Commentary: Abortion Bans Are Anything But Pro-Life

by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Interest Opinion Politics

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

by Mallory Butcher, staff writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Interest

Can Men Be Feminists?

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

“In my lifetime, many more women entered the workplace, but women still only earn about 80% of what men earn, even when they have the same job,” said Mr. Brian McDonald, the ninth-grade English Language Arts Instructor. “I think this should remain a woman-centric topic. But men can certainly be allies within the fight toward more equality.” stated how “…feminist men need to do more — and different — work both internally and collaboratively in order to advance feminist ideals in support.” However, not all people think this way, as some have different views on the feminist movement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Interest

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

by C.J. Delaney, staff writer 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Interest

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

by Cadence Gutman, staff writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Interest

The Portrayal of Teenagers in Television

by Camryn Myrla, staff writer

MARCH 2022 – From “The Brady Bunch” to “Euphoria,” the depiction of teenage characters has changed dramatically as the television and film industries have developed over the years. Originally being shown as perfectly well-behaved, teenagers in the media can now be seen as nuanced young adults. Is this new portrayal helping its viewers by being realistic, or is it a bad influence?

During the mid-twentieth century, teenagers were typically minor characters in family-friendly television shows. In classic sitcoms from the 1950s like “The Real McCoys” and “Father Knows Best,” these characters often only made mistakes when they were used for comedic relief.

Throughout the next twenty years, through TV shows like “The Brady Bunch,” which first aired in 1969, teenage characters continued to be either popular and sporty students, or outcasts with low self-esteem.

This blueprint of superficial teen characters was slowly erased. By the late 1970s, the trope had been practically abolished, as teenagers in television were then written as young adults. At the same time, older actors were cast to play teens due to labor laws; minors could not work the same amount of hours as adults.

One example is a 30-year-old Olivia Newton-John playing a high-schooler in the 1978 “Grease,” alongside a 34-year-old Stockard Channing.

“Grease” was one of the first movies to defy the “goody-two-shoes” era in teenage characters, depicting sex, smoking, unwanted pregnancies, and more.

The late 1990s and early 2000s challenged the old-fashioned stereotype even more through shows like “My So-Called Life,” “Gossip Girl,” and “Pretty Little Liars.”

These pieces were among the first to depict high-schoolers facing genuine problems in their lives. However, as the popularity of this portrayal of teenagers increased, so did the displays of nudity, drug use, and violence.

Today, it is normal to find these concepts in shows like “13 Reasons Why” and “Outer Banks,” which have millions of viewers. For example, the second season of “Euphoria,” which aired in January 2022, has gained around 16.3 million viewers.

Since these new depictions have been in place for decades, multiple generations have been affected. 10th-grade history teacher Ms. Kaitlyn Long, born near the end of the Millennial generation, recalled this type of portrayal and believed that it was not accurate of how teenagers behave.

“For as long as I can remember, it feels like teens in TV shows are always played by people older than teenagers… and I don’t think that’s a very realistic depiction of teenagers that age,” she said.

Additionally, some oppose these shows, as they think teenagers should not be shown taking part in inappropriate activities. Even older Bio-Med Science Academy students believed that the nudity of teen characters is unnecessary in media.

Junior Keira Vasbinder regularly watches TV-MA shows involving teenagers, despite believing that they do not accurately depict students her age. “Drugs, sex, and more are being made the main focus in shows today. Even if that’s not what [the show] is trying to promote, kids our age can take it that way because that’s what they want to see.”

Meanwhile, others believe it is a realistic depiction of teenagers, even if it may be hard to watch.

“We live in such a privileged place where not everyone is doing what is being shown in these shows,” said Kylee Staggs, an 11th-grader. “I think it’s so bad to ignore that these things are actually happening to [teenagers].”

“The issue is that many [TV shows today] are catered to teenagers, but written by adults,” Staggs continued. “Kids are very impressionable–it can leave a very big impact if they aren’t taught about these things correctly, and adults are showing everything in a very stereotypical way.”

