Eating disorders plague teens

photo illustration by natalie smith
photo illustration by natalie smith

Though individuals often suffer under the radar undetected, eating disorders are everywhere. While both the skeletal ideal displayed in the media and the insecurity and stress of adolescence are factors, the roots reach significantly deeper in most cases, complicating recovery.
“They might be 100 pounds, but they look in the mirror, and the way they see themselves is so different than what everyone else sees,” guidance counselor Julie Kirk said. “There’s something that is causing them to think differently, and that is what needs to be reworked.”
The two primary eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Although both disorders involve excessive concern with body image, someone with anorexia focuses on losing weight through strict control of the amount eaten, while a person with bulimia goes through cycles of binging and purging. One out of every 200 American women currently suffers from anorexia, and two to three out of every 100 American women struggle with bulimia. An eating disorder usually emerges as a coping mechanism for some stress in the individual’s life.
“Kids might turn to drinking, drugs, self-harm, or eating disorders, which are all forms of self-medication,” Kirk said. “Most people with eating disorders might start once they are in high school because of stress or family life, and that is their control, how they cope.”
Graduate Elizabeth Bennett says her eating disorder came on gradually, but the night she discovered her parents were getting a divorce, she first tried purging. After that she began restricting her food intake and counting calories. Similarly, junior Jane Eyre’s eating issues developed in response to family stress.
“I think it started because I didn’t really have any control over anything in my life,” Eyre said. “My mom and dad used to be really strict, so it probably started so I could have something to control in my life.”
Peers might notice symptoms when a friend purges in the restroom or they witness a battle at the dinner table with parents about eating, but the disorder usually plays out behind the scenes. People with eating disorders report experiencing a continual internal dialog with their condition.
“The voice is there all the time, especially when food is around,” Eyre said. “At the beginning it felt more like a voice talking to me, but the more I got used to it, it was hard to tell which voice was me and which was the eating disorder. It’s, like, ‘you’re fat.’ So you’re, like, ‘I’ve been doing everything I can.’ And the only option is to either not eat or purge it all. It calms down for a little while.”
Teens with eating disorders report that the voice subtly intrudes as part of their thoughts and feelings, convincing-them of their worthlessness, and ensuring they don’t eat.
“You trust it because it plays on your insecurities. Since it’s in your head already, it knows what you’re insecure about, what you’re paranoid about,” Eyre said. “It tells you stuff like, ‘If you take even one bite, you will gain 20 pounds. You will have failed yourself. You will have ruined your life. You’re disgusting.’”
Food becomes an obsession, and in many cases, the calories of all the food eaten in a day are accounted for. As the disorder progresses, the quantity of food consumed decreases, and the body begins to starve.
“I don’t want to be super underweight,” Bennett said. “I want to lose some weight, but not a lot. So I tell myself, ‘It’s fine, you just lose that much weight, then you’ll stop.’ But once you reach that point, it’s not going to stop there.”
The disorder advances like a virus, polluting almost every aspect of the victim’s life. As the symptoms become overwhelming, the person often feels hopeless and out of control.
“It can definitely feel like it’s consuming my life,” Eyre said. “It feels like your insides, like in your chest, there’s a big black pit, but it hurts somehow and it’s sucking at you, and the only thing that stops it is throwing up or exercising. There was a period of time where I would literally stay up all night just exercising when I felt too guilty of what I was eating.”
Often people with eating disorders forcibly resist attempts from loved ones to help them recover, leaving family members frustrated and hurt. The affected person becomes convinced that people trying to hinder the disorder, their control, are their adversaries.
“Parents can make it worse by constantly picking at their child about the same thing,” Kirk said. “Depending on the severity, there are times when you have to go into your child’s room and make sure they are not throwing up into a bag, make sure they’re not hiding dinner, escort them to the bathroom to make sure they are not throwing up, but constantly barraging them − that’s probably the worst thing any family can do because it’s a symptom. The real problem is something else that they need to figure out.”
People with eating disorders often seclude themselves from life and plan their days around the disorder.
“It’s like you don’t even care anymore,” Eyre said. “I was so obsessed about my eating disorder, I didn’t have time for [people I really care about] anymore. I wanted to be by myself all the time. I would plan my whole day around when I can purge and stuff. I couldn’t even function.”
Eating disorders can hinder relationships since the illness often is not something that the person wants a partner or friend to know about.
“It’s such a huge part of my life that it’s hard to hide it, so I avoid dating altogether,” Eyre said. “I dated this one guy, and I finally told him after two months because I was doing really badly and throwing up all the time. When I told him, he started making horrible jokes about people with eating disorders, so I was like ‘never again’.”
The numerous physical effects of an eating disorder may cause harm to one’s body that might never go away. The body begins to eat its muscle when it doesn’t have food to run on, and normal body functions are impaired. More people die of eating disorders than from any other mental illness, often due to heart failure. The mortality rate for people diagnosed with anorexia is approximately 20 percent.
“Over a long period of time, [eating disorders] make your body sick, just sick, because it’s not getting what it needs; it can’t just keep going,” school nurse Denise Moravitz said. “You can’t have normal muscle regeneration, bone regeneration, or skin cell regeneration. You’re getting a buildup of all these waste products, toxicities, and your body can’t handle it. You start getting organ failure, heart failure, kidney failure, and liver failure. ”
Studies reveal that people with anorexia are 50 times more likely to die of suicide than the average person. Depression and anxiety frequently lead to eating disorders, but are also symptoms of them. Both the psychological affects and malnourishment can lead to depression.
“It feels like my brain is yelling at itself, which sounds so stupid, but it kind of takes over,” Bennett said. “There was a time when it was really bad, and I would just feel awful and be crying half the time because I felt so bad about it.”
After the disorder is discovered, a team of specialists, including therapists, doctors, and nutritionists, devise a recovery plan.
“The school lets everybody know what’s going on and helps the family make a plan,” Kirk said. “We start by talking with the student. We have to tell parents and generally get personnel involved, either a school psychologist or school social worker. The goal would be to set up outside counseling, and depending on the severity, possibly send them to an intensive inpatient eating disorder clinic; kids who leave the state are gone for months.”
Inpatient clinics ensure that patients are eating and attempt to dig to the roots of the issue. The patient receives counseling and learns techniques to deal with symptoms. In extreme cases, saving the patient’s life may involve immobilization to prevent a heart attack. After starting freshman year, Eyre was sent to a treatment center in Arizona, where she stayed for a few months.
“At first I wanted to leave. I did not want to be there at all,” Eyre said “They had really strict rules, and then the second day I got a feeding tube, but once I got close to everybody, the staff was really nice and I learned a lot. I probably would not have changed at all had I not gone. They taught me a lot about health and mind set tools you can use to help with anxiety. I also got so close to all the girls there, and we still keep in touch through texting and Facebook. “
The sooner the disorder is addressed, the greater the likelihood treatment will prove successful. Professional treatment is the only hope for recovery in many cases.
“I don’t think it’s something that just ends on its own,” Bennett said. “It’s like a psychological thing that you can’t just take medicine for, like depression. I think therapy helps.”
After returning from an inpatient clinic, the patient is monitored with a long term recovery plan. Since leaving the treatment center, Eyre has had weekly appointments with doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, and nutritionists. Though it may take many years, about 60 percent of people with eating disorders recover completely when treated appropriately. They are able to re-engage in social activities and relationships, and they regain and maintain a healthy body weight.
“There are students who don’t see it as an eating disorder because they see it as just limiting their intake of food,” Kirk said. “And maybe they haven’t gotten to the point where it’s having a negative impact on their body yet, but it’s not going to get better. It can only get worse unless you deal with the issue that you are masking.”

