by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
The Black Student Union had a meeting with law enforcement officers during the club’s gathering Nov. 9. Four police officers attended, including Carl Bonnell and Andrew McCurdy, the chief of the Covington Police Department.
The Black Student Union was founded last February by Aaron Benson, the club’s advisor, with the help of sophomores Bri’Nyah Jones and Magnifique Niyonizeye. Benson said, “The goal for me is to really just provide a safe space within the school that kids can come to and share their experiences, challenges, build a community, and learn.”
Benson said what prompted the meeting between the club and the officers was a week in July after two African American men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, were killed by police. The following Friday five Dallas police officers were killed. Benson said, “I remember thinking, ‘Wow, what would I do on a week like this if school was in session and we had a Black Student Union meeting?’”
He then went to the Covington Police Department to talk with Chief McCurdy. Benson said, “We had a wonderful conversation where he shared some different perspectives that I wasn’t hearing about in the news, and I left the meeting feeling a lot better about these situations. The first thought that came to mind was that I need to give the students that I work with the space to have those conversations as well. We began after that planning to have the meeting.”
Chief McCurdy said, “I was looking forward to the opportunity but I had no idea how welcoming the students would be. I truly believe that the biggest problem we are facing today as police officers is that people only see us for our uniform. I am trying to meet with as many people as possible, even if the conversation may feel uncomfortable at first, so that they can get to know us as unique individuals and so that we can get to know them as individuals as well.”
Jordyn Mitchem, a sophomore and the club’s treasurer, said, “My initial thoughts on the idea of the meeting was that there is no way in hell that it was going to work. I had faith in the club, but I felt that there are some of us who didn’t have great experiences with cops. I figured it would be a little rocky.”
During the meeting, the club members sat in a big circle, the officers intermixed. The officers introduced themselves and each of them shared their journey to law enforcement. After that, they opened it up so the club members could ask questions they had about policing and the shootings that had been happening.
Despite some reservations going in, all parties agreed that the meeting went well. Benson said some of the things that came from the meeting were community building, understanding, and empathy. Mitchem agreed and said, “Overall the meeting was great. We got a little more insight into how the cops have to deal with things and how not everything is as easy as it seems. I feel like the cops and security got a point of view that we don’t have it easy either. It’s not just go to school, come home, do your homework. It’s not the simple for us, it’s a more complex way of feeling things.”
Chief McCurdy said, “I was very impressed with the group of students for their willingness to ask difficult questions and share their stories and concerns. I was also very happy to see that they were open to hearing what we had to say. The dialogue was very open, honest, and respectful and I was appreciative of them giving us the opportunity.”
Although the club doesn’t have any more scheduled meetings with the officers, Benson said that there is definitely hope for more in the future.
The Black Student Union meets on Wednesdays after school in room 1620.
by Lauren Killgrove – Photo Editor
Former president Barack Obama has recently made the accusations that Russia had an influence in the election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The accusations, which were later proven to be true, were that Russia had hacked into Democratic Party to affect Clinton’s campaign, resulting in her loss and Trump’s win. The hack, which was authorized by Russian President Vladimir Putin, had leaked emails to sway the election away from Clinton.
After it was proven that Russia has hacked the Democratic National Committee, Obama has responded by saying that the U.S. will proceed against Russia, though Russia has denied retaliation. Obama has said to NPR, the National Public Radio station, that “we need to take action. And we will—at a time and place of our own choosing.” Obama has since sent economic sanctions and dismissed 35 Russian diplomats. Though retaliation was suggested, Putin has rejected the idea. In a statement, Putin said, “We will not create problems for U.S. diplomats.” Trump responded by praising Putin and saying “I always knew he was very smart!” in a tweet.
President Trump, who has received support from Russia, has brushed off the hacking and has made an argument against recently advanced technology, explaining how computers confuse people and the media after he denied that Russia was guilty of the hack. Trump and Putin have consistently shown support for one another throughout the election, though Russia’s motivation for the hacking was against Hillary Clinton, not to support Trump.