At 13 years old, Destiny Wheeler, a seventh-grader, watches “Euphoria,” a show that is rated TV-MA for its displays of violence, nudity, and drug use involving teens. A notice addressing this content can be seen at the beginning of each episode. Photo by Camryn Myrla, staff writer.

While she believed that it is not appropriate for people her age, Wheeler appreciated the realistic depiction of “Euphoria.” In particular, she enjoyed the portrayal of Rue Bennet, a high-schooler suffering from drug addiction.

“If [viewers] are using these kinds of shows to normalize [its content], it’s a bad influence, but if [people my age] are okay with watching this kind of stuff, I would recommend it to them. I like that [‘Euphoria’] shows the side effects of drugs on Rue,” Wheeler said.

All students interviewed believed that certain shows depicting high-school students in mature scenarios, like “Riverdale,” “Euphoria,” and “13 Reasons Why,” are not appropriate for people their age, yet had watched at least one of them.

This could be due to peer pressure, which Vasbinder struggled with when “Euphoria” was first trending.

“I only started watching ‘Euphoria’ because everyone around me was watching it. I had to stop watching because I had a strong emotional reaction to it,” Vasbinder said, regarding the graphic scenes in the show. She chose to stop watching “Euphoria” after finishing its second episode.

“If the peer pressure around me was just a little stronger, I would have kept watching, even though the show gave me such a negative reaction,” she added.

Though many teenagers and adults alike think that they are inappropriate, modern shows depicting high-schoolers still receive audiences of millions.

“I’m not sure if the question is whether or not [teenagers] should be watching these shows,” Staggs said. “The bigger question is ‘How do we raise the average teen’s ability to discern what they should and should not do?’ Adults need to figure out how to properly write about [teenage characters], or else teens will keep thinking that we are supposed to do what’s being done in these shows.”

General Interest

What is Wordle, and Why is it Everywhere?

by Randall Hatfield, staff writer

MARCH 2022 —As a result of pandemic lockdowns, puzzle games rose in popularity, and even as restrictions eased, a public interest in simple games like 2021’s Wordle remained.

Wordle was initially created by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle in 2013. The game, which was a prototype at the time, had been set aside, until the pandemic caused Wardle to release it. His partner, Palak Shah, was a big fan of word games, and so he dedicated himself to finishing and releasing it to pass the time.

In October of 2021, Wardle decided to release the game to the public, where it steadily accelerated in popularity. As of January 2022, the game had three million global players, a number that has continued to grow over time.

The principle of Wordle is to match each day’s hidden word within six guesses. Yellow squares mean that the letter is a part of the hidden word in a different spot, while green squares mean the letter is in the correct place. Gray squares indicate that the letter is not used. The Wordle website allows people to share their results via emoji, correlating different colored square emojis to match the players’ guesses. Photo by Randall Hatfield, staff writer.

The game has found an audience among many in all walks of life, and many students at Bio-Med Science Academy have played it.

Students attempt to solve the daily Wordle during a school break on March 17th, 2022. Photo by Randall Hatfield, Staff writer.

Clare Haddon, a sophomore at Bio-Med, first heard about the game through her family and social media. “I saw people talking about their streak and how hard the word was,” she stated, “and it kind of became more popular from that.”

“I want to keep my streak, and it’s fun,” Haddon said about the game.

Junior Skyler Earl stated that she has been playing an average of one to two times per week, since around January 2022. “It’s quick, and pretty easy to play,” she stated, “and my friends play it.”

Wordle is not the only game of its kind to have gained popularity. After its meteoric rise, many other reimaginings have been made using the game’s basic premise. Simple iterations, like Dordle, involve maintaining the same rules as typical Wordle, while doing two puzzles simultaneously. Also available are Quordle, Octordle, and Sedecordle, to solve four, eight, and sixteen puzzles simultaneously.

Other Wordle-adjacent puzzles have taken a completely new approach to the puzzle. Nerdle, created by Richard Mann, encourages the player to find a hidden math equation using the numbers zero through nine as well as simple mathematical symbols.

