallory Butcher.

“The environment of the classroom was always a highlight. Even if I was stressed, tired, or in a bad mood, it was never the collective feelings of the room. People always seemed like they actually wanted to be there, which was nice. And Ms. Bates was able to put up with our bullcrap which was impressive,” said Delaney.

“As much as I love my friends in my other classes, Newspaper feels like a home to me. It feels like what Bio-Med wants family groups to be,” Burchett remarked. “It’s this community of people across grade levels. Even though we’re all different and only see each other one period out of the day, we all feel this family environment where we can trust each other and joke around.”

“It has been an incredible opportunity and honor to serve as the editor-in-chief. I am endlessly grateful and hopeful for the future of the newspaper and student journalism as a whole.”

Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

Though I will miss the great times we had, I know I am leaving The Hive in extremely capable hands. Next school year, Alyssa Cocchiola will serve as the editor-in-chief, and Mallory Butcher will join Burchett as an associate editor.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to be editor-in-chief. And I’m just as excited to help more people grow as writers and  keep up with what we’ve created so far with The Hive,” said Coccihola.

Butcher also looks forward to her new role, saying, “I am really excited. I love writing, and I love being able to fine-tune different aspects of my writing. I believe being an editor will make me a better writer.”

Looking to the future, many staff members have made plans for the upcoming school year.

“I am looking forward to doing more of the journalism process. I want to improve my writing, specifically my grammar and mechanics,” said Mitchell.

“I can’t wait to see what articles we can produce next year,” stated Cocchiola. “This year, we kind of all started out on the same page minus the editors. No one had taken a journalism class before, so we started at the beginning and learned the basics. But next year, we will only have incoming freshmen, so we can streamline that learning process. The current staff members will already have that experience, so they will be able to pursue the articles that they didn’t know how to this year. We also can all help the freshmen learn those skills and keep getting better.”

Through writing for The Hive, I was blessed with the ability to do something I’m passionate about, and I met some great people along the way. I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff and our adviser, Ms. Bates. Without them, The Hive would not have been possible.

It has been an incredible opportunity and honor to serve as the editor-in-chief. I am endlessly grateful and hopeful for the future of the newspaper and student journalism as a whole. I wish next year’s staff an even better year of reporting.

Bio-Med Bio-Med Journey

What is the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools?

by Alyssa Cocchiola, associate editor

MAY 2022 — Throughout my educational journey at Bio-Med Science Academy, I never once heard the term “independent STEM school.” In fact, I had never even considered what type of school Bio-Med was or how it received funding — that is, until I found myself standing outside the Ohio Statehouse building on a cold March morning, preparing to present to members of the Ohio General Assembly about the importance of independent STEM schools — a topic I first heard of on the car ride there.

It was then that I learned Bio-Med was not the only school of its nature.

In total, there are seven independent STEM schools in Ohio, meaning that they are not affiliated with a public school district.

These seven schools are Bio-Med Science Academy STEM School, Dayton Regional STEM School, Global Impact STEM Academy, iSTEM Geauga Early College High School, Metro Early College High School, Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School, and Valley STEM+ MF2 Academy. 

Together, these schools make up the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools, otherwise known as OAISS (pronounced oh-AY-sis).

Pictured above is a map of what counties contain an independent STEM school in Ohio. (Northeast region) Bio-Med Science Academy is located in Portage County, iSTEM Geauga Early College High School is located in Lake County, (Central region) Metro Early College High School is located in Franklin county, (Southwest region) Dayton Regional STEM School is located in Montgomery County, Global Impact STEM Academy is located in Clark County, (Southeast region) and Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School is located in Lawrence County. Four out of the five regions in Ohio contain at least one independent STEM school, with the Northwest region containing none.

It is projected that in fall of 2022, Community STEAM Academy, an independent STEM school in Xenia, OH, will open its doors to sixth through 10th grade students. Xenia is located in Greene county, and is a part of the Southwest region of Ohio. It is unclear whether this school will become affiliated with OAISS upon opening. More information about the Community STEAM Academy can be found on its website. Photo by Alyssa Cocchiola.

