Viewpoint of Mateo, 9th grade
One of the most important issues that needs to be addressed urgently is the spate of gun violence and gun-related crimes across the country. School shootings, gang violence, suicides and other types of mass shootings have increased at an alarming rate over the past decade. From 1982 to 2002, there were an average of fewer than two mass shootings per year (a mass shooting is defined as a shooting in which three or more people died). Since 2002, however, that number has risen to a staggering five mass shootings per year. From the Columbine shooting of 1999 to the Uvalde shooting of just this year, and everything else in between, these tragedies have claimed the lives of far too many innocent souls, young and old.
The United States has by far the highest rate of gun violence in the world. Therefore, our nation’s leaders are working to prevent these senseless killings. President Joe Biden kicked off the gun control movement in June this year by signing the first major gun safety law in decades. This law supports funding for school safety and crisis intervention programs across the country. While it doesn’t specifically ban guns, it’s a big step toward a more controlled and protected environment.
This law also encourages more states to join the party with their laws and borders. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed some new legislation into law just a month later in July. These bills prohibit the marketing and advertising of gun-related products aimed at minors because they are vulnerable to misinformation. They also restrict the use of “ghost weapons,” or weapons built in a way that cannot be traced by authorities.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, these dangerous firearms have been involved in over 100 crimes in the area in the past year alone, so this change will create a safer society in our state. These important laws aim to prevent future shootings and gun violence, especially among children and young adults. However, there is one important issue that lawmakers must consider when creating new gun control laws. People’s right to bear arms is enshrined in the US Constitution, and when its policies become too restrictive, people can become angry and claim that they are being stripped of their constitutional rights. This could lead to various protests and riots across the country, which is the last thing our country needs right now. Despite this bleak possibility, these laws and bills are slowly creating new opportunities for stricter gun laws and regulations, and will hopefully pave the way for safer communities across the country. Sources: Click here
Teen Observer by Francine, 11th grade
Francine with observer Founders Irene Kobayashi (left) and Barbara Johnson at the Fullerton Observer’s 45th Anniversary luncheon.
Last month, the Fullerton Observer celebrated its 45th anniversary. As an eight-year-old columnist and four-year-old youth editor, I’m honored to be part of the Observer team.
The anniversary dinner was a wonderful experience. From the paper’s inception in 1978 to this day, I’ve met many volunteers and learned about new projects, most notably the Observing Fullerton podcast on Apple Podcasts. Being in the same room as Irene Kobayashi, the oldest living founder of the Fullerton Observerstill working on the newspaper brought out the fangirl in me.
I have heard fascinating stories of her hard work and when we had a chance to chat, I was electrified by her passion for the newspaper and her burning desire to keep the Observer’s legacy alive as she said: ” It made me so happy to have you and your Young Observer team in the newspaper. Now I can rest in peace.”
Ms. Kobayashi recalled that before the newspaper’s youth section was added to the newspaper in 2018, the contributors consisted entirely of adults and seniors, which she found troubling as there was no path for continuity. When she saw several tables full of young people volunteering for the newspaper at the anniversary celebration last month, she felt hopeful.
Despite our age difference, I feel a special connection to Ms. Kobayashi because of our shared desire to serve our community through the newspaper. I originally wanted to be the voice of the kids at Fullerton. Eventually I formed the Young Observers Club to recruit student volunteer contributors. I might be going to college in two years, but I plan to continue leading my team with the help of a future youth editor who will be training for the role. When the future youth editor transfers to college, he/she will pass the baton to the younger ones. This scheme will ensure the continuity of the Young Observer section.
What’s trending? by Irene, 11th grade
In the midst of college application season, when all of my high school friends and classmates are racking their brains over personal expressions and drowning from exhaustion, I, an Asian-American student, face an obstacle — a nationwide debate about affirmative action and the role of race in the admissions process.
According to Cornell Law School, “affirmative action” is defined as a set of procedures designed to eliminate unlawful discrimination between claimants, to remedy the results of such past discrimination, and to prevent such discrimination in the future. It was first introduced in 1961 during the civil rights era by Executive Order 10925 by US President John F. Kennedy. Though it’s been around since the 20th century, these debates resurface every year during college application season and have gained particular traction this year. with recognition following the Supreme Court hearings of October 31, 2022 against the Directive.
For context, in 2014, the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) filed lawsuits against Harvard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, defending that these prestigious universities allegedly discriminated against Asian-American applicants based on their race. With white activist Edward Blum at the forefront of these movements, it is painful for me, a low-income Asian-American student, to see my community members fall into this narrative that anti-affirmation measures will improve our college admissions experience . Rather than aiding our journey into higher education, Blum and his efforts deliberately set Asian Americans against other communities of color.
The National Bureau of Economic Research found that a whopping 43% of Harvard University’s admitted white students were recruited athletes, alumni, relatives of donors aka the infamous Dean’s Interest List (ALDCs), or faculty children. The study also suggested that without their white ALDC status, 75% of these students would have been rejected. Affirmative action is not the real culprit keeping Asian American students away from prestigious universities.
These very old approvals have a far greater impact on Asian student acceptance rates than affirmative action. And contrary to popular belief, these highly selective spots are not being given liberally to “underperforming” Black and Hispanic students to play the schools’ symbolic minorities.
Affirmative action is all about intersectionality. I support holistic admissions because they take into account race, gender, economic status and nationality. Despite our efforts to rid our country of racist institutions, we cannot deny the fact that race continues to play a role in the quality of life.
Black and Latino students have historically been marginalized. According to the US Census Bureau, poverty affected 31% of Black and African American children and 23% of Hispanic or Hispanic children in the United States in 2021. This compares drastically with the 11% for the non-Hispanic White and Asian/Pacific Islander populations. While supporters of race-blind applications persistently argue the need for more “performance-based” measures, including standardized tests like the SAT or the ACT, in reality these tests are far from truthful when they reflect a student’s academic ability. According to research conducted by ResearchGate examining the relationship between race, poverty, and SAT scores, “Income has a significant impact on academic performance and accounts for a significant portion of the score gap between black and white test-takers on most performance measures.” In other words, it’s not that black students aren’t as academically excellent or capable; without the resources and foundations in K-12 school systems to support higher education, it’s virtually impossible for these marginalized groups to achieve nearly as much reach like other affluent students, and that is the direct result of systemic racism.
Affirmative Action offers all students, including Asians, the opportunity to be represented in the admissions process. And with studies pointing directly to the positive benefits of diversity in higher education, I firmly believe in these admissions policies. Although I still have a year to experience the grueling and infamous college application adventures, it’s important for students and adults alike to join the conversation. It’s a heavy subject and a nuanced debate, but supporting positive action takes us one step closer to a just society. Source: www.law.cornell.edu/wex/affirmative_action