Though the basic interface of Nerdle seems different from Wordle’s, the principle stays the same. Problems can also have two different signs, adding a level of difficulty to the puzzle. Like Wordle, the squares tell players if the numbers and symbols are found in the hidden equation. Black squares indicate that the number or symbol is not used, purple squares indicate that it is in the incorrect place, and green squares indicate that it is in the correct spot. Like Wordle, Nerdle gives its players six tries to guess the problem, and can also be shared via text message through emojis. Photo by Randall Hatfield, staff writer.

Mrs. Christina Aronhalt, the eleventh-grade math teacher, spoke about Nerdle. “I like the challenge. It pushes my mental math skills and makes me think more about order of operations, and the satisfaction of getting it completed in the least amount of tries possible is intriguing.”

With her praise, she also acknowledged that there are some things about it that could be improved: “I feel like I would redesign part of Nerdle, because it doesn’t consider order, even though operations within Nerdle could be done in different ways to still get the same value,” Aronhalt said.

Further iterations include Worldle and Globle, both tasking the player with identifying a specific country in the world based on its shape or proximity. Another, the Heardle, plays a progressively longer clip of a popular song that players must guess. Prattle, by the Folger Shakespeare Library, lets players uncover a word present in the works of Shakespeare.

Olivia Opritza, a junior at Bio-Med, spoke about her favorite Wordle parody, Taylordle. “The Taylordle is a Wordle that uses words related to Taylor Swift,” she explained. These words can be related to song titles, or notable events.

Part of the appeal of Wordle and its iterations is how cyclical the game can be. Each day, players can only complete one puzzle, and the puzzle is the same for everyone. This makes it easy to compare and compete with others. It also helps space out each attempt, to ensure that players will not get burnt out too quickly.

Puzzle games like Wordle can have personal benefits as well. A study conducted for the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry on word games shows that they can increase cognitive function in older adults. The members of the study who regularly played these games had improvements in memory over those who did not.

Wordle, overall, has been a simple source of daily entertainment for many, as well as a way for people to connect with each other in the post-pandemic world. The game’s audience, like the puzzles, is varied and it has something for all age ranges to enjoy. Though simple, small puzzle games like Wordle can give players a quick intellectual challenge that they can enjoy as well.

General Interest

Commentary: Teachers Are Quitting And I Don’t Blame Them

by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief

Many American workers are taking part in the “Great Resignation.” According to NPR, the phrase refers to the roughly 33 million Americans who have quit their jobs since the spring of 2021. Teachers across the country have followed suit, leaving their profession in a mass exodus. Photo by Havann Brown, editor-in-chief.

MARCH 2022 Unsurprisingly, schools across the country are struggling to find and retain permanent teachers. Educators are quitting, and they will continue to leave in record numbers. Teaching was once seen as a stable career with the potential to positively impact the next generation; however, in recent years, teachers have been left without support while being expected to thrive in a broken system. At a certain point, they must choose what’s best for themselves, which may involve leaving their profession. If the education system continues down this path, will we have any good teachers left?

According to a poll conducted by the National Education Association, 55 percent of educators say they will leave teaching sooner than they had initially planned. The specific reasons for contemplating resignation vary from concerns about their health or frustrations with an education system that never met the needs of its students and staff.

While some teachers struggled with remote learning, others did not want to return to the classroom. The sudden quitting and retirement of teachers created a teacher and substitute shortage, exacerbating a problem that existed prior to the pandemic. Due to the shortage, administrators and teachers struggle to cover multiple classes throughout the day. As a result, teachers are losing valuable planning time, reducing the quality of instruction that teachers are able — and expected — to provide that day.

Unfortunately, many of the problems leading teachers to resign were not addressed before the pandemic either.

For instance, teachers are extremely underpaid. In Ohio, the minimum starting salary for a teacher is only $30,000. Many educators do not choose their profession for the money, but that does not mean their salaries should be an afterthought. We need to recognize that choosing a career in teaching is one of the most important and impactful decisions a person can make. Teachers are vital to society, so they should be compensated as such. When the profession can no longer compete with outside positions offering more flexibility and higher pay, teachers might run out of reasons to stay if they do not receive the support they deserve.

In addition to classroom instructors, educators might find themselves as makeshift social workers, surrogate parents, security guards, nurses, or gears operating in a broken system. Being a teacher is no small task. With the job comes unparalleled physical, financial, and emotional stressors.

