Editor’s Note: The opinion essays below were written last fall by 11th grade students as assignments for the Critical Reading & Writing English Lab course at Mt. Ararat High School. Students were asked to articulate their opinion on a topic of importance to them in a way that might also engage local readers. Over the next week, we will be running more of these student opinions, allowing their perspectives to be heard by a larger audience.

Girls’ Lacrosse

There’s no doubt that boys’ lacrosse is more popular than girls’ lacrosse. The majority of people would rather watch a guys’ game over girls’ game, at least at the high school level. The reason for this is that guys’ lacrosse is more interesting. It is a faster-paced game where you really need to pay attention to see what is happening, and there is a lot more physical action making it easier, and more fun for students to cheer. Guys get thrown around, pushed down, and tackled every time they go after a ball. While girls, on the other hand, they aren’t aloud to push at any degree. Some people would say this is because guys are tougher than girls and they can take the beating, but girls still push, they just don’t have any of the protection. Girls’ lacrosse rules need to be changed so we can push each other around. With this being said, I strongly feel that both the rules of girls’ lacrosse and the required equipment should be changed.

For a player on the girls’ lacrosse team, it’s frustrating to get called for pushing a girl, when in reality it’s just part of the game. As players, we all want to be able to hit and push each other, but the only thing stopping us is the rule book. Girls may not be able to be as aggressive as the guys, but it would be nice to be able to throw some elbows at each other. There are a lot of people against girls being aggressive because we will get hurt, but it wouldn’t be like we were playing against people that were much stronger than us. We would be pushing and hitting people of our own strength, to a degree.

People think of girls as petite little flowers, but in reality, the smallest girl on the team could take out the biggest girl on the opposing team. Being a small person, I have been known to get pushed around, but also get called for many unnecessary calls. Refs don’t consider the size of the player, if they see two girls pushing at each other they normally call it on the girl that is pushing harder, which is normally the smaller girl. What they may not realize is that the smaller girl is, the harder she has to push to stay standing. If she didn’t then she would just fall over and lose the ball because the refs won’t consider it a push.

From my own experience, I know that when I get called for something I didn’t do or an unnecessary call, it just makes me madder and I play rougher. Speaking for myself, I will find ways to play aggressive without getting called. Whether its sticking my knee out to trip them, or leaning in a little more than I should, I’m going to find a way around the rule book.

Looking from a parent’s point of view, they just want their child to be safe and to have fun. Most parents sit on the bleachers and watch their kids play while having small talk with other parents, while some parents are sitting there screaming at the refs because they make bad calls. Most of those bad calls have to do with being too aggressive. I have seen parents get kicked out of games for yelling at the refs. The most important thing to parents is their kids safety, and they don’t want to see them get pushed around and possibly hurt. To prevent this, girls should be wearing more protective gear because anything can happen. Just because it’s written in the rules that pushing is not allowed, it will still happen so we should be prepared for it.

The only pieces of equipment required for girls are goggles and a mouth guard. These goggles cover just our eyes, giving no protection to our head or anywhere else on our body. Yes, guys through balls much faster than girls, but having a rubber ball fly through the air and hit you on the head at any speed will hurt. For example, our manager was sitting on the sidelines of one of our games and got a concussion from a ball hitting her, and she wasn’t even playing. This alone proves that we have a huge risk of getting hurt. Especially because we are still going to push and shove people to the ground causing injures that could be prevented with proper equipment.

I fully understand it is not the refs making the rules. I also understand that the rules are there for the players safety, but just because they’re in the rules, doesn’t mean we will follow them. Changing the rules could potentially change the sport completely. Girls don’t want it to be changed so it’s exactly like the guys; we still want to incorporate the stick handling aspect of the game, while being able to throw some elbows at each other.

In the end, we all know that the rules won’t get changed anytime soon. It seems like the smart thing to do would be to make the players wear more protective gear, even if they didn’t change the rules. Safety should be number one and by just making us wear protective goggles we won’t be safe.

Jordan Chase

Airport Security

After going through an airport security line, I always feel as though I am a little invaded rather than safe. Someone just looked to see what was in my bag, I was forced to take my shoes off and quickly put them back on at the end of the line, and I was even put through a giant scanner that went all around me just because I was over 16. I haven’t personally been “randomly selected” for a pat down, but I have seen those who have, and I can tell that it’s degrading and embarrassing. The people look around and feel all the eyes on them being searched. Even though they have nothing to hide they are still nervous. And after being moved like cattle in a slaughterhouse through these security lines, all the other passengers and I have to look forward to is a long flight crammed into a space that wouldn’t be comfortable for a small dog.