~Jake Lunsford, staff reporter

It’s that time of year again

It is a disease that strikes swiftly and suddenly, affecting thousands of students around the country, causing despair and heartbreak. The CDC does not recognize this epidemic, and neither do parents, teachers, or college admissions officers. This horrible affliction has a name: senioritis.
Some began to feel the awful pangs of laziness and desperation on the first day of freshman year, while others held senioritis at bay until the first day back from spring break this year. However, in the few weeks leading up to graduation, seniors will feel its full effects. With symptoms of lethargy, apathy, and anxiety, the advanced stages of senioritis should not be taken lightly. Possible outcomes include spontaneous truancy, fluctuating intellectual effort, extreme whining, and tendencies toward juvenile pranks in an attempt to alleviate stress and boredom.
If you or a loved one has been affected by this illness, please consider these steps to cope with the pangs of senioritis.
1. Rejoice in the fact that there are, as of the time of publication, only 40 days left until graduation.
2. Remember that the last AP exam you will ever have to take is on May 17, 2013.
3. If you do not already have beach week plans, make some immediately. Remember to tell your parents/guardians/financiers that it is a medical emergency.
4. When thinking about skipping school, remember the two glorious days in June when you will not have to attend school if you are exempt from exams. The underclassman that really annoy you will be in class while you’re at home sleeping.
5. Do a quick cost-benefit analysis. While we all know the temptation of staying home on a Tuesday morning to watch Netflix and go grab Chick-Fil-A instead of going to first block is strong, consider the fact that repeated use of this coping method will land you in afternoon or Saturday detention, where you will sit silently with neither Netflix, nor Chick-Fil-A.
6. When considering performing a senior prank, think about that dollar bill that Principal Roger Sites will hand you at graduation upon the receipt of your diploma. In the words of the immortal Wu-tang Clan, it’s all about that “dolla, dolla bill, y’all.”
7. Always remember – no matter how far away it seems – that moment will come when you walk across the stage, get your diploma, shake administrators’ hands uncomfortably, and jump off the stage gleefully yelling, “WE OUT!”