Outside of school, teachers are also scrutinized by parents and lawmakers.

There’s been a wave of policies designed to regulate curriculums and control teachers throughout the past few years. For example, legislation like the “Teacher Transparency Bill” would require schools to post all instructional materials online at the beginning of the school year. In theory, the goal of this bill is to allow parents the opportunity to examine their child’s educational content. However, it will undoubtedly be used to further restrict teachers from effectively doing their jobs and remove “divisive topics” from the classroom. Instead of labeling teachers as proponents of indoctrination, people should trust that they are qualified and capable of teaching their students.

Our teachers need help. We must find a path forward that draws more people to education careers and keeps good teachers in the classroom.

The Center for American Progress found declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs. According to the report, “nationally, more than one-third fewer students were enrolling in 2018 than in 2010. Ohio posted a decline of nearly 50 percent, and was one of nine states where the drop in enrollees totaled more than 10,000 between 2010 and 2018.” Not only are teachers quitting, but people also are not entering the field. We cannot afford for teaching to become obsolete.

I believe that the majority of people who go into education want to make a positive difference in the lives of their students. People are not quitting because they want to. It’s because they are not left with many other options. America’s shortage of teachers has long been an issue, but the effects of the pandemic will only worsen the situation. Policymakers and administrators must meet the needs of teachers to prevent burnout and increase retention. We must listen to teachers’ concerns to prevent the foundation of our education system from collapsing.

If teachers are resigning because that’s the best choice for them, I don’t blame them. Quite frankly, I would probably quit too.

General Interest

Women’s History Month Continues to March Towards Equality

by Meadow Sandy, staff writer

MARCH 2022 – This year is the 35th annual Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month was created to celebrate the contributions of women throughout history. Every year, a Presidential Proclamation is issued to honor the achievements of women in the United States. President Joe Biden stated in a press briefing, “This Women’s History Month, as we reflect on the achievements of women and girls across the centuries and pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way, let us recommit to the fight and help realize the deeply American vision of a more equal society where every person has a shot at pursuing the American dream. ” He continued, “ In doing so, we will advance economic growth, our health and safety, and the security of our Nation and the world.”  

In 1980, President Carter first declared the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. Six years later, The National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the week to the whole month. In 1987, Women’s History Month became a month-long celebration observed annually in March.

The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” The theme was chosen to highlight the work of frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to recognize the many ways women have provided hope and healing over the years.

Bio-Med’s Feminist Club watched a video trying to determine if all feminists think the same. They later talked about Women’s History Month and the significance it holds. Photo provided by Meadow Sandy.

Bio-Med Science Academy junior, Lorna Benden, is a member of the school’s Feminist Club. Benden offered their opinion on how Women’s History Month is recognized, “I think we should be more vocal about it. It should be discussed and I feel like we should just celebrate people [as a whole.]” They continued, “Feminism plays into it because feminism is about equality for everyone, so I think during Women’s History Month we should be teaching how feminism has opened up opportunities for everybody.”

“It’s a month to celebrate women as a whole and the struggles they had to go through,” Alex Silvers, a freshman, stated.

He continued, “To me, it means that both men and women should be treated equally. I think we should make it [Women’s History Month] much longer.”

Many colleges and organizations around the country host various events to celebrate Women’s History Month.

Kent State University celebrates Women’s History Month by setting up different events throughout the month, which can be found here. Kent State’s Women’s Center Program Coordinator, Winnie Bush, commented on how Kent State will celebrate. “Kent State University hosts various educational programs to celebrate. Various offices, academic departments, and centers across campus are hosting different events/initiatives to educate the students, staff, and community at large.”

Bush elaborated on the importance of celebrating Women’s History Month, saying, “There is nothing I would necessarily change [about celebrating] but I would just encourage people to celebrate women all year round. We should not wait for March to celebrate the investment of women in our country.”

