Sam St. Peter researched and made a presentation about the three leading kinds of cancer. Here is his research project. Please follow the link to see the full presentation.
by Brady Devergilio
Controversy arises after recent school shooting in Florida.
After the recent school shooting in Florida a huge debate has sparked over how to keep our schools safe, leaving students and teachers to wonder what will be done to keep them safe while on campus.
Students from Monument Valley Middle School were recently interviewed on the topic of teachers carrying weapons, something that has been suggested to help keep our schools safe. Some students had stronger opinions than others on the subject, but everyone had something to say. Liam, 8th grade student from Great Barrington MA, said that, “Yeah in the event of violence of course I would safer if a teacher had a weapon.”
Student Gavin, a 8th grader from MVRMS, agreed with him saying that he, “would feel safer in the event of an emergency if there were armed teachers on the campus, as long as they are trained properly.”
Gavin also said that he still thinks that there are better options than arming teachers, such as having a armed school resource officer. Student Mason, an 8th grade student from Lenox MA, also liked the idea of having a school resource officer, saying “They would be more effective because they already have experience and are well trained.”
Other students disagreed however, “It would only make me more scared,” said student Elsa . Elsa, an 8th grade student from Monument Valley, agreed with Mason and Gavin saying that resource officers would be a better option than arming teachers, but still thought that there are better options available. Elsa went on to say, “We should focus more on escape than defense.” Elsa also put forward the idea of getting more tools to help us escape in the event of violence at our school, such as a rope ladder.
MVRMS staff was also interviewed on this topic recently along with students. Teacher Fredrik Erickson, the schools 8th grade math teacher, said that “the negatives much outweigh the positives,” when asked if arming teachers would help in the event of an emergency. Erickson also said that, “we should focus on caring for members of our community” so that tragedy’s like a school shooting never occur.
Ben Doren, the principal of MVRMS, tended to agree with Erickson, stating that they could help but that they would have more negative effects than positive ones. Doren said that we should, “focus more on preparing students for an event like this,” instead of trying to arm teachers. Doren also said that, “we should look into what is causing these shootings,” saying that we should do research into the topic and then act from there.
Florida senator Marco Rubio agrees with Doren saying “I don't support that… the notion that my kids are going to school with teachers that are armed with a weapon is something that,quite frankly I’m comfortable with.” Rubio stands in the middle of the spectrum however, supporting certain gun laws that some wish to abolish.
Donald Trump, the current President of the United States of America, disagrees with Rubio, saying that “a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun.” Trump suggests that, “we give guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training.” Trump also says that, “these teachers would go for special training,” that would allow them to safely carry a gun on campus.
This issue has become a hugely controversial topic in America and could prove to be pivotal for schools and their safety in the near future,but until this debate is solved students and school staff all over the nation are still left wondering how their schools will be kept safe.
A new drill known as ALICE, that has become the safety program used by school districts all across the United States, has sparked a lot of controversy among the students and staff of participating schools.
According to The ALICE Training Institute, 4,200 k-12 school districts are using the ALICE training as part of their safety protocols. Berkshire Hills Regional School District in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, is among the many districts practicing ALICE. The ALICE drill stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate, and gives students the option to run, hide, or fight.
Students and faculty at Monument Valley Regional Middle School (MVRMS) have mixed feelings about how their school has approached practicing for an intruder, their use of the ALICE training in the past, and further steps that are being taken.
Miles Wheat, Vice Principal at MVRMS, shared his take on their preparation involving the ALICE training in the past, and further actions that are being made to improve student safety. He thinks they will be taking a step in the right direction these next few months as drills start to become more frequent.
“I think we haven’t actually practiced ALICE drills enough this year, there was some confusion on the adult level of kind of what that meant, and so we held back more than we probably should have, but you will see them more often between now and the end of the year,” said Wheat.
“I think it’s [the ALICE drill] a lot smarter than what it was before, and I’m happy that they’re trying to do a better job, and trying to rethink their system,” said Elsa, an eighth grade student in attendance at MVRMS.