OPINION: Morning-after treatment a right, not a privilege

A New York judge recently ordered the FDA to make the Plan B contraceptive pill available over the counter. In 30 days, the pill will be available to girls of all ages without a prescription or parental consent, and women will rightly have control of their own bodies. However, some groups that oppose sexual activity among adolescent girls are outraged, as if making the morning-after pill available would result in girls of all ages engaging in sex.
As of now, to get the morning-after pill, a girl has to be at least 17 years of age or have the consent of a parent. This assumes a girl has a supportive family life, because without one, the consequences might be an unplanned pregnancy, which could make the family situation even worse. According to the New York City Health Department, over 7,000 girls under the age of 17 become pregnant in the city each year; 90 percent of those pregnancies are unplanned.
The morning-after pill is not a form of abortion. It does not terminate a pregnancy; it prevents a pregnancy from occurring. Plan B contains a synthetic hormone, which is also used in birth control, that delays ovulation or interferes with fertilization of an egg. However, this does not mean it should be used excessively. The pill should only be used in extreme cases, such as rape and incest, or if a girl makes a mistake, like people, young and old, sometimes do.
One concern raised by groups opposed to wider availability is that young people will use the pill as a form of birth control. This is unlikely, since the morning-after pill costs $40 to $50 a pill. I don’t know many young people with that kind of a disposable income.
If money were not an issue, obviously taking the pill excessively could have dangerous effects on one’s body, such as increasing the risk of blood clots. In addition, wider availability may increase the spread of sexually transmitted diseases if young people stop practicing safe sex.
This is where education comes in. Sex education should teach young people the importance of safe sex to prevent sexually transmitted disease, as well as the option of using the morning-after pill to prevent unplanned pregnancies. After all, the purpose of sex education is to inform young people on the possible consequences of sexual activity and, based on one’s decision, how to go about it safely.
Not allowing girls access to the morning-after pill encroaches on the rights of women to control our own bodies. As much as adults would like to protect young people from everything they feel is unsafe and wrong, they can’t. Ultimately, the decision is not in their hands. With or without the availability of the morning-after pill, young people must make their own decisions regarding their sexual activity. So educate, but don’t make a girl and a child suffer for a mistake.

~SaraRose Martin, staff reporter

Love Taylor; Don’t be a hater

As soon as a musician like Taylor Swift rises to the top, a stream of constant criticism will likely follow:
“She sounds like a dying raccoon.”
“She’s not even pretty. She has rat eyes.”
“This music is for 10-year-old girls!”
I have heard these comments attacks on her abilities, her beauty, and her music for the seven years that Swift has been on top of the charts, and it’s time to set the record straight.

