October 16, 2009
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The Great Debate
Legalization of Marijuana

by Kourtney Rogers, assistant features editor


Those who support the legalization of marijuana feel that marijuana is a drug with similar effect to those of tobacco and alcohol. Garret Henning, ’10, does not dispute that marijuana “could potentially have negative effects.” However, he does feel that “it is a person’s right to choose whether they engage in such behavior” just like it’s a personal choice to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.

“The legal system is being drained by marijuana related offenses.”
-Garret Henning, 10

Furthermore, many students agree that legalizing marijuana would benefit the economy and save the legal system money.

“The legal system is being drained by marijuana-related offenses,” said Henning. “If law enforcement was able to focus their efforts on more serious crimes, society would be better off.”

Justin Wheeler,’10, argues that “the world would be more chaotic due to the effects that marijuana has on the brain” if it were to be legalized. Studies show the not only does marijuana cause coordination and perception impairment, but also mental disorders including depression, memory loss, and increased aggressiveness/hostility.

Wheeler has observed first-hand the ways in which people have acted “different and dangerous” when under the influence of marijuana. If the majority of the population has access to this drug the effects would be “intensified” throughout society.

“The reason why marijuana is not legal and alcohol and tobacco are because marijuana affects the brain and body function in a way that alcohol and tobacco products do not,” said Wheeler.

8% of students are against politicians talking in public schools.
72% of students support the legalization of marijuana in all 50 states.
63% of students support a form of universal health care.

*Statistics based on a survey of 100 students

Other Hot Topics:

61% of students are pro-choice and support a women’s right to choose.

“Abortion should be illegal because if you are old enough to [have sexual relations],
you are old enough to take care of a baby.”
-Joshua Rivera, 10

“I am pro-choice because more abortions would occur under the table if they were illegal.
If women got abortions illegally there would be many uneccessary deaths.”
-Ashley Bothwell, ‘11

I am pro-choice because I do not believe it is the role of the government to be involved
in personal decisions such as abortion.
-Janelle Chickey, ‘10

Universal health care
by Benjamin Babyak, staff writer

Ryan Tannasso, ’10, argues that, “there are too many Americans who can’t afford [healthcare].”

Tannasso strikes a valid point; he is referring to the 45 million uninsured Americans and the increasing costs of healthcare and insurance. Not to mention the inefficiencies such as diplicate paperwork, claim approval, and insurance submission.

Students who share Tannasso’s concern also look at positives of having universal healthcare which include the probability of a centralized database that would make the diagnosis and treatment easier for doctors and a higher focus on patient care rather then paperwork and legal formalities.

Some who support the idea of universal healthcare believe that it will end up opening the door for other issues such as America’s conversion to the metric system or the legalization of marijuana.
Even supporters have doubts of whether universal healthcare will ever work out.

“I think it would be a great thing,” said Michael Johnson, ’10. “But I don’t think it will happen, at least not in my life time.”

Some who do not favor universal healthcare take into account the possible negative aspects, such as higher taxes, longer waiting periods for healthcare, and poor patient care.

Some students such as Paige Ruiz-Furlong, ’10, believe that universal healthcare is an encroachment on the idea of capitalism, which our nation was founded on.

“It’s the [legal system] being abused, [not the healthcare system].”
-Paige Ruiz-Furlong, ‘10

Some against universal healthcare propose a Tort Reform, which would help lower healthcare costs.
Similarly, Ruiz-Furlong also purposes an alternative solution to lower healthcare costs. She believes laws preventing frivolous lawsuits would help lower costs.
“[Expensive lawsuits] are occurring when they are not necessary. “It’s the [legal system] being abused, [not the healthcare system],” said, Ruiz-Furlong.

Other Hot Topics:
Gay Marriage:

79% of students support the legalization of gay marriage.

“Marriage should only be between a man and a woman. However, gay couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples; it just needs to be called sometime other than marriage.”
-David Krauss ‘12

“All people are equal and should share the same rights, especially marriage. It is
unfair to restrict someone’s rights because they are gay.”
-Claire Silva, ‘12

“I believe gay marraige should be legal because love knows no
boundries and does not discriminate.
-Jaleesa McKinley, ‘10

Politicians making speeches in public schools
Obama’s message sparks controversy
by Kiera Parker, staff writer

The President’s actions and words can have a major impact on the lives of Americans. Recently, President Obama’s speech to American students sparked debate among families and schools.

Supporters of the President’s address think a nonpartisan speech to encourage and motivate students and school community would be beneficial. Some even find it an honor to be addressed by the President.

“It means a lot that our president is willing to speak directly to the students of the United States of America. We owe him the show of respect by just listening.” -Justin Amann, ‘11

“It means a lot that our president is willing to speak directly to the students of the United States of America,” said Justin Amann, ‘11. We owe him the show of respect by just listening.”

Others believe that the President has the right to enter the schools and talk to students.

“It is his [Obama’s] responsibility to look after our public schools and there is no reason, no matter what political party the president is in, he should not be able to speak to his students,” said Kevin Peterman, ‘11.

Business teacher Mrs. Lisa Gilliard felt that the speech given by Obama could be valuable for many unmotivated students.

“Hearing an encouraging message from a respected person with authority can have a positive affect on many students,” said Gilliard. “However, the message should leave the politics behind and be purely motivational.”

Although many students, faculty, and parents showed support for President Obama’s speech to school-aged children, many opposed the idea for fear that Obama would utilize the time to preach his political ideas and recruit the youth of America. Mr. Barry Bozzone shared this fear with much of the American public.

“Obama has become a cult personality,” said Bozzone.

“It’s very scary for Americans. We don’t have kings and heroes as leaders.”

“Obama has become a cult personality. It’s very scary for Americans. We don’t have kings and heroes as leaders.” -Mr. Barry Bozzone

However, once the speech was “toned down,” Bozzone had no problem with it. He recalls when President Bush made a similar speech during his term in office that many democrats opposed. Bozzone believes that presidents “should not make” speeches during school regardless of the political party.

Some students also feel it was a waste of time to be showed during the school day.

“I believe that it is unnecessary and a waste of time for Obama to speak in public schools,” said John Labiak, ’12.

“During school we are supposed to be learning, not listening to our president speak about learning.”



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