To find events celebrating Women’s History Month, click here

General Interest

Blood on Backorder

by Jesse Mitchell, staff writer

Pictured is Tessa Wood, a junior at Bio-Med Science Academy, who donated blood for the second time this year on March 10, 2022. Wood described the process as “pretty quick and fun.” As a part of donating Wood got to track where her blood went after she donated, and in her case, it went to UH Portage Medical Center in Ravenna, OH. Wood encourages others to donate saying, “If there’s any time to donate blood it’s now. Most people don’t know you can donate under 18 but you can donate as soon as 17 in Ohio.” Photo provided by Tessa Wood

MARCH 2022 – The American Red Cross reported January 11, 2022 that the United States is experiencing a national blood crisis, another unprecedented change caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis is being referred to by the American Red Cross as “the worst blood shortage in over a decade.” The organization described the effect of the shortage, stating, “The dangerously low blood supply levels have forced some hospitals to defer patients from major surgery, including organ transplants.”

The American Red Cross is one of the leading health organizations around the world that works to aid in humanitarian efforts in the medical field. In the U.S., the American Red Cross accounts for donating and collecting more than 40 percent of the country’s blood and blood component supply. In addition, the American Red Cross is the leading facilitating agency for blood drives in Northeast Ohio and is responsible for collecting and providing blood for many hospitals in the local area.

Christy Peters is the regional communications director for the American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region. During the month of January, the peak of the national blood crisis, there was less than a one-day supply of Type O blood, Peters said in an interview with Record-Courier, “We’d like to see a five-day supply.”

In Northeast Ohio, major hospitals affected by the national blood crisis include University Hospitals, Mercy Health, and Cleveland Clinic. The Record-Courier interviewed Dr. Christine Schmotzer,the Division Chief of Clinical Pathology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in February of 2022.

In the published article, Schmotzer described University Hospitals’ strategy, which has been to monitor its blood supply amounts cautiously. She further added that its blood bank has been working with other divisions of the hospital, “looking for ways we can safely decrease usage so we can have enough to cover as many patients as possible.”

WKSU, a local radio station based in Kent, Ohio, conducted an interview with Dr. NurJehan Quraishy, who works in transfusion medicine at Cleveland Clinic. In regards to the blood supply at the hospital, Quraishy said, “There might be a delay, but we have managed.” There is also a new process Quriashy described as “triaging,” where the hospitals evaluate if patients can wait to receive blood until the next shipment.

The American Red Cross said that, “On certain days, some hospitals may not receive as much as one-quarter of the blood products requested.” The organization noted that this crisis has led doctors and hospital staff to make, “difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available.”

The cause of the national blood shortage has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing Omicron variant. During the beginning of the pandemic, the American Red Cross noted a 10 percent decline in volunteer donations, citing low turnout of donors due to the safety risks posed by the epidemic. In Northeast Ohio, some of the added struggles have included recent winter weather and worker shortages keeping donors at home, worsening the low blood supply.

Pictured is a blood drive from March 11, 2022, on the NEOMED campus. This blood drive was facilitated and run by the Red Cross in the NEW Center to allow students of both the university and Bio-Med to donate blood. This is an example of a string of blood drives the American Red Cross has been running recently to get more donors to give blood. Photo provided by Tessa Wood

The effects of the pandemic go further than that, according to Jim McIntyre, who works for the American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region. He said, in an interview with Cleveland 19 News, that part of the reason for the sudden national blood supply crisis is because hospitals put off elective surgeries during the height of the pandemic in 2021. Now that COVID cases have started to fall, hospitals are reducing those procedures as the amount of emergency cases from the pandemic has dropped.

Through the challenges of the pandemic, the American Red Cross has remained “grateful for donors,” and understanding of donors and what is best for them. The American Red Cross encourages all Americans and Northeast Ohioans to come to their blood drives and donate if possible. McIntyre said to WKSU, “People can make appointments to donate blood. It’s the only way to mitigate the shortage.” The Red Cross plans to continue working tirelessly to ramp up Blood Drives and slowly curb the effects of this national blood crisis. Ultimately though, they “need the help of the American people.”

For those interested in donating blood or blood products,  visit The American Red Cross’s website to find upcoming blood drives in the local area.

Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Mercy Health, and the American Red Cross did not respond to The Hive’s request for comment on the situation.

General Interest Health STEM