Category Archives: staff memo

Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Insults Sexual Assault Victims

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process has proved to be one of the most controversial and dividing chapters in United States history due to the accusations from Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor from Palo Alto University. Kavanaugh has repeatedly and angrily denied these allegations with Republicans backing him, but many of the Democratic senators are convinced he is lying, which has created contention between the two parties.

At this point in time, Kavanaugh has been officially confirmed to the Supreme Court, which shows that America’s priorities do not lie in whether a nominee is actually qualified to be a justice, but whether the nominee will benefit their party. Kavanaugh proved countless times in his testimony that he is completely unfit to be a bipartisan Supreme Court justice, with his emotional temperament and blatant lies.

Ford’s testimony, directly after, was considered to be credible even by non-believers of her claims. She never avoided a question, all of her claims were proved to be credible, and she has absolutely no reason to ruin her life just to “conspire against the Republicans.” Kavanaugh has now been nominated, and Ford’s life has been certifiably ruined, with her actually having to move out of her house due to the copious amounts of death threats she was receiving. And somehow people still blame her for spreading false accusations that they don’t for sure know are actually false.

Unlike Ford, Kavanaugh constantly avoided questions during his testimony, often refusing to answer questions that would be painfully simple had he been completely innocent. When one senator asked if he had ever been intoxicated to the point of not remembering events from a party in that time of his life, he replied “I don’t know, have you?” What kind of innocent man would say that under oath? He was also asked by another senator if he would support a full FBI investigation into the charges, and he refused to answer the question. If he was innocent, then he would be overjoyed to support an FBI investigation because it would prove his innocence. If I had been accused of murdering my wife, and upon being asked if I had done it I refused to answer, then people would have reason to be suspicious, as should they here.

One of the most important aspects to consider when confirming a Supreme Court justice is the nominees’ temperament, whether it be anger or emotion. A justice on the Supreme Court is not supposed to be extremely emotional about certain issues, and is supposed to be calm and collected in strained situations. The characteristics that I just described to you are the opposite of the ones exhibited by Kavanaugh during his trial. He cried in the the most odd moments: when he was talking about how his friends worked out frequently, when he detailed reading old calendars with his father during Christmas, etc. He also had numerous spouts of sudden anger that caught everybody at the hearing off guard. If Kavanaugh responded like this to important issues plaguing America in the Supreme Court, he would be seen as biased and partisan, but just because Republicans wanted the majority it was willfully pushed under the rug.

Even if all of the sexual assault allegations are ignored (which they shouldn’t be), the temperament issues alone, in a normal world, should be enough to immediately disqualify him from a seat on the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh also blatantly lied about quotes that were pulled from his high school yearbook. Throughout his yearbook entry, there are references that quite obviously allude to sexual encounters with fellow classmates, but he has created alternate meaning for these references. There are many of them scattered in this entry, but one of the most blatant lies is his excuse for the reference of the Devil’s Triangle. The Devil’s Triangle is a very specific sex act that involves two men and one woman, one that is relatively widely known. However, when asked, Kavanaugh claimed that it was a “drinking game.”

No, it’s not. I’m not sure what parallel universe Kavanaugh is living in, but a Devil’s Triangle is definitely not a drinking game. This is a blatant lie, and yet it, like so many others, was glossed over by all of the Republican senators who simply want a majority on the Supreme Court.

Kavanaugh’s conformation is a direct insult to sexual assault survivors all over the United States. Republicans could just as easily have found a legitimate nominee that did not have multiple assault allegations, but they decided Brett Kavanaugh was the one simply just to throw it in the Democrats’ faces. This case says to women all across the country, “Don’t come out with the truth, because nobody will believe you or care about what you have to say in the end.” The white male hierarchy of leadership has always unanimously controlled this country, and Kavanaugh’s confirmation has expressed to all Americans that it is no closer to changing than it was in the 80’s.

by joel alexander–student life editor  

Advertisements

Reduce Carbon Footprint by Joining the Eco Club

What would you expect to find when dissecting a shark? A half eaten fish perhaps? A less pleasant surprise awaited Faith Jones and Savannah Snider, two Sophomores (at the time, now both Juniors) in Mr. Murphy’s biology class, dissecting their first ever shark. Whilst examining the contents of their fishy friend’s stomach, they discovered that their particular shark’s last meal was a plastic straw.

