Category Archives: Youth on Assignment

Silence the Violence

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Derek Ngo-Phan
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

Photo Illustration: Derek Ngo-Phan, Sociecity

Photo Illustration: Derek Ngo-Phan, Sociecity

Now let me get your attention and tell you a tale
of why I believe that humanity has started to fail
It’s a situation, that we all have been
A deed that’s done, it’s recognize as a sin
So my job is to make this effective and change your view
To change your perspective, so madness undo

It starts with a false utopia where we all wear a mask
A world where we accept it all, where no questions asked
No one inspire to inquire, No one transcendental
Deprived of essence, following an unstated fundamental

Photo Illustration: Derek Ngo-Phan, Sociecity

Photo Illustration: Derek Ngo-Phan, Sociecity

People who pretend to appreciate what are receive
But behind the cover is a face that deceives
They all are naive, not knowing what to believe
Lack of truth causing us to misperceive

A social phenomenon leading towards mistrust
Not reaching a consensus, can’t decide what are just
We need to stop spreading this mental pollution
So to resolve our sin I came up with a solution

Photo Illustration: Derek Ngo-Phan, Sociecity

Photo Illustration: Derek Ngo-Phan, Sociecity

Revise your thoughts so you cease to generalize
Show some empathy so we can compromise
Not trying to criticize, Only want to sterilize
Cleanse the mind so we all start to realize

It seems that people in society
Is stained in the brain by only negativity
Alter the mind to forget about anxiety
And stop focusing about animosity

Just silence the violence, don’t even discriminate
Life is short which leaves no space for hate
Live life for joy is my only philosophy
Create new morals for future humanity

==

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Right and Wrong

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Markus Wright
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

Markus Wright | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

Markus Wright | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

Everyone around me is doing wrong and I’m expected to do right. Smoking weed in the dark so no one sees who they really are in the light.

Getting sucked in like the first bong hit. Losing your self bit by bit. Torn apart by good and bad. Forgetting the right mind set you had.

Relieving the stress just to make more regrets. seeing things you’ve never seen before, getting asked questions you’ve never been asked before.

Your answer is yes cause you don’t know right and wrong anymore.

==

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One Person’s Trash… is Private Property

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Arlene Gonzalez
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

Photo: Megan Schnabel, Sociecity

Photo: Megan Schnabel, Sociecity

Do you consider the trash in your trash bins to be public property?

Many people would agree that once the trash bin is on the street awaiting to be picked up, yes, it is public property. However it doesn’t stop people from complaining about those people who go through trash bins looking for soda cans or any other type of recyclable objects. One could say that when people go through the bins it is a violation of property and that is illegal [and by law in some localities, it is].

“Its MY trash and I don’t think its okay for them to just go through my trash…”

Eleven out of the 33 people I interviewed said they would not like if people went through their trash bins.

“Its MY trash and I don’t think its okay for them to just go through my trash on trash days or on any given day!” Said Erica Martin, one of the people I asked on this subject.

However I also asked Cristina Lucero who responded by saying “I don’t mind if they go through my trash when my trash bin is out on the curb awaiting to be picked up, obviously whatever I have in there has no value to me, so hey, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”

In a way it is very easy to understand why people would have problems with someone going through their trash. Even if the trash is going to be dumped into a truck, people have this sense it is their property.

Has anyone stopped and thought of what these people looking through trash cans go through?

Most people who have to sell cans and are underprivileged, or may not be able to find a job. The only way they have of bringing in any income to their family is going through trash bins and find cans to resell to a recycling plant. This not only helps people of low income but it also helps the environment.

Some of these people who go into trash bins help the environment by getting cans people so carelessly put into the trash and take them to get recycled. So the next time you see someone looking for cans in a trash bin, don’t be so quick to judge them.

==

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Islamaphobia

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Mariam Abdo, Sukii Basma
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

Prisoner. Al Qaeda. Saddam. 9/11. Taliban. Jihad. Bomber. Anarchist. Suicide Bomber.

Photo by Mariam Abdo | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

Photo by Mariam Abdo | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

What is the first word that pops into your mind after reading that list? What’s the second word? When we see a person who looks Arab or someone who’s wearing a hijab, many of us assume they could be a terrorist.

