Tag Archives: allie akers

Why Do We Need Safe Spaces?

Staff Writer, Allie Akers

Ever since the Presidential election in 2016, “Safe Spaces” have been popping up all over the country, mostly on college campuses. Schools and students have felt they are now necessary due to fear, anxiety, and hate, and these rooms have been fiercely debated over the past couple of years. Many believe that safe spaces in schools are needed, due to the strong differences in opinions that divide many Americans. Others find them unnecessary, feeling that safe spaces coddle people instead of exposing them to other viewpoints and that they violate the First Amendment right of free speech. As many students at Voyager Academy High School have noticed, this year we have our own safe space room on campus, located in the English II / AP Lang classroom.

Ms. Barber, originally from Missouri, is a new teacher at Voyager Academy High School. Before she came here, she was teaching at a boarding school for kids with ADHD. The Viking Tide interviewed Ms. Barber, asking about the Safe Space sticker outside her classroom door. She said that at her former school, “There was a hate act by a staff member targeted towards the Q.S.A (Queer Straight Alliance). As the advisor of the club, I wanted to help educate people how to love others for who they are.” She then started training for safe schools in NC, specifically for the LGBTQ community, which is where she acquired the Safe Space sticker. When asked who was the safe space for, in which she responded, “It’s for anyone who feels different or threatened for who they are, whether they’re students or staff.” When asked how the students respond to the idea of a Safe Space, Ms. Barber said, “Some students don’t grasp the weight of it. They think it’s a joking term which tends to be a connotation with this generation. They’re just misinterpreting it. However, the students in my classroom are happy and participate, which is a positive effect of the Safe Space.”

The Viking Tide interviewed some students on safe spaces and whether they think we need one in Voyager or not. Sebastian Diaz is a sophomore who attends Voyager Academy High School. “I think safe spaces, theoretically, should not have to exist. People should be able to talk or practice whatever they want within reason without fear of persecution.” Austin Shepard is also a VAHS sophomore. He stated, “I don’t agree with them. They infringe on people’s right to the first amendment right to express how they feel and only let one group express their opinion. They only let people with the same idea express their opinion.” The Viking Tide then asked these two students if they could imagine using a safe space. Austin replied with; “No, I feel that everyone should be able to express how they feel openly. I enjoy open discussions and debates with opinions on either side.” Sebastian says, “I don’t feel like I’d personally need one. I mean I honestly don’t care what people think about me or what I say.” The final questions Viking Tide asked was do they think Voyager needs a safe place. Austin’s stance on this question is, “No, because students of Voyager should be allowed to have open debates between one another.”

I believe that we do need these safe spaces because they help people who may feel threatened and unsafe to be able to express themselves freely and without fear of repercussion. As a student at Voyager, I have not personally felt victimized. However, when our civics class has debates on current events, I get very worked up, passionate, and emotional, even when these issues don’t directly affect me. Conversely, students with opposing viewpoints also can get emotional as well, and often, the debate becomes very heated and can get intensely personal. I honestly can’t imagine what it would feel like to be someone who is affected by the subject of one of these debates and is debating or fighting just to be themselves. (Recent debates have included DACA and the meaning and use of the Confederate flag.) Because of this, I absolutely understand the usefulness of these rooms. There is a great diversity of people who attend this school and a safe space should always be available, so everyone can truly feel safe to be themselves and know that they are supported unconditionally, even when they feel targeted or victimized. Having a safe space harms no one, but it can benefit anyone.

APA Citations:

Furedi, F. (2017, January 05). Campuses are breaking apart into ‘safe spaces’. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-furedi-safe-space-20170105-story.html

SafeSpace. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2017, from https://www.safespace.org/

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2017, from http://ncsafespace.org/

Shulevitz, J. (2015, March 21). Opinion | In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas. Retrieved September 26, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/opinion/sunday/judith-shulevitz-hiding-from-scary-ideas.html?mcubz=0

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Simo, O., & Simo, A. O. (2016, September 10). University Safe Spaces and Trigger Warnings:The Downfall of Higher Ed. Retrieved September 25, 2017, from http://oldsimo.com/education/univeristy-safe-spaces-trigger-warnings/

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Climate Change: A Man-Made Hurricane

Staff Writer, Maryn Leonard

Climate change is a problem that is often overlooked by our society. When thinking about pressing political issues climate change isn’t always the first thing to come to mind. The changing climate impacts our lives every day. Recently two giant Hurricanes slammed into the continental United States. It is because of climate change that these big storms are becoming more frequent causing more death and destruction across the globe.