The mission of OAISS is to approach learning in a way that meets the workforce demands of Ohio. To fulfill this mission, each school focuses on mastery learning, hands-on education, holding themselves to a “higher standard,” and having a non-selective admission process, according to the OAISS website.

Bio-Med Science Academy’s Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Stephanie Lammlein, provided insight on this mission statement.

“The direction and pace our world of work is moving demands schools change to better prepare our learners for their adult journey.  One way to achieve this is through STEM. The work the independents are doing is helping to drive much needed change,” she said.

OAISS was initially formed just before the Coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020. Though the group is relatively new, the school districts had been collaborating with one another long before the official formation of OAISS.

“As the Superintendent of Metro Early College STEM School, I felt it necessary to continue the advocacy of Ohio’s STEM schools,” Meka Pace, the president of OAISS and superintendent of Metro Early College STEM School, recalled. “We have great programs — each uniquely different by location — but our schools are truly preparing students for jobs of the future. OAISS has been a tool that the independent STEM schools have utilized to further amplify our voices and our programs.”

This amplification of voices is especially relevant to how OAISS schools receive funding.

Pictured above is the official logo for the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools which was initially formed in 2020.In 2007, the Ohio General Assembly authorized the creation of STEM schools through Ohio law 3326. This law allowed for a school to be defined as a STEM school if it met the outlined criteria, which only applied to public schools, charter schools, joint vocational schools, and community schools. Later that year, the 127th General Assembly allowed for the creation of public independent STEM schools with Ohio Revised Code 3326 and a provision of the biennium budget. Graphic provided by Meka Pace. 

“We are funded through a state formula that looks at many categories and arrives at a number for each school,” Pace explained. “On top of what the state gives you as a base cost, there are some federal dollars that each school receives to support students with special needs, or students whose families have a financial need.”

Despite the state formula, a major difference between independent schools and district-affiliated schools is that independent STEM schools are not able to levy funds from taxpayers. As a result, if a STEM school wishes to expand, renovate a school, or build a new building, funds must be acquired differently. Typically, these funds are acquired through donations or grants.

“Our funding stays relatively flat,” Pace admitted. “On average, a STEM school receives around $8,000 per pupil, while some districts may bring in $12,000 per pupil.”

Lammlein added to this, stating, “We are still unpacking the new school funding formula in Ohio and how it has changed our revenue. At this point, I can say [independent] STEM schools are the lowest funded ‘type of  school’ in Ohio.”

Since the schools are primarily funded through the state, representatives of OAISS will occasionally speak to members of the Ohio General Assembly to discuss the importance of STEM education and independent STEM schools.

OAISS members strive to coordinate these meetings around two to three times a year, according to Lammlein.

I was recently able to take part in how these schools received funding during the most recent trip to the Ohio Statehouse March 2.

Pictured above are the students from different independent STEM schools (including Bio-Med) who were invited to attend the meetings at the Statehouse. These students were either juniors or seniors enrolled in OAISS schools. In total, OAISS representatives met with 55 officers. Photo provided by Stephanie Lammlein.

“The purpose is to ensure that our representatives know of us and remember OAISS schools when they are creating new funding opportunities or legislation,” Pace elaborated. “Since we are few in number, it is sometimes easy to be forgotten or overlooked, so we strive to make sure that they are aware of the good work we are doing and the need to have equitable funding for our programs.”

Representing Bio-Med, alongside me, were Lammlein and seniors Kelsea Cooper and Daniel Zalamea.

Prior to this trip, the three of us were asked by Lammlein to attend several conferences and meet with other students from Bio-Med’s partner schools in Columbus. Upon receiving this invitation, I accepted and didn’t think much of what these meetings would actually entail. I figured this experience would be a general, nondescript meeting about Bio-Med and how the school operates differently.