When I was a little kid, I didn’t know that that Muslims were labeled as “terrorists,” so I never knew why people would always stare at my mom, but now it all makes sense. Many Muslims including women who wear hijabs are also automatically labeled as a terrorist because of how they’re dressed.

Ever since 9/11, Muslims have faced more discrimination than ever.

Islamophobia is prejudice against, hatred towards, or irrational fear of Muslims. The word was first introduced as a concept in a 1997 British Runnymede Trust Report, the report defined Islamophobia as the “dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, the fear and dislike of all Muslims.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the levels of indirect discrimination went up by over 80% and racial profiling had increased at the US airports. [sage journal] Many Muslims say that they have been singled out for more TSA searches for no reason other than the way they look and dress. Because of their beards and turbans sikhs are often profiled as belonging to a specific religious group.

Only in a society where us youth understand the dangers this phobia, will the phobia disappear.

Based on responses from the people we interviewed, Islam is viewed as a very conservative and dedicated religion. Do we fear muslims because we’re told to be scared of them, or do we genuinely fear them for realistic reasons? We interviewed one of the employees of CAIR (Council on America- Islamic Relations) about Islamophobia, and asked why people fear Muslims. Her response was that the “media and the political force” played a major role.

People get an ugly image about Muslims because the media is a linkage institution. Media portrays negative images of muslims. American activist and vocal Islamic critic, Pamela Geller’s bus ads show Osama Bin Laden and the burning of twin towers, The tag line says, “That’s his jihad, what’s yours?” Such popular political figure heads are a big reason why many people paint a negative image of Muslims.

Is Islamaphobia a trend that keeps getting uglier and uglier? I feel like Islamophobia is just a new way of starting a trend. America likes to innovate all of these bizarre things, and its so easy to get people to bandwagon. Its easy to brainwash a society that doesn’t do its own learning. In other words what I’m trying to say is that many of us in America are easy people to trick, hence the government’s successful use of fear as a tactic for controlling public opinion since the 1900’s.

Anti-Jihad Advertisement (Credit: Pamela Geller)

Anti-Jihad Advertisement (Credit: Pamela Geller)

Once, on the September 11th anniversary, I was leaving school and taking the light rail back to south San Jose and I was standing on the platform, just waiting. Nothing particularly eventful had happened all day. Then out of nowhere, this man starts growling at me, under his breath, I couldn’t tell what he was saying at first, because it was so deep and angry sounding, then I heard he was saying “mother fucker,” and “go back to your fucking country.” I had never been that close range to someone so hostile, and I just kept staring straight ahead. He moved closer to me and leaned against the phone booth and started to say “you mother fucker, go back to your fucking country you sand nigger, the muslims bombed America so America should bomb all the muslims.”

It was really scary but I was incapable of doing anything. Mind you the platform was completely full, finally my train came and I waited to see if he was getting on, when he didn’t, I got on and prayed he wouldn’t follow me. After that I took a deep breath and realized that what hurt me the most wasn’t that this man was speaking out of ignorance. This man was a product of this society’s media.

I believe Islamophobia will eventually die out, but we have to realize that we still have generations alive that were born in the racism era.  Only in a society where us youth understand the dangers this phobia, will the phobia disappear.

==

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Special Needs and Inclusion in the Education System

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Alycia McGeever, Natalie Lazzeroni, Yajaira Acosta and Megan Schnabel
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

Photo: Alycia McGeever, Sociecity

Photo: Alycia McGeever, Sociecity

Every child is considered unique, and every child is said to deserve an education. But in some cases, children are more unique than others and deserve extra attention. Children with special needs such as downs syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy, along with other mental and physical disabilities present an issue over how they fit into the American education system.

Children with special needs were not always included in public education.

Before the 1960’s, mentally and physically handicapped children had no other choice but to be home schooled by their parents or a very expensive tutor. It wasn’t until President Kennedy created the President’s Panel of Mental Retardation, and Lyndon Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965 that the first major steps were made in expanding the access to public education for special needs children.

Today, there are laws protecting these children, their parents and their right to education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees all children with disabilities a free and appropriate public education. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against families with special needs children, and requires that care providers and teachers make necessary accommodations for that child. Section 504 of the ADA also requires that schools provide special needs children with reasonable accommodations they may need. These children are now getting the education they deserve, however, in most cases it is nowhere near the same as the average student.