She is gorgeous
Blonde hair, blue eyes, long legs, beautiful smile. Taylor Swift is quite simply the all-American idea of flawless. She is one of the few in Hollywood who isn’t notorious for fashion blunders. Taylor has changed her style as she discovers who she is, just like any young adult. Watching her transition from awkwardly cute country girl to glamorous CoverGirl model has been exhilarating.
She writes songs we all (secretly) relate to
Everyone has heard a Taylor Swift song. Everyone has also related to a Taylor Swift song. The attacks on Taylor often involve the maturity level in through her songs. I didn’t get the memo that once you turn 23, you stop having feelings, experiencing heartbreak, and obsessing over relationships. Her songs are the conversations that girls have with their friends put to music, and they touch on everything, from spending forever with your best friend, to rants about exes who didn’t treat her right. No matter what you’re going through with a guy, you can find a Taylor Swift song to put on repeat until the situation is resolved.
She’s self-made
Taylor Swift pursued a passion that turned into a success story. After singing in talent shows and bars, 14-year-old Swift moved to Nashville with her family to pursue a music career. With persistence, Swift released her first album at age 16, raw look into her teenage mind. Swift is known for writing her own lyrics. She maintains a clean, authentic image that makes it easy for fans to relate to and love her.
She is a good role model
From Vanessa Hudgens’ racy role in Spring Breakers to Miley Cyrus’s destruction of her clean country image, young female celebrities have an iffy track record. Swift, however, has managed to keep a squeaky clean reputation; a serious Swift scandal has yet to hit the newsstands. Swift’s songs also teach important lessons to young girls, since her songs don’t revolve around partying, drinking, or promiscuity (looking at you, Ke$ha). Through her music, Swift sends the message that heartbreak is human and just because he dumped you, it doesn’t mean you will die with cats, which is an important lesson for adolescent girls.
She has matured and will continue to grow
I cannot deny that Swift’s earliest songs sound like a whiny teenage girl’s Tumblr read aloud. Her first eponymous album goes through a relationship, from fond memories of sneaking out and talking all night, to how much Taylor actually hated her ex’s pickup truck. Rhymes were hastily crafted, and lines were paraphrased cliches, which is perfectly fine for a 16-year-old’s debut album. Swift’s artistic maturation is documented through her albums. In her 2012 release, Red, Swift compares a broken relationship to “driving a new Maserati down a dead end street, faster than the wind.” As her music career advances, Swift continues to develop into the fantastic woman she is bound to be.

~Abby Seitz, online/associate editor

PHOTOSET: Baseball hosts Brentsville

The Fauquier Falcons baseball squad faced Brentsville on April 25. After three innings, the game was scoreless. Brentsville took the first lead after two defensive errors by Fauquier. The game would remain 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth when freshman Ty Pavlock hit a deep double to the right center field gap, and senior Hunter Ball scored. The game was a pitchers duel all the way through, and drove the game into extra innings. Fauquier won in the bottom of the eighth with a walk of run scored with the bases loaded when the Brentsville third-baseman committed an error.

“I felt great,” Smoot said. “I felt in control, and I haven’t felt like that in a while. This is definitely the best game I have ever pitched in high school.”