It turned out that my assumption was far from the truth. After a two-hour car ride to Columbus, I found myself standing right inside of the Ohio Statehouse building.

I remember looking in awe at the building when Cooper turned to me and said, “Did you know this would be at the Statehouse?”

I said that I had no idea the meetings would take us there.

Shortly after this conversation, Cooper, Zalamea, and I were separated into different groups, accompanied by other administrators and students from other schools. Each group attended meetings with different members of The General Assembly, addressing how independent STEM schools prepared students for the workforce.

Popular topics addressed were internships, mastery learning, learning pathways, and exposure to different careers early on.

“At this point, I can say [independent] STEM schools are the lowest funded ‘type of  school’ in Ohio.”

Stephanie Lammlein, Chief Academic Officer at Bio-Med Science Academy

“I had an overall positive experience with the OAISS Columbus trip,” Zalamea said. “Not only was it interesting to meet students from across Ohio who have had similar experiences to the one I have had at Bio-Med, but the opportunity to talk to members of the General Assembly and help push for a better system of education was fulfilling. I hadn’t heard about OAISS until the trip, and I imagine that the vast majority of Bio-Med students don’t know about it.”

Cooper agreed with this, stating, “I’ve heard of OAISS in the past, but I honestly didn’t know what it was prior to our trip to Columbus. I remember other teachers talking about OAISS, like ‘Oh, we’ve got this OAISS training,’ but that’s it.”

In my collaboration with others, it was clear that being unaware of OAISS or independent STEM schools was not a Bio-Med-exclusive experience.

“When the superintendent asked me to [go to the Columbus trip], I had no idea there were other schools like us. At first, it was a little surprising, but then it felt good to know that other areas are getting this kind of opportunity,” Neha Pasupuleti, a junior at Dayton Regional STEM School, stated.

Pasupuleti, Lammlein, and I had attended around four meetings with state representatives during the first half of the day.

Pasupuleti added, “It was important that all of the people who are making laws about funding for education and things like that, that they know that we exist and all the programs that we offer, so that they can help us really strengthen the ones we have and also make sure that this type of STEM school model is available for everyone.”

After a lunch break, the groups were slightly altered to accommodate for schools that left early. Following this, I attended meetings with Lammlein and Haylee Acquah, junior at Global Impact STEM Academy (GISA).

“That day was very humbling and a blessing,” Acquah shared. “It definitely opened my eyes and reminded me how special and resourceful our school is and how much of an impact I and the school itself can make on others.”

One of the groups of OAISS students and administrators were able to speak to Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who posted the following on Twitter that same day: “Lt. Governor @JonHusted met with students and leaders from Ohio’s seven independent #STEM schools this morning to hear from them about how they are preparing for their future careers in the field.”

Both Cooper and Acquah were able to speak to the Governor.

“He did seem to care [about STEM,] and he was the person who is responsible for STEM schools getting funded, so I think it was cool to see us talk about ‘this is what we need,’” said Cooper. “STEM schools can’t levy taxes, so we’re relying solely on state funding. We have to do all of these grants, but the problem with grants is you can only spend them on very specific things. It was cool to see. I think he was pretty receptive to what we were saying.” Photo obtained from the Ohio Alliance of Independent STEM Schools Facebook page @OHIOAISS.

While talking with Pasupuleti and Acquah, I realized how unique the experiences our schools offered truly are.

Though I had understood the motive behind having workforce-preparing opportunities, being able to speak to other students with similar experiences allowed for me to see the bigger picture as to why these things were important.

“Oftentimes, I’m like, ‘This is a Bio-Med thing. No one else really understands other than Bio-Med people,’ but seniors at Dayton have internships,” said Cooper. “It’s just [90] hours across two years, whereas ours are 120, 240, or 360, so that was interesting to hear about their project-based learning and how each STEM school has its own specialty.”

For students at Dayton, internship opportunities are usually completed during a student’s junior year. Pasupuleti explained that at the end of the year, students are able to complete internships during “STEMmersion days.”