Before the 1960’s, mentally and physically handicapped children had no other choice but to be home schooled by their parents or a very expensive tutor.

The question is: is this system of inclusion — or lack of inclusion — an act of neglect on behalf of the schools, or is it the best way to treat these special education students? For this topic there are many points of views to think about – from the teachers, both special and regular ed, to the students, the aids, and even their parents. Gerson Castro, a ninth and eleventh grade history teacher, told us that there are three things to think about “the teachers, the student and the classroom.” High school photography teacher, Mary Cheung says that the overall feeling of integrating special needs students in mainstream classes from teachers “is not realistic, but idealistic.”

Teachers, and people in general, believe integrating special education students would be great, but there’s no possible way the teachers or students could meet their needs. The teachers would have to teach to the “lowest common denominator” and slow down the whole class. The students can not afford to do that.

Even parents believe students should not be integrated in mainstream classes.Laura McGeever, a mother of a twenty-two year old son with cerebral palsy, believes that students should be integrated more through elementary and middle school rather than high school where there’s a larger student to teacher ratio.

Photo: Megan Schnabel, Sociecity

Photo: Megan Schnabel, Sociecity

Special education classes — usually small numbers of students — have curriculum much different than regular classes. A special education middle school teacher, Tirini Shresthra, shared with us her routine. She focuses on reading, writing and math; basic skills needed in order to survive in the outside world, like telling time. She teaches her students with varying mental disabilities “depending on their [academic] level.”

In a high school within the San Jose Unified School District, the students are taught basic life and independent living skills such as cooking and money management; they are given classroom jobs, along with lessons in reading and math.

These students may not be included in mainstream academic classes, they are, however included in elective courses. Many of the students in these classes take elective courses such as PE, art and woodshop. These classes allow special education students to interact with others and get out of the environment of a special needs class. Many teachers and parents, like Shawn Gardere, a high school special ed teacher, think this type of inclusion — social rather than academic — is not only much more achievable, but “very important” in the development of special needs students.

Social exposure and inclusion allows special education students to interact with other students and feel like a part of the school.

Making these students feel included and “as normal as possible” is a major goal for teachers and parents.

“I encourage them to play with other students outside the classroom,” Tirini Shrestha told us. This social interaction is a learning experience in itself; exposing special needs children to this environment teaches them how to act with others and in public places and everyday situations.

They learn to make new friends and they feel included, while giving them that independence. “They go out to lunch by themselves,” Gardere told us, “this school is very… inclusive…we don’t have many issues.” Gerson Castro, Gardere’s colleague at the high school, claimed that other students would “stand up for [special needs students],” and that there are very few incidents of teasing or bullying. “It simply isn’t tolerated,” Castro says.

Photo: Natalie Lazzeroni, Sociecity

Photo: Natalie Lazzeroni, Sociecity

Being exposed to a good environment gives these students that interaction they need, so they don’t feel isolated from the rest of the school. Even if they aren’t included academically, they still feel a part of something. That, for mothers like Rhonda Schnabel, is one of the most important things for these children. The term special education is not a demand for isolation or a derogatory phrase meant to be feared, it “simply means they need special services.”

These students are not outsiders, Schnabel says, they need to be included one way or another, because “they’re people, just like us.”

==

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Graffiti, Crime, and Untapped Talent

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Nicholas Melchor, Jeilah Evaristo
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

Photo: Karsten.mcvay [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

Photo: Karsten.mcvay [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

Scribbles on a warehouse wall. What do they mean? Often times, one might never know. For this reason alone I find it important to discuss the heated debate of Graffiti; the act, the art, the reason, and its meaning.

Graffiti’s origin is tough to find but it is found on the ancient ruins in Rome. This early graffiti showed phrases of love declarations, political rhetoric, and simple words of thought compared to today’s popular messages of social and political ideals.

This reason alone drives much of graffiti today. Many claim graffiti is vandalism and vandalism alone. Some say that the defacing of public and/or private property is never okay. But would you call art defacing?

Graffiti is art. Sure, some may not use it as such, but when it is, it becomes much more than those scribbles you see on the wall. A simple “get up” or “tag” does lack artistic value at times, especially from the common eye. But these are merely a quick way for an artist to get his name or crew out there, or even practice. These small tags lead to more extravagant pieces from artists.