The United States’ and Russia’s diplomatic relationship has been at odds since the end of World War II, in which the Cold War began two years after. Though the Cold War ended in 1991, our foreign relations with Russia has only slightly improved, though Obama and Putin’s wary relationship has caused concern for the future, in which many have feared that it could cause a new war. Though Trump and Putin have formed a supportive alliance, the threat of a war breaking out between The United States and Russia is still a possibility.
by Lauren Killgrove – Photo Editor
While most of the world was celebrating a New Year, an attack later claimed by ISIS had hit a popular Istanbul nightclub early on New Year’s Day. Inside the club, named Reina, 39 civilians were killed and 69 were injured after the club was attacked by a gunman. ISIS did not claim responsibility until the day after the incident. Witnesses claimed there were multiple armed attackers, who began to shoot in the club after shooting and killing an officer outside of the club.
Though the area was guarded heavily by police areas since Turkey has been victim to multiple terrorist attacks throughout the last year, the attackers had still gotten in the club. The attackers had fired 180 rounds of bullets in total, and had utilized flares to light up the nightclub.
One of the attackers had escaped the scene, and there was a search for the attacker for over two weeks until he was found. The attacker, Abdulkadir Masharipov, was caught inside of the city of Istanbul, which relieved those who were worried he had escaped the country. He had moved to Konya, Turkey early in 2016, and reached Istanbul in December of the same year. Masharipov was found with his four-year old son.
Majority of the victims came from different nationalities and were foreign. Some victims had been from countries such as Canada, Lebanon, India, and Tunisia. Reina is a popular club that has long held a reputation for providing good entertainment as well as aesthetic value that has attracted those of foreign countries to visit. The club overlooks the sea, which was an escape route for many party-goers in the shooting after they were ordered to exit.
“He entered the club and attacked innocent people were there to celebrate the new year.” Said Vasip Sahin, the governor of Istanbul. With ISIS attacking Reina, it has become the first terrorist attack of the new year.
by Sarah Thiel, Erica Little, and Brooklyn Lemieux – Guest Writers
Freshman Erica Little is just one of the many freshman students who has found a place to belong by joining the band.
“As a freshman this year, walking into the band room on the first day of school was like walking into a whole new world. I was overcome with excitement towards what was to come in the next four years in terms of music theory and skill. Music has been a significant part of my life since I started on clarinet in 6th grade, and it has only become a bigger part of my life since switching to the tenor saxophone at the end of 7th grade. Being able to say that I am a member of the Kentlake Band Program is amazing. You get dozens of high energy pieces of music for Pep Band, as well as a wide variety of Concert Band pieces.” Said Little.
Little outlined a bit of what the being a member of the concert band looks like. She said the routine basically includes students arriving at the band room where they begin by putting their instruments together, warming up, and then tuning their instruments. Band instructor Jonathan Urmenita (JU to many students) works with the band and individuals to help perfect the music they have… and cracks jokes. At the end of class, students pack up and head to their next class.
Freshman Maddy Kimmet is happy to have a teacher who is so knowledgeable about his subject. She said, “My personal experiences in freshman band, I play alto saxophone, so I was really excited to have a teacher who knows so much about my instrument in Mr. Urmenita. A lot of people think that he is going to be loud and get mad at you if you do something wrong but he doesn’t. As long as you do your best he is okay with that.”
Students in band classes also get the opportunity to play in the pep band and play for sporting events. They arrive at the sporting event to help set up and play songs during the breaks of the games. During the third quarter, the pep band takes a break and then returns to the stands in the fourth quarter for the end of the game.
Freshman Jacob Rogers said, “As a freshmen percussionist in pep band, it is extremely fun. There are many things that are very fun about pep band, but some of the highlights are going to football and basketball games to play at those. Most importantly are the songs, they are very fun to play and if you know them then it is very easy to get the groove of the music and it becomes very fun.”
Ultimately joining band gives students the opportunity to feel a sense of belonging as they arrive at school as a freshman and throughout a student’s four years. Band provides a wealth of opportunities.
“Concert band, Symphonic band, Wind ensemble, pep band, jazz band, travel for football games and basketball games and the big Victoria trip. All these opportunities’ in one program, all these amazing memories you will make in this one program. Freshmen year is difficult but so worth it, I can’t wait to spend the next four years in the Kentlake band program.” Said freshman Brooklynn Le Mieux.