“We have this opportunity at our school where, for two weeks, we get to immerse ourselves in a topic we like to do and teachers will propose different projects we can do,” she said.

Pasupuleti stated that most juniors complete their internships during those two weeks and/or during “Plan E” days, which are days where students complete coursework digitally. These days operate similarly to Bio-Med’s “Digital Days.”

In talking to students from other schools, mastery learning was also brought up. Like the internships, I expected mastery learning to look similar between schools. To my surprise, not all OAISS schools used the same definition of mastery.

I was informed by Acquah that at GISA, a student must receive a 90 percent or higher to be considered mastered in a subject and able to pass a class. At first, I was rather startled, as Bio-Med’s grading system operates much differently.

Instead of a 90 percent being the equivalent of passing, Bio-Med’s version of mastery revolves around rethinking grades entirely with the use of standards-based grading. When the grades are converted into a traditional letter scale, a passing grade would transfer to a 70 percent.

Despite these differences, however, Acquah enjoys GISA’s grading system.

“The benefits that I have gained from this particular grading system is that it holds me accountable, showing me that 70 percent isn’t enough. It also in some way makes me believe that my teachers know I can do better,” Acquah shared.

Though each school varies in how they approach their goals, each school meets the OAISS mission of preparing students for the Ohio workforce.

Pictured above is Dayton Regional STEM School. When it comes to internship and career-focused opportunities, students attending Dayton are exposed to college and career exploration opportunities in sixth grade by participating in an annual College and Career Fair. When it comes to internships, students are also required to complete a 90-hour internship that is “customized to fit their interests, strengths, and goals,” according to the Dayton STEM School website. Photo obtained from the Dayton Regional STEM School Facebook page @daytonstemschool.

“I like [the differences] because we are all our own school…our independent STEM schools should be able to serve their students in the way they fit best,” Acquah said. “I don’t believe we should have similar curriculums because it gives students a choice if they want to attend an independent STEM school or not.”

Pasupuleti agreed with this, stating, “We’re all super different. It’s not like we have Dayton Regional STEM School and just make that exact same copy in Columbus, Cincinnati, and all these other places. Each school is designed to its community’s needs, and although we have similar principals with project-based learning and stuff like that, I had no idea that there were more schools like us.”

During a rather long two-hour car ride home from Columbus, I was able to truly reflect on how unique each OAISS school was.

Though I had never stepped foot inside any of the other independent STEM schools before, it was apparent that the schools of my newly-acquainted friends had prepared them to be successful individuals just from the way they were able to speak publicly and present themselves.

Despite being in a nerve-wracking situation where we presented to state representatives and governors without a script or prior practice, each person I met that day exhibited the soft skills necessary for any successful individual: resilience, flexibility, self-regulation, problem-solving, and stellar communication skills.

Those skills are ones that, from my experience, are less common in students who were not exposed to workforce-preparing opportunities.

“Being ready for the workforce after graduation is important because the fundamental skills we learn at independent STEM schools are habits that can’t be easily enforced in adults,” Zalamea stressed. “We as Bio-Med students are able to become responsible people with teamwork skills because it is enforced in us while we are young. If you tried to teach an older student the same values, they likely would not accept that they need to work harder.”

Reflecting on the OAISS mission, I thought to myself during that car ride, “How come I didn’t know about OAISS or independent STEM schools before today?”

It was so odd how something could be so familiar and yet so foreign to the entirety of Bio-Med’s community. After all, each student and teacher were teaching and learning in ways that actively fulfilled the OAISS mission, and yet, the bigger picture seemed to be hidden.

Attending school the next day, I realized the answer to this question.

I walked into class and everyone was looking down at their computer screens. Any conversations I overheard were about schoolwork: people complained about how much effort a project required, spoke about how excited they were for their final project to be presented, talked about how they were having a hard time finding a place to job shadow, shared answers on their math homework in preparation for tests, and exclusively spoke of and worked on whatever task was due next.