Human beings have evolved from a once primitive state and have developed the ability to shape their environment, creating new materials at a molecular level. With this new-found power comes great responsibility. Plastic straws may be very practical when sipping on a Mcdonald’s shake, however their usefulness quickly dissipates, even as their lifespan continues for many decades in the ocean.

Jones, Snider, and their friends Brighton Craig and Hannah Cook (also Juniors) decided to make a difference in their environment. They have chosen to take an active part in maintaining the health and viability of their physical environment and “we invite you to do the same!” (Snider)

“I joined the Ecology club, because it’s fun, and I felt that we can make a real difference in the community.” says Hannah Cook.

The Ecology club meets every Tuesday during A+ in room 700. Some of the projects they are organizing this upcoming school year include cleaning highways and organizing classroom marker recycling. If you cannot make it to the meetings, you can try helping the environment from home. There are quite a few, very simple things you can do that make a huge difference in their environment. You could reduce your carbon footprint by carpooling with friends to school. You could help reduce plastic waste and help our shark friends improve their diet by investing in a couple reusable straws. Lastly, even recycling absolutely everything you can goes a long way!

Your physical environment has a direct impact on your well-being. Join a club that makes a difference!

by celeste pollack–news editor

Establishment of New School Safety Officers Assures Student Safety

In the year 1994, the School Resource Officer (SRO) deputies in school program was established. Then, in 2017, a program for new School Security Officers (SSO) was recently established in a state law. Each of the three high schools in Fauquier County has already been assigned their own SSO. These SSO’s consist of MDS Settle at Fauquier High School, Corporal Tindle at Kettle Run High School, and Deputy Meyer at Liberty High School. There has been a new SRO assigned to each high school including Sal Torelli at Fauquier High School, Franz Mahler at Kettle Run High School, and Jeffrey Crane at Liberty High School. Officers must have served as an officer within the past ten years, and must undergo additional training. The officers must have also left their previous place of work in good standing. These new officers have been sworn in by the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office. The duties of the officers include social media monitoring, drill assistance, and of course daily building checks.

“When a parent sends their child to school, they want to know two things for certain: Is my child safe, and is my child learning,” Superintendent David Jeck said. “By adding these positions, we’ve come a long way in better addressing the first question. Clearly, our schools will be much safer places with the addition of these officers.”

This is exactly what the county is aiming to achieve by making sure the schools are secured, and the students are protected.    

by abbie mills–staff reporter

FHS “Help Box” Put Into Action to Fight Vape and Juul Issue

There’s no doubt that juuling and vaping has been an issue at FHS. Others juuling/vaping in the bathrooms and some even say they’ve seen students juul in class. This issue has been ongoing for roughly a year now, and students are rising up to put a stop to underage nicotine consumption.

This summer, four FHS students and FHS guidance counselor Mrs. Harris attended ‘YADAPP’, the ‘Youth Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Project’ hosted by Longwood University. The mission of this conference was to develop youth peer leadership that fosters high school prevention of substance use at the state and local levels. Camden Gillespie, a senior at FHS, is one of the four students who attended this conference.

“It was an amazing experience to go to the YADAPP Conference with people who had the same mindset as me,” Gillespie said. “I was able to learn a lot about how drugs affect not only your body, but [also] your mind. We really wanted to provide help for those who need it, which sparked the idea of the help box.”

The help box is new at Fauquier High School. If a student has a concern about another student whether it be juuling, vaping, or anything that could be harmful to oneself, they’re able to write it down anonymously, and place it in the help box. A counselor will then meet with the student  and begin moving forward. Mrs. Harris made it very clear that the help box is not used to “tell on students,” but is for struggling students who need help.