In late August 2017, 33 trillion gallons of water were unloaded by Hurricane Harvey onto the United States. There have been 68 confirmed deaths after the thunderous Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean and Southeast United States. The two storms have caused an estimated $290 billion in damages in the United States alone. Millions are left homeless after the two relentless storms hit less than two weeks apart. So what does this have to do with climate change?

In 2011 38.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide were pumped into the air across the globe. This air pollution traps the sun’s heat inside our atmosphere which leads to global warming. Over the past century the temperature of the Earth has increased by 1.4° Fahrenheit. This may not seem like a lot but it is a dramatic increase than the natural heating of the Earth after an ice age period. This heating has been enough to melt ice caps in the arctic which has lead to the ocean rising 8 inches in the past 100 years. Much of the heat is absorbed into the oceans which has caused the water to be warmer than ever before in recorded history. “The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year,” says C. L. Sabine in his book The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2. This has lead to the acidification of our oceans which is disastrous for marine habitats.

The warmth of the water is one of the key factors in the new found intensity of storms forming over the oceans. Hurricanes and Typhoons get stronger over warm water. Storms that were already big have become even bigger. With the rise in sea level, storm surge and flooding have gotten worse and worse. Hurricane Harvey dumped an estimated 15 trillion gallons of rainwater on one city: Houston Texas. It is because of the warming temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico that Harvey caused so much freshwater flooding. Large quantities of water was evaporated from the warm ocean which increased the amount of rainfall the storm had.

In other parts of the world the problem is a complete lack of rainfall. With the earth getting warmer, water has evaporated from the soil creating droughts. Droughts have become a significant issue in the Middle East, Africa, and even in the Western United States. Due to lack of rain it has become impossible for farmers to adequately grow their crops in parts of the world. This has led to people fleeing their countries to escape the extreme heat and famine that kills millions each year. If nothing is done to help change the climate these extreme weather patterns will only become more frequent and devastating.

The United States hasn’t done much to combat climate change. This past June, President Donald Trump removed the United States from the Paris Climate Accord that was agreed on at a climate convention in late 2015. One hundred and ninety five countries came together with plans to reduce the global input of fossil fuels and to keep the planet from increasing in temperature. The United States pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord is just another step backwards in the global attempt to reduce fossil fuel emissions. “I don’t think global warming is a problem but we should worry about the pollution we make.” Sophomore, Chris Bennett, commented on his views of climate change. It is true that many people around the world don’t believe in climate change. “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” President Trump stated back in 2012. It is clear that the president does not think climate change is a relevant issue.  despite 97% of scientist stating that humans are responsible for the changing climate. This could be disastrous if we continue to deny the facts that are right in front of us.

If we continue to deny the fact that climate change is a relevant problem, there will be more and more devastating weather related events. The future of the Earth is in our hands and we can work together to stop climate change. If we switch to renewable sources such as solar or wind power than we can cut down on global emissions and help save the environment. “We need to all work on this together, it’s our planet. We breath the same air. It’s all of us as human beings and we need to care for eachother. We need to care for the future,” Sophomore, Allie Akers comments on climate change. Climate change is real and relevant and Iif we work to reduce our carbon footprints, than we can halt climate changet it and save the planet from a potentially disastrous future.