Graffiti can transform anything into a canvas, waiting for the blessings of an artist. It has been shown in many art galleries and major museums across the world [New York, Los Angeles, Paris] and if that isn’t a sure tale sign of art, I don’t know what is.

It is all about expression. Through art for some and for others through a message. Many forms of graffiti around the world have been used as a way of anonymous communication to the public. In the revolution in Egypt, graffiti played a role by displaying the people’s opinion on certain occurrences. Pictures of civil unrest, police brutality, and public silence are among the messages seen on numerous walls across the streets of Egypt. These pieces not only express the artists views, but enlarge others feelings that they may share on common issues.

I understand that graffiti may be considered as “repping” a gang or showing off how much pride you have for your hood. Only people see the negative sides to graffiti and only look at the sides of town that are ran by gangs. Some say graffiti escalates to a bigger problem, as in it becomes a federal crime. Yes, that happens but only because people of the law see graffiti as some type of threat. These people only point out the negatives, not seeing the untapped talent the city has to offer. They don’t embrace the beauty that graffiti has to offer.

…people only point out the negatives, not seeing the untapped talent the city has to offer.

When graffiti is on a wall people think that part of town is scary, dirty or the “ghetto” part of town. It gives life to a city, it may be seen as a negative but it gives off color to a plain and hurt city. Graffiti is a law that is broken daily because it damages private property. It damages the physical appearance of the value, usefulness, or normal function of the property. I agree that graffiti does destroy property in every way but if its peaceful, inviting, warming, and has no type of gang relation, why be against it?

Graffiti has much to offer to society, whether through artistic or meaningful expression. It just takes another look and a deeper insight into what the paint stands for. Before we criticize, let us try to understand the process and the meaning behind the very art we look at.

==

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The Art and Message in Graffiti

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Ryan Tran, Eric Gonzalez, and Adrian Morales
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

photo by Ryan Tran | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

photo by Ryan Tran | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

Graffiti has been on the rise all across the world for the past four decades and is seen as a way of expressing an underlying social or political message. Graffiti writers have been roaming all over the world bombing, tagging, and painting their way into societies consciousness. The rapidly developing art has evolved within the hip hop culture alongside other elements such as hip hop music, b-boying, and DJ-ing. Graffiti is constantly being challenged and raising controversy in our modern day society; city officials, law enforcement, and writers dispute on whether or not graffiti is a legitimate art.

What is truly art? Unfortunately for artists, the battle for legitimacy is not in their favor as many of the major cities in the U.S. such as San Francisco, New York, Chicago have consequences that range from a jail term, monetary fine, or community service. Being caught in the act could result in up to twenty two years in prison in the Santa Clara county. Public officials argue that graffiti was once a small problem, but has escalated to a nationwide epidemic costing billions of dollars each year. Not only does graffiti create fiscal problems, but the common tool used in graffiti, spray paint, has many negative environmental effects.

Graffiti is generally associated as a form of rebelling against authority, and those rebellious attitudes may derive from a wide range of reasons.

Although being challenged by most of society, artists persevere and continue to display their work for the world audience to enjoy. Graffiti is generally associated as a form of rebelling against authority, and those rebellious attitudes may derive from a wide range of reasons. An example includes the anarchy-punk band Crass, who promoted a campaign of stenciling anti-war, anarchist, feminist, and anti-consumerist messages throughout the London Underground system during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Rebelling any sort of authority still exists with today’s graffiti in America, and even other countries. Every graffiti artist has different styles and signature pieces according to their attitude towards the authority in which they rebel against. For example, “throw-ups” portray an artists signature image to all viewers. When others see this certain style, they know who’s it is. The creator makes it their own, original, new. The simplicity of a throw-up shows a graffiti artist’s sense of style and character in their work. The different styles help express the individuals feelings.

A common misconception is that all graffiti is associated with gang territorial tagging. While most artists do it for a positive change, others (gangs, criminals, etc.) use it as a form of “marking territory” and that is what usually influences city officials to take charge.

photo by Ryan Tran | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

photo by Ryan Tran | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

Graffiti is made not to vandalize a certain area or to go up against the “man” but to express the way a artist sees things or to show what they call art. Many also do it because they love the “font” or writing they see from others and express the same feeling they get from graffiting. Their purpose is also to show the community something different, to think different from others.