~Josh Henry, design editor

Cheater cheater, grades are sweeter

illustration by natalie smith
illustration by natalie smith

It’s so easy. A stretch, a yawn, a sigh at just the right angle to see a neighbor’s paper. It’s so easy. Just click on SparkNotes; there’s no need to read the book at all. Scribbling down a friend’s physics answers in homeroom saves at least an hour of work at home. Cheating is so easy.
“A lot of kids are under academic pressure,” junior Daneel Patel said. “Parents want their kids to get good grades, and trying to keep up with work is difficult, especially if they’re in a lot of AP classes. Some kids do it because they want the good grade and don’t want to work for it. Some people do it because they can.”
Patel considers copying of tests and quizzes cheating, as well as taking ideas from books and the internet without citation. He does not believe copying or sharing homework to be cheating, however.
“Homework is assigned for you to learn the lesson,” Patel said. “So if you don’t want to learn the lesson, don’t do it. But if you steal work off the internet, I feel that’s cheating. And that’s the extent of my morals. Everything else is fair game.”
Types of cheating vary across subject; a student who cheats in English may not cheat the same way in a math class. English teacher Robin Frost sees very little deliberate cheating in her classes.
“It’s usually copying other people’s assignments,” Frost said. “Usually, they’ve fallen behind; maybe their schedule is too busy, and they’re not getting their work done. I don’t see it as a malicious thing. It’s usually a desperate thing. They’re trying not to lose points from their grade.”
Plagiarism, which Frost sees infrequently, not only involves the direct copying of a source’s words, but also the use of its ideas without proper citation.
“I don’t get blatant plagiarism,” Frost said. “It’s usually unintentional. If I have plagiarism in my early research papers, I don’t punish, I teach. Usually, the kids just don’t know. But I do like that the book is thrown at them if the plagiarism is blatant.”
As technology becomes more commonplace, it is easier for students to text answers to a test on devices like cell phones and iPods. Math teacher Sarah Singer is especially concerned with the ease of cheating with technology.
“There’s tons of ways you could have the answers,” Singer said. “That’s why I always make multiple versions of tests and quizzes to avoid it. One time, years ago, one kid had all the right answers…to the other version of the test. I wasn’t very happy with him.”
While Singer also catches cheating infrequently, she believes it occurs often under her radar, and gives immediate referrals to cheating students she is able to pinpoint.
“It’s just not cool,” Singer said. “I think there are groups of people who cheat, and groups who don’t. My concern is that those pockets of cheaters create a cheating culture where everybody does it, and it’s wrong. To be honest, in some respect, cheaters today are lazier. People used to break into teacher’s classrooms. But with Google, I guess you don’t have to.”
Assistant principal Kraig Kelican also says that technology is an important tool for cheaters.
“[I’m sure] there’s a lot more cheating that goes on that we don’t find,” Kelican said. “I think the teachers who are diligent and watch for all types of cheating find it, but there are other things that happen with cell phone use. I think that’s a becoming a major problem here, as well as in other states.”
While Frost encounters “desperate” cheating, senior Mattie Reynolds believes that cheating occurs because students don’t want to work; ironically, they may spend more of the time cheating than studying.
“They don’t feel they need to take the time to actually study,” Reynolds said. “It was a lot more blatant in freshman and sophomore year. I feel like now, in senior year, people just accept failure a little bit more.”
In four years of high school, the majority of cheating Reynolds has observed occurs during quizzes and tests.
“I remember Mrs. [Cora] Tolosa caught at least two people in my Spanish II class with cheat sheets hidden in their desks,” Reynolds said. “Then there’s the blatant asking of questions to someone else [during the quiz].”
How to discipline students caught cheating usually depends on the teacher’s discretion; on occasion, teachers forgo writing referrals because methods like “wandering eyes” can be difficult to prove. Reynolds deems the current anti-cheating policy too elastic.
“I don’t think in this situation, it’s taken seriously,” Reynolds said. “Maybe if the punishment were more severe, like in college, where you can be kicked out for plagiarism, we could ease the problem.”
When a student is caught cheating, a referral documents the act with his or her assistant principal, parents are contacted, and the student receives a zero on the assignment.
“If they get caught again, they fail the course,” Kelican said. “I’ve only seen that happen once, that I can remember. I have probably seen a total of three or four [cheating referrals] this year. They’re very blatant; it’s usually the young kids. Half of it is plagiarism, and half of it involves cheat sheets and other assistance on a test.”
Further education could help to reduce the level of cheating in school, according to Kelican. Students are aware that methods like test cheat sheets are dishonest, buy may be ignorant about other techniques.
“I’m not sure kids realize what plagiarism is,” Kelican said. “I think they feel if they change a word or two, it’s okay. I don’t know what kind of education they get at the middle school level, but [plagiarism] is something we need to look into.”
Frost believes that whatever the temptation, cheating puts students at a disadvantage.
“The bottom line is, you could cheat up a storm, but you didn’t learn anything and build the skills,” Frost said. “When you get the next level class, you don’t know anything. Students see it as a game.”

~Sophie Byvik, editor-in-chief

PRO/CON: Bears – Cute and cuddly or Godless killing machines?

PRO by Maddie Lemelin, features/arts director

Let’s take a moment and appreciate bears. They are the soft toilet paper of the world – necessary and comfortable, yet often overlooked. But the truth is, bears are a necessary part of the food chain, environment, and entertainment industry.
Picture this: salmon everywhere, flopping all over schools and homes, swimming in pools and bathtubs and tearing apart the universe one fin at a time. If only there was a furry beast that depended on fish to survive that could save us from this dystopia. Oh, wait. There is – the bear. If it weren’t for this magnificent creature, the fish surplus could clog streams used for drinking water and dominate the habitats of other underwater life.
Since ancient times, bears have been a symbol of power and strength. But with the release of the teddy bear in the 1900s, their image transitioned to one cuddly and cute. They dominate the film and television industry. Let’s not forget the Pixar classic, Brave, which won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Animated Picture; bears showed us the meaning of true family. Not good enough, you say? More convincing is what you require? Then take a gander back to 1967 when Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book taught us the importance of the ‘bare necessities’ with the help of the goofy and charismatic Baloo. And don’t forget the honey-loving, cuddly, chubby, stuffed-with-fluff Winnie the Pooh.
Can you imagine a world without Winnie the Pooh? I can, and I want no part of it. If it’s still difficult for you to imagine bears in a tender light, think back to Disney’s Brother Bear, which put us in the bear’s paws after a curse forces the protagonist into a grizzly’s body. Although he hated the species that killed his brother, Kenai’s journey showed him that humans and bears are all just creatures trying to survive.
Some may portray these magical, misunderstood creatures as violent, scary or maybe even terrifying. Yes, there is the occasional mauling accident, but would you stand idly by while someone was hiking in your home? Didn’t think so. Bears attack humans because humans are in their territory, or threatening their cubs. The real issue, however, is the way humans treat bears. Six out of the eight bear species in the world are endangered because poachers kill them and sell their body parts and fur for a profit.
There are ways for humans to peacefully coexist with bears, despite being two of the most aggressive predators on the planet. Humans living in a bear populated area should be aware of bear behavior and ecology in order to cohabitate safely. In addition, an effort should be made to remove lures such as bird feeders, livestock carcasses, or fruit trees.
In a time when our world is technology-heavy, taking time to understand bears is taking time to understand nature.

