design: Cristian Ropero Montoya
photo credit: Cristian Ropero Montoya and Irem Yilmaz
Drugs in the Drain
Walking into a school bathroom and seeing students huddle up to vape has become a common sight across the country. Drug usage in teens has been a prevalent issue that continues to affect many communities. However, it has been exceptionally noticeable in high schools.
Drug usage by teens has always been a problem, but recently a new trend in vaping has risen to become the most dominant issue in high schools.
“Drug usage by teens is always a concern, but vaping is still the biggest issue we see,” Principal Trond Smith said.
There have been drug usage incidents that have occurred and been reported at Orange.
However, when asked about the incident, Principal Smith declined to comment about any recent specific incidents in the bathroom due to privacy concerns.
Local school districts have attempted to create solutions to reduce drug usage of teens and better the situation.
“We try to be aware of and implement new strategies in this effort and lean heavily on our resources at the district level and law enforcement,” Smith said.
The high school has implemented many measures in an attempt to counter the situation and have also begun to reduce future incidents. “We have an SRO in every high school building, vape detectors have been installed in the restrooms, and on a few occasions each year, the K-9 drug units are brought in to do a sweep of the property,” Smith said. “In addition, if students are caught vaping or using drugs or alcohol in school there are required counseling assessments/workshops to reduce the length of suspension.”
Be More Wise
Many underfunded areas lack resources and opportunities to explore stem-based fields. WISE Club at Orange hopes to create a program that helps local communities and students grasp a better understanding in stem careers.
Members of WISE conduct various scientific experiments with younger students that allows them to understand basic science concepts.
“We implement the scientific method, analysis-based questions, and careers similar to the experiment we did that week,” Co-president of WISE and senior Irem Yilmaz said.
During the school year, WISE plans to branch off and reach local elementary schools and offer them the opportunity to learn more about science.
“This year, we started a 16-week program where the students and chief scientist will be going to their assigned school and conduct a science experiment once a week with the kids through the YMCA,” Yilmaz said. “We have visited Alum Creek, Freedom Trail, Glen Oak, Walnut Creek, and more”
There are many ways for students, who are interested in joining, to be informed about the future events of WISE club.
“Students can follow our Instagram, join our Remind for future updates after the 16-week program, or ask our adviser, Mrs. Hockstok. We plan on doing the same thing next year with another grant,” Yilmaz said.
WISE was founded to have the goal of providing equal science educational opportunities to all students of different upbringings.
“The goal of WISE is to give an opportunity for kids in our own community to have the same opportunity of learning science early on just like the more underprivileged areas we visited this summer,” Yilmaz said.
Tragedy after tragedy continues to strike at high schools around the country. School shootings have been a rising fear among students, parents, and teachers, and many continue to ask themselves when will these deaths stop.
On Nov. 30, another tragic school shooting occurred in Oxford, Michigan, which marked the 28th school shooting this year. Once again, this led to many injuries and claimed the lives of several students.
“On that day, a 15-year-old student entered the school and began to open fire on fellow students with a semi-automatic weapon. The sophomore student killed four students and injured several others,” school resource officer and deputy Matt Roy said.
Many school districts across the country have begun to implement methods and tactics to prepare students and staff in case a tragic incident ever takes place in their specific schools.
“Here in the state of Ohio, more and more school resource officers have been placed in the schools, and legislators have also passed several laws regarding the training and safety drills that schools must perform on a monthly basis,” Roy said.
There are also many ways for students themselves to find ways to prevent these tragic incidents from occurring.
“Students can always help also by being observant and if they see something suspicious or hear of anything suspicious to alert a staff member immediately,” Roy said.
It is very hard to predict what goes on in a student’s mind when he commits such horrid crimes, but there have been speculations regarding the cause of these incidents.
“Some people believe that the person has been bullied or wants to make a name for themselves and be famous in the media. Whatever the reason may be, it is important that here at the high school we always remember to treat each other with respect and kindness and lift each other up in times of need.”