Climate change evidence: How do we know? (2017, August 10). Retrieved September 15, 2017, from https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

Climate Change Indicators: Greenhouse Gases. (2017, February 22). Retrieved September 15, 2017, from https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/greenhouse-gases

Andrews, R. (2017, September 13). This Is How Much Water Hurricane Harvey Is Dumping On Houston. Retrieved September 18, 2017, from http://www.iflscience.com/environment/how-much-water-hurricane-harvey-dumping-houston/

The Ambition of Allie Akers

Sophomore, Staff Writer | Maryn Leonard

“Money is a smokescreen – a distraction from the real problem.” Allie Akers tells me about her viewpoint on the current climate of politics. She believes that money has corrupted justice with greed and dishonesty. Allie believes that these flaws can be solved by someone who desires change and is determined to do their part in solving the problem. Ambition is a strong force in Allie’s life. She has a desire to win and be at the top. Allie Akers is determined to one day become the President of the United States.

Allie learned about ambition after loosing something she loved. Allison Akers loves horses. As long as she can remember she’s always loved the animal, and desired her own. Amazingly, Allie was leased a horse named Jerome. She’s been showing in horse competitions for more than seven years now, but finally she had her own horse to train and compete with. Not a month before her big competition, Jerome was sold away to a different family, completely crushing Allie. “I was out of control, he wasn’t mine, I couldn’t do anything to keep him.” Allie explains about how she felt helpless in her situation. This was a moment where Allie knew that she desired to be at the top, to control her own situations and avoid painful loss.

Top help her deal with her loses, Allie turned to her role model. The greatest role models in our lives are the ones who inspire us to be our best and share with us the tools and tricks to accomplishing our goals. For Allie her greatest role model is her own mother. Her mother offers her advice and helps guide her through life, “It’s really nice to have someone be there for you no matter who you are or what you look like,” Allie says about her mother. Her mother has taught her some very important skills such as how to present and speak publicly, how to stay motivated, and not to immerse herself into drama. This has all led to Allie’s desire to one day be the president. Allie’s mother raised her so that Allie could have whatever political opinion she desires. This has helped Allie’s political opinion grow as well as her love for politics.

Politics has always been something that Allie really loves. She is passionate about equality, justice and has a strong desire to enforce her beliefs. Allie loves  law and wants to one day become an environmental lawyer before she conquers the United States and becomes president. For a while now Allie has been a part of Durham County Teen Court and Restitution Program. Allie works as a prosecutor for misdemeanors committed by teens in Durham. “Teen Court has been an amazing opportunity to practice what I love in a real world setting,” Allie says regarding Teen Court. There are also competitions she attends to face off against other counties. It can be described as the beginnings of becoming a real life lawyer.

Allie’s ambition has driven her to work extremely hard in Teen Court and other situations to better set herself up for the future she wants to uphold. She’s got a majority of her life mapped out. She knows what she wants and she’s going to fight to get it. Allie wants to grow up and be a lawyer and eventually, a politician to fight for the ideals she thinks are important. Her ideals feed her ambition and propel er further into her quest for success, “Never give up on hope, keep fighting,” she said is a motto she hopes to one day tell her grandchildren. Allie knows what she wants out of her future, she knows what she’s fighting for, but this doesn’t mean it will all be smooth sailing. Allie has learned from her mother and from the loss of her horse that setbacks can come at any turn. Her determination and true motivation is what will set her apart and help her fulfill her ambition to become a great politician and crusader for justice. The ambition that fuels her future is a defining part of what makes up Allie.

Should the confederate flag be banned from schools?

 Staff Writer, Allie Akers
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Picture from:
NC schools ban ‘racially intimidating’ clothing amid Confederate flag controversy. (2017, June 13). Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://eagnews.org/nc-schools-ban-racially-intimidating-clothing-amid-confederate-flag-controversy/

