Staff Editorials

Opinion: Social media users fail to fact check

While on social networks including Twitter and Instagram, users may have recently been noticing an influx of rumors and fake promotional offers circulating on their timelines. With social media usage becoming increasingly popular every year, knowledge of what is fact and what is not is beginning to fade away.

Everyone likes to hear about freebies and giveaways, or so it seemed recently when a rush of fake airline accounts flooded Instagram. Claiming to give free one-way tickets to the first 15,000 followers, fake accounts were created on behalf on Delta, JetBlue and American Airlines. Fact checking should be a priority for those interested in a particular issue.

With the recent presidential campaign, Tweets, YouTube videos and images all affected the public’s thoughts toward the candidates such as photos published by Time magazine of vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s workout, or the viral YouTube remix version of President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment.

Every time a political debate was aired, biased sources or social media users would spin what the candidates said in an attempt to create controversy. This led to more and more people spreading these exaggerated rumors.

Gossip and scandals can largely affect the public’s opinion regarding someone who was looked up to as a hero or an inspirational figure. Recent rumors about Lance Armstrong cost him his seven Tour de France medals, and even a month later, his name has been all over the news due to his decision to step down from the Livestrong Foundation. As a reaction to all of this, people have left negative comments on his personal accounts without understanding the full story.

Many people believe what is being fed to them only because they see it is trending or because people are posting their thoughts about it. Although the oversaturation of information floating on the web creates a difficulty for users seeking the truth, it’s a better bet to rely on verified Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts than third party sources. And, in the case of a scandal, where the particular celebrity would have bias, fact checking with verified news sources is best. With this system implemented, false statements about people, companies and events could easily be avoided.


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Opinion: Athletes, coaches miss too much school time during season games

For districts, regionals and states, members of sports teams miss a substantial amount of school days to compete. For example, the football teams missed days of school during football season to travel upstate to play Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla. High school students and teachers involved in sports teams miss valuable school time each season and changes should be implemented to fix this.

Since missing school causes students to be behind in their studies and gives them many hours of make up work, a solution to this problem could be to schedule more events on weekends instead of during the school week. Also, the teachers who coach teams lose time to teach lessons, and their students won’t absorb the lesson as well if their teachers are missing school time.

Coaches may not want to give up their weekends to coach, but it saves sick days that the teacher-coaches would otherwise have to use. To convince the coaches to do this, the schools might want to give extra money for the dedication of these coaches. This could be money brought in from fundraisers or other events to raise money.

With travel costs and eating expenses, it is very hard for a coach to make a reasonable salary coaching. Obviously, if a coach loves his sport, losing money won’t discourage him or her that much, but not everyone wants to donate time and not get too much in return. Golf coach Vincent Grossi estimates that he loses over $1,800 per season that he coaches. He misses about 10 teaching days a year, for which he has to take sick days. With little financial incentive to coach a team, the number of good teacher-coaches will drastically decrease in the future.

Missing classes because of sporting events is a problem that both student-athletes and teacher-coaches experience. With the Advanced Placement (AP) classes and schoolwork piling up with Broward County’s new seven-period schedule, missing school is not beneficial for a student to play a sport. To fix these issues schools could consider better scheduling so sports don’t interfere with class time.



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Opinion: Effort must be made to keep hallways trash-free

The number of times students need to redirect their route to class because of spilled chocolate milk, squished pizza and smeared fries on the floor is completely out of hand.

With only seven minutes in between classes, students don’t need to waste time trying to avoid the trail of leftover lunch all over the floor. School lunches on the ground lead to hallways being congested in one section as students avoid the disgusting remains. It is not fair how one person’s laziness in throwing out food can lead to many people arriving to class late.

Inconsiderate people who don’t throw out their trash shouldn’t dictate whether or not someone makes it to where he or she needs to be. This whole process wastes time between classes, creating stress for students with great distances between classes and causes late arrivals.

Not only does leaving leftover lunch remains around the school waste time and cause tardiness, seeing scraps of food that have been walked over by hundreds of students is just repulsive. No one is volunteering to see someone’s uneaten food spread out in the hallways.

The custodians shouldn’t need to spend extra time during and after school cleaning up after thoughtless students. Custodians work hard enough, and they definitely don’t need lazy high school students making their jobs more difficult.

Students have lashed out on social media about this problem. Senior Ryan Gunderman said the scraps of food that decorate the halls turn the school into a hazard.

“Did I mention the pizza slices left on the floor act as great lubricants to the floor?” Gunderman said over Facebook. “It practically turns the hallways into Cypress Bay on Ice.”