Freshman Sarah Thiel said, “Band is something different than anything else available at Kentlake. I found that band in high school is so much more interesting and fun than before. In middle school, we only did 1 or 2 field trips that were a very big deal. Here, the pep band plays out of school all the time, and there are away playoff games, along with contest’s, mostly because JU likes to win. There are so many more opportunities open to you at KLB. All in all, staying with band is one of the best decisions I have made.”
by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day assembly hit a series of roadblocks, but still managed to get accomplished, despite being postponed a week.
The original date of the assembly was set for Jan. 12, with the keynote speaker being a woman who was a member of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) while in college during the Civil Rights Movement. Unfortunately, she was delayed in Portland, Oregon due to the snow.
After learning about the delay, the leadership group postponed the assembly until Jan. 18. Everything was on track until the speaker was delayed again due to ice, leaving the leadership classes with little time to prepare before the assembly.
They were able to pull together student speakers who shared their own stories of diversity and overcoming adversity—all themes heavily related to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Mai Le, junior, spoke about her experiences migrating from her home country to America. Jayke Chavez, senior, shared his story about growing up biracial. ______ _____, junior, described her journey defeating cancer three times and how it continues to shape her even today. Ahanu Boyle, sophomore, talked about their involvements in the LGBTQ community and personal struggles with gender identity.
Boyle said they were originally approached by Kaas to speak because of their membership in Kentlake’s Diversity Council. As for the assembly itself, Boyle said, “I had a hard time keeping eye contact with the audience, which kind of sucked. Mr. Kaas was extremely supportive though, which helped a lot. Shout out to Mr. Kaas.”
All of the students that shared their stories can relate to King’s message. Boyle said, “I associate my story with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s because I believe that King would help my efforts to teach and spread information about the LGBTQ community to try and quell uncertainty in the world.”
Along with this, the assembly featured a performance from the Flames Dance Team, a joint musical performance of “Amazing Grace”, arranged Jonathan Urmenita, performed by our orchestra, band, and choir. The assembly also included student-made interview videos, relevant commercials related to King’s cause, and a speech from Dr. Potts.
Boyle said, “It is important to share Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s story because his actions changed a whole country. It’s a beautiful thing. Because of King, I can go to school with my friends.”
by Morgan Marko – News Editor
For the cisgender community, choosing which bathroom to go into is second nature. This may not be the case for many people in the transgender community. The choice in which bathroom to use can depend on which one they are more comfortable using or where they feel the safest. It is an issue that may also aid in strengthening their identity with themselves.
When North Carolina passed a new bathroom law on March 23 of last year, it stirred up a lot of publicity regarding the transgender issue surrounded public restrooms. The law requires transgender people to use the public bathrooms that corresponds with the biological sex stated on their birth certificate. Former President Barack Obama, represented the other side of the story. He considered North Carolina’s take on the issue to be “state-sponsored discrimination.” Members of the LGBTQ+ community have had to constantly fight for the rights in which they believe in, such as gay marriage. Yet the war for transgender rights continues, which may possibly be an even more controversial topic. In the end, transgender people should be able to choose whichever bathroom they are most comfortable using.
A more favorable option that surrounds this issue is to have a gender neutral bathroom. One that you may go in no-matter what sexuality or gender you identify with or your biological gender. A single unisex bathroom will not only accommodate the needs of the transgender community but must also accommodate the needs of someone with disabilities. This option suits the needs of all parties. Unfortunately, not every public building has the facilities to support multiple extra bathrooms.
Some may feel as though allowing transgender people into the restroom of their choice creates an easier way for rapists to enter the bathrooms of their victims. Without raising any eyebrows as to why someone suspicious had entered the restroom. In reality, if someone really wanted to rape someone in the restrooms, and get away with it, they will find a way in no matter how the bathroom issue ends.