This form of art to some is currently regarded as a crime. Controversy is always brought up when speaking of this subject. Vandalism is the most brought up point in this conversation, but no one ever sees the other person’s point of view that is doing this graffiti, or tagging. In a way, doing this is keeping artists out of worse, more harsh, crimes.

A majority of people say graffiti destroys everything. On the other hand, it can be viewed as a way to protect one’s life, not destroy it. It helps express and focuses the mind of a person as an artist’s mind would do.

Yes it may be a violation to public or even private property, but it is better for artists to be squeezing down on can caps than gun triggers.

==

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Immigration in America

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Matt Navratil
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

Photo Illustration: Matt Navratil, Sociecity

Photo Illustration: Matt Navratil, Sociecity

Back in 1492, when Columbus sailed the seas
where they immigrated to a new land
without green cards or fees
where they decided to settle

They encountered many Natives
who welcomed them to the land
but Columbus could care less
and so their lives were panned

Later in 1609, English came to Plymouth
and were escaping their old ways
and set up a family
to immigrate on the bays

The United States would then be formed
single state by state
a new country would be made
to seal the nations fate

The country founded on immigration
opens its doors for many to come
until too many people arrived
then said time is done

Now in 2013, times have changed indeed
Yet people still have problems
when immigrants a-come
It ruins culture and society?
I think thats pretty dumb.

So think back to your roots
where your family may be new
and immigrated to somewhere
around the ocean blue

We should accept immigration
not shun it away
where we learn about new people
each and every day

==

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Standing Alone

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Jesus Gonzales
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

Photo by Jesus Gonzales | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

Photo by Jesus Gonzales | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

This place was my escape from school, at least for 15 minuets.

This place is filled with so many different worlds, where everyone wanted to be.

There was the land of the apes, where you could swing from branch to branch. There was land of the tornado’s where you swung round and round into it blurred reality.

There was the Waterfall Kingdom, so many different waterfalls, Ones that went straight down, curled ones, ones that just dropped, and ones that went up and down.

There were animals, and jets that you could take for rides.

Photo by Jesus Gonzales | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

Photo by Jesus Gonzales | Sociecity Youth on Assignment

This is the land of everyone, no one owns it. Once you enter this land, time is non-existent.

But, this land has been replaced with a new land. This land is very appealing but deceiving. The very people that populated the old land, are stuck in the new land, and once you’re in it is very rare that you will go back to the old land.

For a while I was fooled myself, but I have opened my eyes and now I see, that technology was getting the best of me. It makes me sad that kids today are so trapped in technology, and do not go outside anymore.

I fear that the old land will die out soon, and will never thrive anymore.

But I’ll be there.

Even if I am the only one.

==

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Technology: Destroying or Improving our Children?

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Ruby Hidalgo
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

Photo: Ruby Hidalgo, Sociecity

Photo: Ruby Hidalgo, Sociecity

There are two common opinions when it comes to technology and the use of it in this generation, that technology is improving our way of living, or technology is hurting the development of our generation.

Although some individuals believe that, because of technology, our generation is wasting their time as they tweet about the latest episode of Honey Boo Boo, I believe this assumption is inaccurate.

Before technology was available as easily as it is now people occupied themselves with other things. In the sixties the radio became popular and people began to listen to it just as much as we use our technology now. People used it to stay informed of what was going on around the world. But to the older people who were raised with out radio it seemed as a waste of time. The same phenomenon occurred when the television was introduced.

Our generation is benefiting from technology by using it as a learning tool. Information is more accessible and it helps them communicate between peers. This is true for students who are home-schooled and need to take classes online, or young children who use computer software to learn in school. There is a big difference between misusing your time on your electronic device and using it as a tool to complete your homework, or a source to finish a project.

Technology needs more credit than just being looked at as a waste of time. Yes there might be people who choose to misuse their time and instead of doing their school work they spend their time updating their Facebook status. Ultimately its up to the person whether they want to use technology as a tool or as a form of entertainment.

“I don’t hate technology when used to better the students education, I hate it when it’s used to distract students from their work.”
– Gunderson Photo Teacher

At River Glen elementary, a kindergarten teacher seems very open to the idea of children learning through the use of technology, telling me that her “students use laptops with software that helps them learn basic grammar skills.” She also explained to me how she believes that using technology is only beneficial to students as long as its being used in a productive way. “The same way students can learn on these laptops they can waste their time and learn absolutely nothing.”