“The help box is not used to get someone in trouble, it’s more of ‘I am concerned about this person and I think they may need some adult help,’”  Harris said.

Students had a lot to say when they were asked their opinion on juuling/vaping and the help box. Senior Gage Russell, a senior at FHS,  said “There is a time and a place for everything, so if you’re going to juul, wait until after school.” When asked about the help box he responded with “I think it’s a good idea, but I also think it could be used for negative purposes. For example, if someone has a grudge against another student, it would be simple to write down someone’s name and slip it in the box.”

Junior Dakota Trimble, shares a similar opinion. “The help box is very stupid. If you are mad at someone and want to start a problem with them, you could just put their name in the box.”

Senior, Jake Trimble said, “The help box reminds me of the middle school ‘bully buzzing’ (which was also an anonymous box where you could report bullying), but I do think the help box could be useful in getting students the help they need.”

Dr. Croft, a science teacher at FHS, feels that the help box is useful. “I think the help box is a good thing, as long as it’s anonymous and people are not abusing it and falsely reporting students to get them in trouble. But I think the counselor will be able to figure that out in case that happens.”

When asked her opinion on students juuling/vaping, she replied with “I think it’s very stupid. It’s dangerous because they put extra chemicals in those things. Chemicals like fentanyl, which are in some juuls and vapes, could really hurt you.”

Will the help box bring awareness to a sensitive, but vital issue at FHS? It is certainly a move in the right direction.

by chelsea valdez–staff reporter

Break the Silence; Spread Awareness

On an average day in Virginia safe houses, particularly domestic violence safe houses, shelter 505 adults and 356 children according to the Attorney General’s Annual Report. Although, in Fauquier County, the only county in the state of Virginia with no safe house, there is no haven for victims to go. This has motivated Fauquier High School students to help make a change, along with Taylor Middle School and the Warrenton Youth Town Council. Juniors Hannah Cook and Hannah Robbins, members of the Warrenton Youth Town Council, and Heads of the Domestic Violence Committee organized Fauquier high schools purple out. Both were baffled over the fact that their county had no safe house and decided to do something about it by launching a purple out and raising awareness about the issue. Cook explains further in depth, “Basically this is through Youth Town Council, and Taylor Middle School came to us with the issue of domestic violence, and it was started because Fauquier County is the only county in Virginia that doesn’t have a safehouse. [A safehouse] is a spot that people who are domestically abused or have experienced any issues can go to seek asylum.”

Three featured events took place the week of the purple out; an informative meeting on October 10, the purple out on the 12 and a domestic violence awareness fair at Liberty High School on the 13.

The informative meeting took place in the cafeteria and featured two social services workers who explained the event on the 13 and promoted F.A.C.E.S (Fauquier Abuse Coalition to Empower Survivors). They provide many services for survivors to help them get back on their feet.

The schoolwide purple out took place on the 12th of October and was foreshadowed when several students painted the spirit rock purple on October 5th. One issue that arose from the purple out was that the traditional pink out was also in October and some students and teachers were upset. Senior Bridget Ward said, “A few people were bummed we didn’t have camo or a pink out, which I get is disappointing. Students spent money on the zoo shirt but didn’t even get to wear them to the [last] football game.” Ward also added, “A Lot of people don’t realize they’re in the midst of an abusive relationship, but I was disappointed some students did not really support it.” Tim Henson, senior and zoo captain had his own take on it, “The pink out is another important awareness campaign, I think people often get held back by tradition rather than embrace change I believe bringing awareness to this issue that plagues our and many communities is extremely important.”

The final hurrah that took place in Fauquier High School was the purple out football game. Youth Town Council and Falcons for Change ran a bake sale and sold purple ribbons in which all the proceeds went to help victims of domestic abuse. Towards half-time a man rushed past the bake sale table and gave the students 10 raffle tickets and quickly left. Later on, they discovered within those tickets was the winner of the raffle. $125 went towards their donation and at the end of the night they made over $600. They left with a table empty of baked goods and a heaping wad of cash that would soon go to support survivors of domestic abuse.