CON by Abby Seitz, online/associate director

America has been completely blinded by the internet and the media once again. Many times when I have logged onto Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr with high hopes of finding entertaining material, I have found my peers consumed with bear mania. Whether it’s a video of a polar bear cub sliding around on ice or a large bear sitting at a picnic table, it’s about as repulsive as that freshman couple that posts pictures of their make-out sessions. The adoration surrounding bears needs to stop.
As a child, I loved bears. I had hats, stuffed animals, and even a collection of panda postcards. Upon my first visit to the zoo, I was thrilled at the prospect of visiting all of the different bears. When I reached the panda exhibit, the bears were eating and hiding from the public. I moved onto the sloth bear exhibit to find a furry failure at life, asleep and apathetic. I decided to give the Andean bear a shot, only to find another bear playing dead. While that sounds like a case of bad luck, after five more visits to the zoo, I’m not sure the bears even rolled over in my absence. For years, I was misled by Bear in the Big Blue House, Winnie the Pooh, and Little Bear. My childhood was shattered by furry menaces. America needs to realize that underneath the alleged cuddly and adorable shell, bears are truly evil creatures.
Maybe you’ve been persuaded by the advertisements for wildlife funds to keep polar bears alive, featuring little puffs of fur in their natural habitat. If this is the case, you are a victim of propaganda. Where is the push to keep endangered reptiles alive? According to a Feb. 15 article on the NBC News website, nearly one-fifth of reptiles are on the road to extinction. Because lizards and snakes have a disgusting and slimy stigma disguising their true beauty, their endangerment is being overlooked. Pandas and other endangered bears are being kept alive purely because they’re cute. America cannot handle the facts – harmless reptiles are dying, while bellicose bears slowly take over the public’s heart.
Bears are violent killers. From 2000 to 2010, there were 27 bear-related deaths in North America, according to Seventeen of the attacks were by black bears, while 10 grizzly bears unleashed their true mission in life. As Stephen Colbert has exclaimed on The Colbert Report, bears are “Godless killing machines.”
If cold hard science isn’t enough to prove bears dangerous and useless creatures, pick up a copy of the Bible. In 2 Kings 2:23, the prophet Elisha curses children in the name of the Lord. As a result of the damnation, two bears emerge from the woods and maul 48 children. If the Bible is enough of a reason to prohibit gay marriage and abortion, it is certainly logical evidence in the fight against bears.
Bears are just about as dangerous as kitchen knives or breaking up with Taylor Swift. What other despicable attributes do these creatures possess? Bears have been involved in a string of criminal acts, from stealing to breaking and entering. According to a Sept. 25 report by ABC News, a bear in California stumbled out of the woods and stole a backpack and an iPad, belonging to a fisherman. If any human committed this act, they would be in serious trouble with the law. However, because bears are so “cuddly,” this bear was let completely off the hook. Various other reports have surfaced in the last decade, involving bears breaking into Subway restaurants, Norwegian cabins, and cars in Colorado. In Churchill, Canada, dubbed the “Polar Bear Capital of the World,” residents avoid walking the streets during bear season, and leave cars unlocked to provide refuge in case of an attack. Bears are threatening society because we’re letting them. If you are a whole-hearted American like myself, you are probably asking what you can do to aid the movement against the bears. First, we need to stop lying to children. We must stop buying Care Bear backpacks for children and or reading them Berenstein Bear books. Parents should trash teddy bears and buy stuffed reptiles instead. If we start by educating youngsters, we can erase the twisted concept of associating cuddly and cute with pandas and grizzlies. It may take several generations to completely rid society of their bear infatuation, but time is trivial when compared to saving America from these monsters.

Fauquier High School's student newspaper. By the students, for the students.