As Bio-Med students approach the end of the school year, it is easy to miss the big picture, and instead, focus solely on what task is next. However, that mentality loses sight of the reasoning behind why hands-on learning, workforce opportunities, and mastery learning were engraved in the school’s very being in the first place.

After all, every day, students at Bio-Med and the other six independent STEM schools are constantly being exposed to tools, experiences, and lessons that aim to prepare them for what’s next, and after a certain amount of time, it just becomes part of their daily routine — few rarely ever stop to ask why.

I certainly didn’t.  

Though it is entirely possible the mission of OAISS may never be brought to the attention of every student who attends an independent STEM school, its relevance and implementation will continue to leave an impact.

It has impacted the lives of myself, my peers, and newly acquainted friends from the other independent STEM schools, and it seems there is almost no way the impact OAISS schools have will stop there.

The Hive reached out to administrators from Global Impact STEM Academy, Dayton Regional STEM School, iSTEM Geauga Early College High School, Tri-State STEM+M Early College High School, and Valley STEM+ MF2 Academy for comment. These administrators did not answer The Hive’s query.

Bio-Med Bio-Med Journey Narrative

Nothing Too Tricky For Bio-Med Teacher Miss Hickey

by Logan Cook, staff writer

MAY 2022 — Gregarious. Affable. Forbearing. These three words were used by Ms. Kaitlyn Long, Bio-Med Science Academy’s 10th grade history teacher, to describe her colleague, Miss Britany Hickey. Hickey is the 10th grade CTE Multimedia and Image Management teacher. She joined the sophomore team at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, along with Long and two other teachers.

Hickey poses with her two dogs, left to right, Gus and Grady. Gus is a labrador retriever and Grady is a golden doodle. Hickey’s favorite way to spend time with her dogs is to take them on walks. Photo provided by Britany Hickey.

Hickey attended the Trumbull Career and Technical Center (TCTC) for her final two years of high school. According to its website, TCTC allows students to gain experience and credentials in a field via Career Technical Education (CTE) classes. Hickey was a student in TCTC’s Interactive Multimedia program. Hickey was drawn to the hands-on nature of TCTC.

“I always thought I wanted to do sports broadcasting; that was my dream job growing up,” Hickey said. “In high school, I got to take a tour of TCTC, and going into the classrooms and seeing the state-of-the-art brand new broadcast studio there, where students could actually use it, that was a big draw.”

After graduating from TCTC, Hickey joined Baker Bednar Snyder & Associates Inc., an architecture firm in Howland, Ohio, as its marketing representative.

Through TCTC’s Interactive Multimedia program, Hickey was able to gain her Adobe certification and create a 20-page portfolio of her work, which she said was essential in getting the job at Baker Bednar Snyder.

“Leaving high school, I was able to show, for example, Baker Bednar Snyder, when I was applying that I don’t have a college degree, but I am qualified. Here’s my 20-page portfolio and my Adobe certification,” she said.

While working at Baker Bednar Snyder, Hickey attended Youngstown State University (YSU), and worked on the staff of The Jambar. The Jambar is the independent student newspaper of YSU.

“When I started at The Jambar, I would take videos for the paper. When I started at Baker Bednar Snyder, I changed to designer of [The Jambar],” Hickey recalled. “So I designed what you saw when it was sent to the printer. I took all of the stories and did the layout of the paper and sent it to the printer, got all that stuff ready to go.”

Hickey graduated from YSU with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and a minor in journalism in December 2020.

“I really like working with people, like being hands on. It allowed me to take what I love to do in terms of the content, and gave me that experience that wasn’t necessarily working in the nine to five office, and just make a difference.”

Miss Britany Hickey

Soon after graduating, Hickey applied for the CTE Multimedia and Image Management teaching position at Bio-Med.  

“I never thought about being a teacher. It was never something that I wanted to go to school for anything like that. I saw the position open up and I thought about it for a week or two,” Hickey said. “I was like, ‘I’m not really qualified to be a teacher, because I didn’t go to school for that.’ Then I learned about the CTE license in Ohio that allows me to use my work experience to get me in the door.”