In the end, the issue surrounding public restrooms and the Transgender community cannot come to an easy conclusion. It is extremely hard to accommodate, and keep both the LGBTQ+ community and the cisgender community happy and comfortable.
by Gunner Ellsworth – Staff Reporter
People have been using public bathrooms without a hitch for decades. Until about the last five years, nobody had any complaints with the gender labels on bathrooms. People were more concerned with far more important things, like war, or more pressing forms of discrimination such as Gay Rights or Black Rights. Now that those issues are in the process of being resolved, people will just move onto the next thing: bathrooms
Transgender people have problems with the fact that gender specific bathrooms discriminate against them. They believe that no matter what gender you physically are you can use either bathroom. They feel that the gender you identify with is the bathroom you should be allowed to use.
Some equal rights advocates would claim this is an excellent policy that should be held by all facility’s containing a public bathroom, but this idea actually affects people far more negatively than positively for two main reasons: first, any person could sexually harass another person in a bathroom with no boundaries on gender, also a person going into a bathroom different than their gender’s respective bathroom, isn’t really that enforceable.
First, any man could go into a bathroom dressed like a woman and say that they identified as a woman. But now you have created the perfect situation in which a person could be raped. Any rapist who says they identify as a woman now has an open doorway to do as they please. They could easily go into a bathroom of the opposite gender and assault someone. With equal rights advocates so up in arms about the amount of rape going on, you would think they might try their best to prevent it instead of offering up a perfect opportunity for it to happen.
Also, before it was ok to go into any bathroom that is preferable, people could go into one and no one could really enforce the rule that it was required to go into your assigned bathroom. If a man wanted to dress like a women and go into the women’s bathroom really who is going to stop them, besides an angry civilian. No law enforcement officer is going to get there quickly enough to enforce this rule, and unless they sexually assault someone then no one could really press charges. The laws only allowing a person to go into the bathroom of their assigned gender aren’t really enforceable.
People might argue that the bathrooms make the transgender people feel accepted and actually protect them from sexual harassment and assault. They also might say that these laws will take away enforcement of singular sex bathrooms. In reality both of these claims are false, these bathrooms open the doorway to sexual assault and harassment due to the ability of either gender to go into either bathroom. It also wasn’t enforced before these laws so saying that the enforcement was oppressive is false and misguided.
by Reonna Haywood – Staff Reporter
Martin Luther King Jr. was African American Baptist minister and social activist from Georgia. He stood for peace, equality and justice, especially for African Americans and the social and political disadvantages they face.
King played an integral role in American civil rights movement. He is considered to be the driving force that brought about such a legislation as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion and sex. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, which is also considered a byproduct of King’s work, was a law passed at the time of the Civil Rights, which allowed African Americans to vote.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is a day in which we celebrate the man who had the confidence and bravery to fight for what he believed in. This man deserves more than a day because he had the courage to fight for something he, and everyone around him knew the risk of. He lost his life fighting for what he believed in.
Without King fighting for what he thought was right, we would not be where we are today in terms of racial equality. Even though still, to this day, we can see prejudiced acts against people based solely on the color of their skin
Martin Luther King Jr. organized the first major African-American nonviolent protest in 1955 and he orchestrated the Montgomery Bus Boycott. King also organized the historic March on Washington, D.C, in which he delivered his famous speech. “I Have a Dream.”
In his speech, King said “I have a dream that my four little chi1dren will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an American federal holiday— King was a successful protester when it came to racial discrimination in federal and state law. It is a day we celebrate all that King has done. It also happens to be celebrated the day after his birthday.
The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after he was assassinated in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983.
Although King died for what he believed in, he showed us that you should never give up on what you think is right. Martin Luther King Jr. has made a significant impact on the lives everyone across the nation, especially African Americans. King is truly a legend to America and to history.
by Anna Hartman – Student Life Editor
Late starts. Every student wakes up on a cold, winter’s morning and hopes to be blessed with one of these glorious, four-hour school days, however, the poorly handled icy morning on January 9, left many students upset.
On that morning, the roads were wet and frozen over, and made for very dangerous walking and driving conditions. However, the district wasn’t aware of the conditions right away and didn’t make the call for late start until after 7:00 AM, after the busses had left the lot with kids on board. Many of the teachers had already arrived at school.
This meant that most students and teachers ended up at the school almost two hours early, and the faculty had to scramble in an attempt to get the kids in line and sort everything out by moving the kids into their homeroom classes and trying to keep kids from leaving.