I feel as though airport security has become much too strict and ridiculous. The fact that you are not allowed to wear shoes or belts or have other basic amenities like that is degrading and uncomfortable. Even though rules regarding these items of clothing have been in effect for quite a while, they have become more difficult to do in the shorter and shorter time the security workers give you to do so. The lines are moving as quickly as they can be to make sure people can arrive at their flight in time, but sometimes that is too fast. Shoes can be difficult to take off and put back on again in the time allowed, and not only the security workers, but the other flyers get upset if you take too long to do so. So, this aspect of the issues with airport security has to do not only with the impatience of the security workers, but also that of other people. Getting through the security line wouldn’t be nearly as stressful if everyone simply treated one another like actual people rather than obstacles.

I also don’t think that it is that necessary to have certain “random” people be patted down just because a security worker chose them. These pat downs include a variety of otherwise very inappropriate touching that are definitely not acceptable to the average person. The security worker will touch very close and often times on the flyers “private parts”. Even though this is done over the clothes (usually), it is still an insane invasion of personal space. Also, I don’t believe that all of these selections truly “random”. There has to be some people that some airports security workers that have certain subconscious criteria that they look for when “randomly” selecting a flyer, such as ethnicity, or just how they look. The general metal detection scan should be enough to determine if the flyer has anything he/she should not have on the airplane.

Finally, if liquids in larger than 3.4 ounce bottles are not allowed on planes, then why can’t the larger ones just somehow be scanned like luggage? I understand that there is probably some sort of scientific reason for this, but still. I don’t really understand how bad a large bottle of water is on a plane. Airports should be able to pass certain containers of liquid if they can test the liquids somehow to make sure they are safe. The items not allowed on a plane have become too strict in general and need to be loosened up a little. For instance, golf clubs are no longer allowed on planes. This is just one of the many prohibited items that really doesn’t make sense. And even though golf clubs, just something people play with, are not allowed, small pocket knives are. This makes me wonder how airports really determine what is and what isn’t allowed on an airplane.

Airport security has become far too strict and inhumane. Although I understand that this is really just to keep flyers safe, there are still some precautions that don’t need to be taken. This is one of the reasons that I don’t particularly enjoy flying and I believe that many of the rules don’t need to be in effect. If a system that is used to organize people can be compared to one that is used to corral cattle in a slaughterhouse, something is wrong.

Eddie Van Note

Bullying in Schools

Bullying is something that affects kids of all different backgrounds. It can be seen occurring in all different places, from the lunchroom at school, to any public place. In this day and age bullying is easier to do than ever before. Kids can mercilessly taunt and bully other children online using social media.

Bullying is obviously a big problem, but there is another problem that comes along with it, how should bullying be dealt with? One side of the argument states that kids should deal with bullying and just suck it up on their own. This group of people says that bullying is part of life and that it is needed to toughen children up and teach them about being socially accepted. Some also think that the children being bullied need to work it out themselves and work at being independent. Some of these people also think the kids should fight back and give the bully a taste of their own medicine. The people on this side of the argument essentially think that the kids can take care of the problem themselves and that it will “build character.”

Then we have the other side of the argument that is essentially trying to eradicate bullying. This is a nice thought, bullying disappearing and everyone magically getting along. There is however a problem with this plan, too. In their fantasies, all of the world’s children will just sort of get along and play together kindly in a world of chocolate waterfalls and rainbows. As most of us know, however, this is impossible as there will always be cruel people in the world. This group of people is usually made up of the school administration and anti-bullying advocates. These people have the idea that if they send someone that is bullying a strongly worded letter, then they will simply stop. In most cases, however, this is not how things work.

Another thing to keep in mind is that all schools deal with bullying in a different way. Some schools have very strict bullying policies, expelling or even arresting students charged with severely bullying someone. Other schools, however, just continuously make empty threats and warnings towards students that are bullying others. In general, there is a large gap in the severity of punishments that take place about bullying in school systems.