Teachers in Ohio can teach under an Alternative Teaching License (AEL) if they have prior field experience. A teacher with an AEL is required to take certification courses, typically through a local college. Hickey’s field experience allowed her to teach her CTE Multimedia and Image Management course under the license.

Hickey was drawn to Bio-Med’s hands-on nature, alternative teaching style, and being able to make a difference in a student’s life.

“I realized that it was a really good fit for me. I really like working with people, like being hands on. It allowed me to take what I love to do in terms of the content, and gave me that experience that wasn’t necessarily working in the nine to five office, and just make a difference,” she said. “This was a different kind of making a difference. I get to change someone’s life, hopefully, or inspire someone to be creative or try new things.”

Hickey’s CTE Multimedia and Image Management class is a part of Bio-Med’s CTE program, which is integrated into every student’s curriculum. Having been a CTE student, Hickey said the transition from student to teacher was smooth.  

“It gave me that experience to base it off of, as opposed to if I came in here and was like, ‘Okay, now you’re teaching this new thing.’ I have been a student in the CTE field, and now I teach it. So, it helps me make you guys understand why you’re taking it. I can truthfully explain to you how [it] can be beneficial,” Hickey said.

“Bio-Med helped make the transition smooth. Bio-Med and CTE mesh really well together…. If you look at CTE learning, it’s very hands-on and project based, the same as Bio-Med,” Hickey said. “But you still have to find that balance of teaching, CTE versus Bio-med, and integrating the whole well-rounded experience. I just really think they fit well together.”

Despite the easy transition, Hickey’s position didn’t come without its challenges.

Hickey poses at a Cleveland Browns game versus the Indianapolis Colts. Cleveland won with a score of 32-23. Hickey is a lifelong fan of Cleveland sports, and enjoys collecting memorabilia of Cleveland’s sports teams. Photo provided by Britany Hickey.

“It is different being at Bio-Med teaching CTE because a lot of times, if you’re teaching CTE, it’s at a career center where students are coming there and picking a program. Now, I have to figure out an approach of ‘how I can teach students who couldn’t care less about Multimedia.’ They’re here for the engineering, or the STEM. How can I teach them and make them be passionate about this work?” Hickey asked. “So, now I’m teaching self skills, of how to market yourself as a small business owner to take pictures for social media to edit your photos. That’s the approach I’ve learned throughout the year, trying to teach something that everyone can apply.”

Hickey is looking forward to her second year of teaching and using the experience she gained to improve her teaching style. “I’m really excited to build upon the feedback that [students have] given me… [and] the feedback that I’ve given myself on these projects. Going forward next year, [I’ll be] just kind of changing, changing some things, making it more of an authentic learning experience.”

Outside of school, Hickey enjoys attending Cleveland Browns games, skiing, traveling, eating pizza, and spending time with friends and family, including her twin, Jasmine.

“I’m one minute older than [Jasmine]; she doesn’t let me hold that against her much though,” said Hickey.

Hickey enjoys collecting memorabilia of Cleveland sports teams, mainly the Browns and Guardians.

“I have a box of everything I’ve ever collected from brands, games and Guardians games, like all my memorabilia. I have a chair from Municipal Stadium that my dad gave me. I have a Pete Rose bat. My most prized possession is an Indians [now the Guardians] hat that I got passed down from my grandpa,” Hickey said. “I’m excited for the upcoming Browns season, and it starts right around the time Bio-Med starts too.”

Hickey plans to stay both a Browns fan and a Bio-Med teacher for years to come. “I love teaching, I am so passionate about what I’m doing. It makes everyday exciting. The kids just add to that, I love every single day here,” she said.

Bio-Med Spotlight

Immigration Detention Profits Off of Injustice. It’s Time to Change That.

by Randall Hatfield, staff writer

MAY 2022 — For more than 200 years, America has been seen as a cultural “melting pot,” a place where people from all backgrounds could come together and find a new, better life. Yet, the legislation of the immigration system creates a hate-filled, dangerous road for prospective immigrants to the U.S.