At Henry T. Gunderson a high school photography teacher believes just the opposite, because her students are constantly on their phones distracted. In the interview I asked her how she felt about technology being used in the classroom and she immediately, and with no hesitation said, “I hate it!!!” Further in the conversation she stated “I don’t hate technology when used to better the students education, I hate it when its used to distract students from their work.” She also explained what bothers her the most and happens quite often in her class, “Sometimes my students are are to lazy to look up how to spell something, but they’re quick to pull out their cell phones and play a game of Fun Run.”

This proves to me the the different ways in which technology can be used and the reason why some people have a different opinions about technology. If you are surrounded by high school students every day that waste their time on their phones of course you are not going to approve of technology being used as much as a teacher that has students who only use technology for learning purposes.

At the end of the day it all depends on personal choice and weather you choose to misuse technology or not.

==

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Same-Sex Marriage vs. The World

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This article is part of Sociecity Youth on Assignment, a program where Sociecity Editors work with high school students and their teachers to help students create articles that bring to light real, challenging social issues affecting their lives. [/box]

by Carley Robinson, Liam Eagan
Gunderson High School, San Jose, USA

"Gabrielle d'Estrées et une de ses soeurs" c. 1594

“Gabrielle d’Estrées et une de ses soeurs” c. 1594

Why is it a human response to disregard things that we do not understand? It’s almost as though we feel attacked, so we put others down in order to make ourselves feel better. Everyone has different values and it will always be that way, but instead of judging someone’s belief systems, why don’t we learn more about what it is that we don’t understand?

This stands not only for homosexuals, but other controversial things as well. Each idea that goes against societal norms gets looked down upon, and constantly rejected due to the many different judgments. With each idea that breaks those societal norms, the two things that seem to always be constantly making an impact are religion and politics.

It is commonly believed that same-sex marriage is not protected by the constitution, and therefore it should not be legalized. Society presents laws in a way so the people themselves feel more comfortable and safe. When the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into law, 49% of the American public opposed same-sex marriage equality. The DOMA prevents the federal government from even recognizing legally married same-sex couples.

Although there have been problems involving the DOMA, there has also been tremendous progress as well. Jonathan Capehart, with the Washington Post, explains, “Three-quarters of voters (75%) believe that [same-sex marriage] is a Constitutional right.” It has been proven that marriage does not have the highest priority over other issues that deal with the economy. Yet, in each mind it’s different. In each home there is a different struggle, a different need.

You may not understand why the controversy of passing same-sex marriage is so important, because it does not affect you personally. It’s until something affects you, that you begin to get defensive about your rights.

When the churches get intertwined with politics, how are the innocent minds supposed to distinguish the difference between religion and state?

This defense mechanism stands for all values. Brittany Baker argues the inappropriate relationship between religion and marriage “Our country is composed of diverse people who hold countless different belief systems, faiths, and ways of life. It concerns me that one single religious point of view can prohibit an entire group of individuals from being able to express love for another by entering into marriage, something that the majority of us take for granted.”

Religion plays a significant role in a large portion of people’s lives; but what about those who are not religious? When the churches get intertwined with politics, how are the innocent minds supposed to distinguish the difference between religion and state? On the contrary, religion has many great teachings to share with the world. Every single person has their own opinions and views, but how can the world prosper if no one has the courage to view life differently than how they’ve been raised?

There is the argument that homosexuality is wrong because of the inability to reproduce. Some argue that the child has a right to both a mother and a father. On the other side, what about the homosexual couples’ right to a child? Regardless of the parents’ sexual orientation, the child would be in a caring home. The child would be well taken care of because the parents’ would have planned and prepared for the child.

Yes, the male and female are here to procreate, and that will always stand. As Marilyn Adams explained in their paper, Fertility Religion versus Human Rights, “Heterosexual married couples shoulder much of the responsibility for making sure that the human race goes on.” But if same-sex marriage were legal, how would this stop the human race from progressing?

Throughout history segregation and discrimination have been a huge downfall with our system. Eventually the majority of issues get overturned and figured out, but as one issue gets handled, another one evolves.

Tom Head brings up an interesting view point in his article on 10 Really Bad Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage, “…You have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.”

Same-sex marriage is not a crime; it is simply a bond between two individuals of the same-sex who want the same rights as a heterosexual couple.

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