Should the Confederate flag be banned from schools? This is a topic that has always caused a lot of controversy, but it has recently made headlines following events in Charlottesville this past July. The debate centers around the question: Is this a violation of the first amendment? Also, is the flag a symbol of oppression or a symbol of heritage? Most recently, all Durham County Public Schools have banned the Confederate flag from the dress code. Other local schools, such as Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County, have already banned clothing featuring the flag. Some argue that banning the flag only causes more debate and protest than before. Others counter argue that it prevents distractions and conflict, by not allowing symbols that many people see as a threat. However, due to the current political climate, this is not an issue that can be ignored.Voyager Academy has been facing this question and, as of this writing, has not made a decision. The Viking Tide asked some Voyager High Schoolers on which route they think Voyager should take and why. “No, I don’t see the issue (in banning the flag). The reason behind this is, when I see the Confederate flag, I think of the hate it brought my people in America,” says Madison Carter, a sophomore. “Students would be mad because they think you’re violating their right to expression,” said Kyla Crooks, sophomore. Shawn Sullivan, another sophomore, states: “I don’t think they should ban it because I’ve never seen it. If they ban it, it would only bring attention to it… There’s more history to a confederate flag than a KKK symbol, like that would be a different story.”

This brings us to the legal questions of banning the flag on campuses. Is banning the Confederate flag in schools violating the first amendment? There have been several cases of this brought to court, including Castorina ex rel. Rewt vs. Madison County school Bd., Bethel School District No. 403 vs. Fraser, and several others. However, in the end, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that schools banning students wearing clothing that shows the Confederate flag does not violate the first amendment. In civics class at Voyager, the students had to do an assignment on taking notes of a video on the Tinker vs. Des Moines case.

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Agiesta, J. (2015, July 02). Poll: Majority sees Confederate flag as Southern pride – CNNPolitics. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/02/politics/confederate-flag-poll-racism-southern-pride/index.html

In July of 2015, following the murder of nine African Americans in a South Carolina church by white supremacist Dylann Roof, CNN took a poll to see what viewers thought of the Confederate flag. The questions was whether one saw the flag as a sign of racism or “Southern pride.” As results poured in, the final numbers showed 33% felt it was racist and 57% believed that it was a sign of Southern pride. CNN says that, “The poll shows that 57% of Americans see the flag more as a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism, about the same as in 2000 when 59% said they viewed it as a symbol of pride.” Even following the Far Right march in Charlottesville, 43 percent of Americans polled still believe it’s a symbol of pride, compared with 38 percent who view it as a symbol of racism, according to an August 2017 Economist/YouGov poll. A Reuters poll, also from August, agreed with those findings, and stated that 54 percent of people said Confederate monuments should remain in public spaces, versus 27 percent that believe they should be removed. Both polls find responses split along party lines. In the end, it’s the people’s choice whether the Confederate flag shall remain in schools or be banned.

 

Agiesta, J. (2015, July 02). Poll: Majority sees Confederate flag as Southern pride – CNNPolitics. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/02/politics/confederate-flag-poll-racism-southern-pride/index.html

NC schools ban ‘racially intimidating’ clothing amid Confederate flag controversy. (2017, June 13). Retrieved September 07, 2017, from http://eagnews.org/nc-schools-ban-racially-intimidating-clothing-amid-confederate-flag-controversy/

Confederate flag in school and free speech (October 2016 School Leader Update). (n.d.). Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://www.educateiowa.gov/resources/laws-and-regulations/legal-lessons/first-amendment/confederate-flag-school-and-free-speech

Willets, S. (2017, August 28). Durham Public Schools Ban Confederate Flags, Other Divisive Symbols. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://www.indyweek.com/news/archives/2017/08/24/durham-public-schools-ban-confederate-flags-other-divisive-symbols

Volokh, E. (2015, September 21). Opinion | The Confederate flag, the First Amendment and public schools. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/09/21/the-confederate-flag-the-first-amendment-and-public-schools/?utm_term=.a9c21e480fe0

Kahn, C. (2017, August 21). A majority of Americans want to preserve Confederate monuments: Reuters/Ipsos poll. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-protests-poll/a-majority-of-americans-want-to-preserve-confederate-monuments-reuters-ipsos-poll-idUSKCN1B12EG

Frankovic, K. (n.d.). Trump’s domestic crisis: Charlottesville and white nationalists. Retrieved September 07, 2017, from https://today.yougov.com/news/2017/08/16/trumps-domestic-crisis-charlottesville-and-white-n/?belboon=031b3908984b04d39400589a%2C4711850%2Csubid&pdl.rlid=203577