Overall, Elsa believes that the improvements being made are great and has few concerns. “They’re doing a good job covering everything. Mr. Wheat spent our entire Social Studies class answering questions that we had. There’s still a few open-ends, but I think they’re almost trusting us more to use our heads.”
However, Maya, also an eighth grade student at MVRMS, believes otherwise. “I don’t think they’ve approached it well at all. They keep saying we’re protecting the little kids [by not practicing more realistic drills], but really I think they’re putting them in danger, because when a shooter or an attacker comes in, they’re not going to take it easy on the little fifth graders.”
Maya also shared her opinion on the communication and decision making process. “When a shooter comes in they’re not shooting the [school] board, they’re shooting the kids… they’re not the ones whose lives are at stake, so I think that the students need to be more involved.”
Frederic Erickson, the eighth grade math teacher at MVRMS, had mixed feelings about ALICE. He believes that the drill can give the students a sense of power by allowing them the option to fight back, but he also thinks that if they really want to protect the students, they should be making sure that kids in the building are “healthy”.
“One of the things I like is that, instead of just accepting the entrance of an intruder, that we would fight back against that intruder… It gives us a more optimistic view. I’m no longer just a victim, I’m a victim who has some power, and I think knowing that ahead of time is really important for lots of people,” said Erickson.
Erickson also stated, “Most of the people who do bad things come from within your own system, and if we are focused on keeping all of those people healthy and comfortable, and feeling welcomed and belonging, then that’s going to have a much greater impact on potential outcomes, than letting people go ‘bad’, and then dealing with the ramifications of that.”
Elana, an eighth grader, also had a passionate opinion relating to ALICE. “With all of the school shootings happening this year especially, and years in the past, and all the controversy about it, I think it’s brought to more parents and kids attention, which means that we should be talking about it more and preparing for it more if it happens.”
In addition, Kyla shared her views on how MVRMS has been practicing these drills. She feels that the school is doing enough, and that as long as students have a general sense of what to do, their instincts will protect them.
“The goal is not to make you feel like something bad is happening, or that it could happen soon, because obviously there’s always that possibility, but administrators don’t want it to be a thing where students think it definitely will happen. In the chance that it does, just listen to what you’re supposed to do and know the basics,” said Kyla.
The diversity of opinions of the staff and students is what makes this such a controversial topic throughout Monument Valley Regional Middle School.
by Quimby Delsignore
A group of seventh and eighth grade “nerds” has been putting efforts into making Monument Valley a more eco-friendly place, but the footprint they left on the student body is not as apparent.
Mrs. Stucklen, the Green Bean leader, says the Green Beans are,“ Recyclers, but also leaders in the school, and hopefully they help others become aware of their waste and the world around them.“ The group consists of seventh and eighth graders, they meet once a week as a team with Mrs. Stucklen. She has been working with the students and they have been expanding and enforcing the recycling program throughout the school. It has been a year since the club has first started, 2018 being their second year.
When Mr Heck, eighth grade english teacher, was asked if he knew who the Green Beans were and what they did he answered with, “ Ya, they’re an environmental group run by Mrs. Stucklen. That are focused on reclining, big time this year, and expanding the recycling capabilities of the school. They seem to be into advocating greener usage of things and awareness of environmental issues.” According to Mrs. Stucklen’s “definition” of who the Green Beans are, Mr. Heck was very aware of who they were and what they did.
Zenith and Aubrey, two eighth grade students, were asked the same question as Mr. Heck, but they had two very different answers. Aubrey answer the question with, “ Yes. It’s like the group Mrs. Stucklen has that help out in the community, recycling, bla, bla, bla stuff like that. I guess they participate in extracurricular stuff and set up earth hour, and control the fish with Mrs. Stucklen.” She was also very aware of the Green Beans team, without being a member herself. Zenith, on the other hand was not as aware. He answered with, “ A little bit. I just know of them, like that they go to Mrs. Stucklen’s room at recess and lunch. At first I thought it was the recycling thing, but I'm not really sure what it is.”