Until now, I have not talked about which side of the argument I am on, and there is a reason for that. I am not on either side because to me, it could not be more obvious that neither of these ideas is even slightly acceptable as a solution. If I had to choose one of these two sided to be on, I would have to choose the side that at least tries to help. I understand that there is no possible way to completely stop bullying, no matter what it will still happen. Although I know it can never be fully stopped, I still think trying to do something is better than doing nothing.

Something that I very strongly believe in is that people who already are mentally unstable or who have been diagnosed with depression should be specifically watched out for if they are being bullied. Although on its own bullying is very awful, subjecting someone who is already unstable to it is like lighting the fuse to a bomb. This is most often when bullying ends up actually killing a person. On its own it’s pretty rare to kill themselves over just bullying. With someone who is unstable, however, It could be what pushes them over the line into trying to take their own lives. This is why I believe it is important to take some kind of action when it is needed. Someone who makes death threats towards person or bullies them physically should have the appropriate punishment, which is dealing with the law.

So dealing with bullying really depends on how extreme the bullying is. In some circumstances bullying is accidental and not intended to hurt a person. In these situations I think that it should be taken lightly. When things get more serious though, things get more complicated. I could say that I suggest schools jumping in and taking action if things get more serious, However, it is very, very hard to prove bullying because it almost always takes place when a teacher isn’t around. When it really comes down to it, adults have never really been able to stop bullying because they expect that if they make rules against it, the bullying will simply stop.

In my opinion, as sad as it is, I don’t think that bullying can ever be stopped. People will be cruel and hurtful because it is human nature. By no stretch does this mean that I don’t think we should do anything though. Just sitting back and letting it happen is not an acceptable solution. My suggestions to make the situation at least a little bit better is to be mindful of when you are being mean or rude and if you see someone else being mean for no reason, stepping in and saying something. I know that not many people will do this either, but even a few people trying to stop senseless cruelty is better than no one doing anything.

Brendan Dupont

Let’s Get Fired Up!

Every year, there is a day when the whole school gets together and shows their school spirit and pride! Field Day is on a cold, crisp, autumn day usually in October. It is a day of fun and excitement for the student body to get together and get ready for the new school year that is coming. All of the freshmen wear white, sophomores wear blue, juniors red, and seniors all in black. We have a prep rally that we do as classes and compete against the other classes.

“My favorite part of Field Day is that you get to get together and have fun and it’s a great class bonding day,” said Erica Davis.

Then the day is full of activities to play with your class, things from capture the flag to karaoke. It is a non-stressful day of the school to show their school spirit and get to be with everyone in your class and also in other classes, since you don’t have classes with everyone in your grade. And most of the time many students have friends that are in different classes.

As a class officer for my Class of 2016, I have the job to run the events and make sure everyone is having fun and not having some of the kids get out of control and get a little too much into it. It is run by the officers of each class and by the National Honor Society. The teachers don’t have to do anything, or really worry about anything. Just make sure no one is getting hurt or doing something stupid or could hurt someone, which is one of the reasons why some teachers are against having Field Day; for it would be like baby-sitting. They think it is not an “equal” day for everyone, since the athletes in the class stand out in some of the more active events, like dodgeball and Capture the Flag. But that is life: Not everything will be fair and no matter what you want to do, there will be people that are for or against doing something.

If you ask many students, they like having Field Day. It is a stress-free day for the students to get pumped about the new and upcoming school year. They get to play, be part of fun events, and of course be with their friends for the whole day. They can get pumped and go crazy with school spirit, but not too crazy of course. They don’t have to do school work and worry about studying or having to write an English paper. It is a nice time for students to realize that school isn’t so horrible as some make it out to be. Field Day is a day of fun and for most of the students they are appreciative for even having it, since some schools don’t even have them. The more sporty students do get more into some of the events rather than others, but that is mainly because they are just more competitive and who they are.

“Students in general though don’t complain about Field Day, since you really don’t have to do anything,” said Maddie Alexander.

There are some teachers that believe the same thing and think Field Day is a great day for students to get together and just have fun. Also to show their school spirit and become a whole school no matter what grade you’re in. It really makes the freshmen feel like they are more part of the school and not just the little freshies. That is how my friends and I felt looking back at our freshman year. We felt like having Field Day really made us feel connected with everyone around as, students and also staff.