Language services are meant to be present during deportation hearings, but some of these services may be inadequate—or even absent—in violation of the law. As a result, many immigrants wait day after day for their chance to plead their case in an unfair trial.

“How can we call ourselves the land of the free if we’re so willing to abide by a system that makes money off of imprisoning guiltless people for profit?”

Randall Hatfield, staff writer

First, it’s important to clarify the difference between immigrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees. Amnesty International defines an immigrant as a person who intends to move to a different country for permanent residency, possibly for work, or civil unrest in their home country. Asylum-seekers are people who have fled their home countries in order to escape persecution or injustice. Asylum-seekers, once granted asylum, become refugees and are granted legal protection against being sent back to their home countries.

Because immigrating for asylum is typically done out of necessity, the law states that all asylum seekers should have the opportunity to formally apply for asylum in the United States, regardless of whether they entered the country legally. As long as asylum-seekers are able to prove before the law that they were at serious risk of being unjustly persecuted in their home countries, they can be considered for refugee status.

Despite this, undocumented asylum-seekers’ rights have been infringed upon countless times, resulting in the unlawful detention of many—the very thing that they came here to escape.

The 1903 Supreme Court case Yamataya v. Fisher established that all immigrants, entering unlawfully or not, have the right to ask for legal due process in a court of law. While this was a step forward, accessing information about the trial can be incredibly difficult. Even harder, detainees are not guaranteed the right to legal counsel, so those who cannot afford a lawyer may have inadequate legal help, or even to represent themselves in court without easy access to learn how to do so.

Data from an American Immigration Council study shows that only around 37 percent of all U.S. Immigrants have access to legal counsel to represent them in court. Graphic obtained from the American Immigration Council.

Immigration hearings can take months to happen, and in the meantime, detainees are sent to detention centers to wait. It would be more appropriate to call these centers prisons, as many of them are offloaded by ICE to private prison companies for profit.

Demographics in detention centers vary widely. Of those imprisoned, many have no criminal record, and many of those that do only have minor offenses, like traffic violations, on record. Ages vary, typically, those in ICE detention are between 26 and 35 years old, but people as old as 79 have been detained. Children are also detained frequently. In 2019, 69,950 children were imprisoned, according to NCSL.

Conditions for detainees are often poor. Cells are frigid, and many state that they were forbidden from showering, brushing their teeth, or practicing personal hygiene while stationed there.

Reports also indicate that many are deprived of proper nourishment, and the risk of disease transmission is greatly increased due to the close quarters and weakness. Since the pandemic, according to statistics on the ICE website, the spread of COVID-19 has affected 43,153 detainees, and 11 have died.

How can we call ourselves the land of the free if we’re so willing to abide by a system that makes money off of imprisoning guiltless people for profit?

A graph from Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse outlining the percentage of detainees without a criminal record. This data was taken April 24 and uses a sample size of 19,502 people. Graphic obtained from Transactional Records Access Clearance.

The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was put before the 117th Congress on February 18, 2021, and intended to reform the U.S. immigration system. The bill, if passed by the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, would work to open up immigration opportunities to all, making it easier to apply for permanent residency, and readdressing qualifications for employees of Customs and Border Patrol centers.

The bill will not magically repair every issue and injustice within the immigration system, but it will be a much-needed start to repairing this critical issue affecting so many people.

For more information about immigration in the U.S. and all around the world, I recommend the National Immigrant Justice Center, and Amnesty International. Movements like Amnesty’s National Week for Student Action are ways to get involved, and influence legislation at the national level.

At the end of the day, these are people — sons, daughters, husbands, and wives — are striving for the human right of a free life. We need to do better for the migrants and asylum-seekers that our country attracts. Only once all have equal rights and opportunity, can we have liberty and justice for all.

Opinion Politics