After he was told who the Green Beans were, and what they did for the school Zenith was asked, if he thought the work the Green Beans did was important. He said, “ Yes, it’s good what they're doing. But I feel like not many people know about it, so it doesn’t affect them. If people knew what it was they would be more effective, and more people would want to participate.” His point brought up the fact of the Green Beans visibility throughout the school. If they are doing this work, should they get recognition?
Dulce, an eighth grade Green Bean member, was asked if she thought the Green Beans got enough recognition for the work that they do. She answered the question with,“ To be honest I don’t really think we do.” In the past the Green Beans have planned, and ran, school events. Dulce said,“ At events people think the student council is doing the work, but it’s really us.” To follow up she gave an example of one of the events. She said, “ The dance where we got half the money,” (the Green Beans did half of the work for the dance, student council doing the other half) “ Only the other half went recognized.” Dulce’s point on recognition sparked the fact if the own group’s leader felt the same way.
Mrs.Stucklen thinks, “ The Green Beans should get more recognition. Even though they get points, nobody in the school really understands our system.And maybe if they got some sort of certificate, or award, or something that would be pretty cool.”
“We barely had paper recycling before the Green Beans started. That has expanded into plastic and cans,” says Mr. Heck. The Green Beans have made the school a more earth friendly place.For now they will continue working under the radar, but recognition is still on the table.
by Leo M
Study Halls at Monument Valley Regional Middle School (MVRMS) have come and gone throughout the years and have taken multiple forms; students and staff members have voiced differing opinions on whether study halls should be brought back for everyone again.
Study halls are a period of time in a school curriculum set aside for study and the preparation of schoolwork.
Currently there is a study hall in MVRMS for certain students but for the majority of the school (as of 2018) there is no study hall. A large amount of students at MVRMS want study halls to be brought back for everyone. “Study halls are a good time to get help on homework from other students instead of waiting until the next morning to get help,” says Colin , 8th grade student at MVRMS. Mr. Parks later said “I think my grades have suffered because of the lack of study halls”.
Other students also have a problem with the absence of study halls. An 8th grade student, Sam, said when asked about not having study halls responded with “ I hate it,” and later said, “As an 8th grader I got a lot of homework which I have to do at home which can be stressful.”
However not every student enjoyed having study hall. 8th grade student, Eddie said “In 5th grade I actively tried to get out of study hall because I would do nothing since I had nothing to do.”
Eddie later said “I would use study halls now because the amount of homework we’ve been getting this year (in 8th grade)”.
Some staff members of MVRMS have voiced differing opinions of study halls when compared to the majority of students. Ben Doren ,principal of MVRMS, said “I didn’t like study halls because they weren’t productive for students” and “We tried study halls for two years and it didn’t work; a small group of kids used study halls really really well; we had some kids who used it somewhat, and we had a big block of kids who misused them,” Mr. Doren also said, “The years we didn’t have study halls students grades seem to have benefitted from it.”
Mrs. Boland , the health teacher who also ran a study hall for three years, also commented on this subject saying, “Kids who had work to do used the time productively; but last year out of 20 kids; only four or five were using the time they were given appropriately.” She added, “I couldn’t help students with homework as well as the subject teacher could, so I would be worried to give them the wrong answer.”
The success study halls has varied from time and location. Such as in Jefferson-Morgan High School, a high school located in Jefferson, Pennsylvania, eighty-five percent of surveyed students of the school said they would use study hall to study, do homework, or catch up on class work; while in other schools such as MVRMS the amount of students using study halls to do homework and other forms of work is possibly a minority .
Most students want study halls back for valid reasons and staff hesitates to make a study hall available for everyone for also valid reasons. Students can take full advantage of study halls or they can misuse the time they were given to do work; there is possibly no easy, right, or correct answer to the question “should study halls be brought back and are study halls effective and worth it.”