On October 13 at Liberty High school Taylor Middle-School hosted a domestic violence awareness fair. Purple ribbons and balloons framed the doors and the Taylor Middle School students donned purple capes. The aim was to raise awareness and money to help victims of domestic violence, with a particular focus on raising money to build a safe house The family-friendly fair featured vendors, bake sales,  informative booths and a live band. The Warrenton Youth Town Council promoted themselves and gave out popsicles at the event. Junior Calista Hamm remarked, “I think the campaign is a great thing for a couple of reasons one of which being that the topic of domestic violence doesn’t really come up in an everyday life of a student and it is something that should be talked about more because it’s a real world issue whether we like it or not”

[24-hour helpline for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual abuse (540)-422-8460.]

by nayeli arellano–staff reporter

Who’s Texting You?

Imagine you’re having a fun time with your friends, but suddenly you get a text from someone you don’t know. The text says that someone has complimented you, or you’re beautiful, not telling you who is saying these things. The message just simply has a compliment and a random link. You click on the link and it brings you to a strange site.

Recently, in Fauquier County, multiple teenagers have been receiving very strange texts. These texts are sent by random numbers, and the message has a link attached that sends them to a very strange site. The link sends you to either the app store, a pornographic or adult site, or even just a blank page that cannot be reached. We have yet to find out what the mysterious texts are, and who exactly they are coming from. One group of Fauquier High School students, that asked there names remain anonymous, told the sheriff about these text. The school sheriff said “do not answer the text, and that they will send them to investigation.” I also asked Fauquier High School’s Vice Principal Mrs. Tapscott and she said “This is the first time I am hearing about this, but it sounds like it could be dangerous, and I would advise that you stay away from these texts.” Both the sheriff and Mrs. Tapscott advise that students should stay away from these texts. Meaning that receivers of these strange messages shouldn’t click on the link and do not  respond because we don’t know exactly who they are coming from, if it is just a scam, or maybe even something criminal. The safest thing is to just ignore it until we find out what it is.

by tyler young–staff reporter

Banned Books Restrict Students’ Freedom to Read

Last month, the Fauquier High School Library had an exhibit on banned books, encouraging people to read freely. This was to show that everyone has the freedom to read what they want unchallenged. On the exhibit there were multiple “Banned or Unsuitable” books from the American Library Association’s Banned & Challenged book list. The books had paper bags with laminated cards saying what someone might find wrong or offensive with them. Most of the books were about subjects that, to some, are offensive or bad in their ideals, like a book that is pro-socialism or contains racism and violence. The stand was at the entrance and had books going around it, allowing you to walk around, lifting up the bags and check out the books, making your own judgements about them.

The stand exists and stands in the open to prove that you can read what you want, formulate your own opinions, and not just listen to what other people tell you. Free reading is important because it allows us to learn about the good and bad of the world while changing our views about it at the same time. The other, and some might say the more important, goal is that books allow you to learn while contemplating and making your own opinions about issues. In some cases, this is as important as an unbiased press as it promotes change and stops the suppression or molding of a person’s ideas, like controlling the press. This is why we have the the First Amendment and why it is so important, if someone were to control what people believed or said, they would have all the power in the world. Some of the greatest threats to democracy have started like this, like Stalin’s purges of people unloyal or disagreeing with him. This is why the evil dystopias portrayed in books and movies, like 1984, are so terrifying, because it is all too real, and in some cases has actually happened, like the brutal dictatorship of North Korea. They are our living, breathing, modern-day warning about censorship and the strangling of knowledge, and it’s very hard to miss the message. The final thing the stand shows is that reading is still relevant; in this day of smartphones, reading is still as important as it was 100 years ago.

by nicholas tselides–staff reporter