Though mistakes at the district level are understandable, it not excusable that kids drove or walked to school in these conditions. Once at school, many students and teachers had stories to tell of their slippery drives in an attempt to arrive on time.
Sophomore Serena Carney fractured her arm on her walk to school from the Kentlake Highlands, slipping on the sidewalk on her way to school.
Carney said, “I feel like the school should have just cancelled school or put more precaution into what the students would go through with the ice, because they did not really consider the affects that the ice would have on the students.”
Despite this, Carney said, “I don’t blame the school, but I do feel like the school could have prevented it. I feel like the school could have done stuff to help the students be safer. I feel like that is their job, but at the same time, I could have been more careful.”
In addition to the concern and injury caused, the faculty was unprepared on how to deal with the late start. They made an attempt to keep kids contained in their homeroom classes, however, many either left or did not have an open homeroom classroom, leaving the whole situation a disorganized mess.
To add to the chaos, the school’s heater broke, leaving the students and teachers in the cold, some classes reaching temperatures below 50 degrees. To be fair, this was not a human error, however, it made the experience much more miserable for everyone involved.
That evening, though, the district issued a two-hour delay due to icy conditions for the next day at about 9:00 PM, possibly due to the complaints received from everyone about the day.
The district should have been more on top of the cancellations in order to prevent student injury and inconvenience for everyone involved. What about saying they HAVE to make the call before people have already left their houses.
by Fiona Higgins – Staff Reporter
About a month ago, Ohio governor and former presidential candidate John Kasich made a move that has once again brought an extremely dividing topic to light. That topic was abortion, an important decision that should be left up to the mother’s choice. There are those that feel that abortion is killing a baby, or goes against what God wanted, or any number of things. I am not one of those people.
In this case, Kasich vetoed a bill that would have become the most restrictive abortion law in the country, dubbed the “Heartbeat Bill”, which would have cut off allowing abortions after the fetal heartbeat can be heard, approximately six weeks after pregnancy starts. The bill also would not have provided any exceptions for the mother’s health, or if the mother had been raped and was unwilling to have the child.
Instead, the governor passed a bill that cuts off abortions after twenty weeks, with exceptions only if the baby will not survive the pregnancy.
Many people think of abortion as a nasty procedure where the mother has to go under the knife, but that simply is not true. For the most part, if a woman does not want a baby, she will decide that very quickly, and it can be done with medication. If it’s too far for that, even then the process involves only mild sedation and suction.
So, if abortion is not harmful to the mother or the undeveloped fetus, you may wonder why so many have such a huge issue with it. There certainly is a spectrum of views, as not everyone who is pro-life think the same thing.
Some think that if the mother or child will not survive the pregnancy, then it would be alright for the pregnancy to be terminated. Others believe that if the mother was raped and is having the child against her will, then she should not be forced to keep it. But there are always those who think that, no matter what, the child should be born. Much of it is religious reasoning, stating, like Sydna Masse of Ramah’s Voice: Abortion Recovery Blog, that “After abortion, one is dead and one is wounded”, and “It was safe and legal but that didn’t make it right in the eyes of God”.
Think about it this way; Imagine you have agreed to go to a scary movie with your friends. Maybe you did not really want to go, but they pressured you into it. Halfway through, you want to leave because you do not like it but they told you that you are not allowed to. This is a much less extreme example, but, very understandably you would feel irritated because your decisions are being made for you and you have no say.
For a woman pressured by her family, by the people outside a Planned Parenthood clinic, or by the government telling her what she has to do with the being inside of her, this is a reality.
Whether you are a teen who needs to be in school without a child, a woman raped by a stranger, or simply someone who does not want kids yet, it should not be up to complete strangers to tell women what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.
The fact that John Kasich is choosing to pass this law only now shows how society has already done a rapid change with the current President-Elect. Kasich has stated that the reason the bill was passed was because that Donald Trump will likely be electing conservative judges to the Supreme Court, judges who will be very unlikely to overturn the bill. With incoming change quickly approaching, women in need of an abortion are quickly going to run out of options if this is the way things are heading for the next four years.