Students should not have to fear for their safety when trying to get from place to place.

Students need to take pride in their school, and that starts with maintaining a comfortable and clean environment. Being able to have so much freedom as to where students are allowed to eat is a privilege that more people need to respect.

The solution isn’t difficult. Take five seconds, locate a trash can and be respectful of the student body’s time and safety. Students spend most of their day at the Bay, so everyone should keep it as clean as possible.

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Opinion: Concussion tests for football players should be thorough, done often

Josh Witt was the star linebacker for the Lightning varsity football team for two consecutive years. Upon graduating in 2012, he accepted a full athletic scholarship to play football at the University of Miami. But Witt’s collegiate football career has ended almost before it started.

Due to his repeated concussions in high school, Witt suffered damage that doctors discovered after he accepted the offer. The doctors determined that it would be detrimental to his health if he continues to play football. It is fortunate that the doctors caught it early enough that no major damage was done. If Witt continued to play, there may have ultimately been life-altering consequences.

This incident is a perfect example of why more thorough testing needs to be done in high school. If the concussion damage had not been found like it was by the university’s doctors, the damage would have been more severe and life threatening. High school sport representatives need to be more aware of the possible injuries that come from high-contact sports. Examples of Witt’s unfortunate experience happen in all levels of football. Undetected sports injuries require the utmost precision and care to ensure that concussions don’t interfere with the future lives of players.

Concussion tests should be completed after every contact activity or game in high school, instead of only if the player thinks he has been concussed. This will guarantee that a player is not playing under concussion-like symptoms. Many times players are trying to play the hero by staying in the game while suffering an injury, while ultimately it is hurting them. A concussion occurs when a sudden blow or force hits the skull. This causes an inflammation of the soft brain tissue and damages the blood vessels.

Short-term effects of concussions are headache, nausea, and blurred vision.  A player experiencing these symptoms could continue to play, furthering the damage to the brain.  The cumulative effects of concussions could eventually cause permanent brain damage and long-term disabilities.

A recent example of this would be former linebacker Junior Seau. The Miami Dolphins alumnus committed suicide this past May. Many people believe that continuous sustained concussions from playing football may have contributed to this event and other side effects like depression and epilepsy.

It is imperative that a law be established to detect concussions early in high school before they develop into a chronic situation. Football should not ultimately lead to a life of suffering and there are precautions that could help this.

Emphasis should be put on prohibiting contact with the head, which could lead to severe concussions.  Helmet safety is an ongoing process and companies are always producing the “new and best” helmets for players to wear. Concussions and other serious injuries are going to occur.  It is what the team doctors do when the player has these symptoms that is crucial.

Team doctors should be certified officials that know what to look for when assessing the situation of the incident.  If a high school team cannot afford the registered team medical staff, the county should provide it so all schools can run a successful and safe football program.

Changes like these should take place in every high school around the country.  It will make sports like football a lot safer to play and easier to enjoy without worrying that people playing could potentially get permanently injured.

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Opinion: Teens lack concern over tropical storms

The desire for students to have an extended weekend has reached a new low: praying for school to be cancelled due to hurricanes. It is clear that the current student body, while residing in Florida, has yet to live through a seriously devastating natural disaster. Otherwise attitudes toward this type of situation would be far from lighthearted, as they currently are.

It is almost sick to think that only one week into school, students flooded each other’s Twitter feeds with joyous “NO SCHOOL MONDAY!” tweets; as if the abnormal rain, tornado warnings and aggressive gusts of wind allowed them to carry on with their usual weekend activities. Although tropical storm Isaac was not a major threat to the area, perhaps the bigger threat is the level of ignorance that people display by not sympathizing with those whose communities could have been devastated by such conditions, like they were in Louisiana. Considering the major damage that a hurricane can cause seems to be the last thought on countless teenage minds, because having a single day off seems more rewarding than waking up at 6 a.m. for school.

Nowadays people are accustomed to carrying on with their recreational activities before setting their priorities straight. And as always, use of time differs among students. While some see hurricane days as glorious times to cram in every last chunk information for a test and spend the day studying, others simply waste away the hours by doing something as ordinary as watching television, playing video games and sleeping. In this particular case, majority rules all. Facebook statuses and tweets expressed the immoral satisfaction that a hurricane threat brings to students’ lives.

Teens see serious natural phenomena like hurricanes as a cheerful opportunity for a long weekend. If that is because they have been fortunate enough to only experience minor street floods and a temporary loss of electricity, then may the odds always be in their favor. But with that being said, longing for hurricanes to set their paths towards South Florida to have an extra day off continues to remain unjustified.


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