But if you ask most of the teachers and staff, they don’t really feel the same way. They feel like it is a day that is wasted when they could be teaching or planning for the day. Many of the teachers will have subs that will fill in for them so that they don’t have to walk around and make sure no one is doing anything bad. They really don’t have to do much, a nice and relaxing day for them as well. Would be pleasant if they came so it would show that they care and want to get to know the students as well. And with them not coming just gives the students all the wrong reasons for not having to go either. It really sets a poor example as being the “leaders.”

But honestly, it is just one day out of the whole year… It’s not like a whole week of not doing anything. They think that we should be doing something that is more educationally and/or give back to the community. And they feel like it is messing up the flow of the new school year by having a day “off” a few weeks in. It is a bit confusing since students are required to come to school on Field Day even though they are not learning anything and will get punished if they don’t go. But they are learning team bonding and social skills.

Dealing with people all day and having to work with them helps you for the real world when you have to talk to people that might not see things the way you do. It makes you have to work with others, since most of the time in school we are working on things on our own. You have to be able to interact with students who aren’t all in your same grade/age as you. It prepares you for the world after school, when you have to listen to others and also put your input on something, and have a good conversation about it. Some of the team bonding activities make you have to talk to others and figure things out as a group and not just an individuals.

There are some bad things that always happen on Field Day, though, and I can see why teachers don’t want to have to deal with dangerous situations. Some of the events can get dangerous and every year there has to be an ambulance because a student got hurt. There are always at least a few students that just walk around or wander off into the woods. Teachers want to teach students and on Field Day they don’t really do anything at all. But they have every day beside that one day to teach. They have to watch other students in class to make sure they are doing what they need to do, so just making sure students are doing what they should be in Field Day isn’t that much different.

Another point brought up by the administration is that instead of having a day of just fun activities we should have a day that involves more things for the community. Doing something in the community would be hard to do as a whole school, though; it would be more broken up. Field Day is a day that gives you that whole feeling of being a whole school. On Field Day, you can hang out with your friends but you also get to hang out with some of the people that you would not normally would.

We need to have Field Day in part of our homecoming week because it really brings the whole student body together and makes us individuals to a big family. For it isn’t all about being able to play events or just be with friends but it is more about the fact that we are ALL coming together and showing our school pride and that we are proud to be going to Mt. Ararat, and not another school. Some may want to change how Field Day is done and what goes on during it, but no matter what happens there will always be haters. There will be the people that will be for and against whatever happens. I understand that some of the teachers don’t like it, but it’s really for the students to just have a fun and stress free day. The students deserve a day to just have a little fun and not have to worry about anything. Field Day is something that should definitely stick around.

Rachel Eggleston

Driver’s Education

There are many people that I know who sit at home wondering why they are not driving yet. I am one of those people.

Driver’s education over the years has become very expensive, and it can cause financial problems to the families who can’t afford this course. Right now, driver’s ed costs $450 or more for one course, which is a few days a week for a couple of weeks. Even though people say it costs less if a student takes it through the school, it’s still very expensive. Ten years ago driver’s ed cost less than half the amount it costs today. I just turned 16 years old, and I am a junior in high school. Most people in my grade took driver’s ed freshman or sophomore year and have their license already. Even people who are younger than me have their license. If money wasn’t an issue, I probably would have taken the course already and been close to being able to get my license.

Since driver’s ed is too much money, I can’t take it and I don’t know when my family will have the money, so I don’t know when I’ll be able to take it. I want and also need to take it soon because I want to get a job, and I would like to drive myself so my parents wouldn’t have to worry about it. And it’s not just my job I could drive myself to; I could run errands for my parents, or take myself to school. It would be more efficient if I could drive myself places. I’m a junior in high school and need to get my permit and license before I start college so I can take myself to school, because I would have no other way of getting there. I’ve heard that if someone were to go for their license, they would need a certain amount of hours, and the number of hours has gone up, which means it would take longer for me to be able to go for my license.

One particular friend of mine has the same problem. She can’t afford driver’s ed, and if she were able to, it would be more efficient for her and her family. Her parents say that she needs to pay for it herself and that they might pay for half of it. But she doesn’t have a job yet either and can’t pay for it.

I envy the people who can drive. driver’s ed needs to be more affordable for everyone. It’s better to learn how to drive now when we’re younger rather than when we’re older. It would be more efficient if it cost less so people could take the class and have a couple years of experience before turning 18.

Kaitlyn Rancourt