What Do High School Students Care About? Part Two.


April 26, 2018

Culver City high school teacher Kathleen Rowley gave her ninth-grade students an assignment to write letters to the editor based on independent research they did on subjects that matter to them. The research was peer-reviewed by fellow students; students later voted to choose the most popular subjects. Students were asked to write to the editor on topics with import for them.

Here are some more of the students' letters detailing their concerns.

The First part is on our website at: http://www.culvercityobserver.com


Increasing Awareness of Teen Suicide

Dear Editor,

Suicide is a very sensitive and important topic because most of the time we, as students, feel uncomfortable talking about it. Also, many students are the type of people who pay attention because they may have experienced suicidal thoughts. Teens commit suicide every year because they don't get any treatment and they have no one to talk to; in other words, they feel alone. Our community can help resolve this problem by investing in more programs at schools or outside of school and informing students about supports they can receive.

Hopefully this topic would spread awareness about suicide and help prevent it before someone dies and their family/friends are affected by their actions. According to America Foundation for Suicide Prevention “Suicide affects 44,965 people a year.” Those who seek help are wise and survivors because they sought help before they took their own life. We as students need to take it seriously when people discuss suicidal thoughts. Taking threats seriously could save someone's life and if we ignore them it could lead to someone's death. Unfortunately, many people lose their lives because they don't have anyone to talk to or trust. They believe suicide is the only way to stop the pain they have.

This information is being given so students can be informed on how serious the topic of suicide is, so they can know what to do and where to go if they need help. According to the Office of Suicide prevention, “A good relationship between the youth and his/her parents will open up communication.” This is important because if someone is depressed or troubled they always have their family. Teens often tend to keep their feelings to themselves, which keeps their friends and family oblivious to what is happening in their personal lives. Unfortunately, most teenagers don’t feel comfortable talking about their emotions with their parents. As stated earlier, having bonds with parents can be a huge help. Generally, building connections can ultimately can help a depressed teen’s situation from going bad to worse.

There are many ways to help prevent suicide. If the symptoms of feeling suicidal are making you feel like you're alone just know that’s not true and there are many people willing to help at any given time. This is very important because suicide not only affects the person, but everyone around that person. So, if you see someone who is feeling down be sure to ask if they’re okay because it could be just what they need.

Sincerely, Dylan Smith, Sergio Interiano, and Hannah Padilla

Why gun Laws Are So Important

Dear Editor,

Our recent discussion of guns is unprecedented in America. We, along with other Americans, want tougher gun laws. According to Continental News Network (CNN) gun homicide rates are 25.2 times higher in the U.S. than in other wealthy countries. This is terrible and we need to change this, because safety is very important to everyone. We need to control the people that have guns by bettering psychiatric assessments and by banning fully automatic guns.

In America, too many mass shootings occur due to the lack of diligence from the government to properly take care of individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. To explain, from 1900 through 2017 about 59% of the 185 public mass shootings that occurred in the United States were caused by people who either had a mental illness or showed signs of a serious mental illness before the attack, according to statistic gathered by The Los Angeles Times. In fact, mass murderers are 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with a mental illness than the general population, as stated by The Los Angeles Times. This should be important to gun control advocates; they should know that while guns are part of the problem, it is also important that we focus on helping people with mental illnesses in order to prevent tragedies from occurring. In recent media reports, the Parkland shooter made statements saying “I want to kill people” and “I plan to shoot up a school”. These statements are important because it shows that the Parkland shooter had some sort of mental illness, but that it was never treated correctly or treated at all. This is evidence of neglect of mentally ill people in America because not only did the Parkland shooter make one statement saying that he wanted to kill people, but he made two statements and still nothing was done. While it may seem trivial, this is in fact addressing the larger matter of taking care of the mentally ill in the United States.

We, as Americans, need to step up and ban automatic guns. They need to be banned because they are one of the most dangerous types of guns, as they are able to shoot multiple rounds at incredible speeds without needing to reload. For example, in Las Vegas, the gunman used an automatic weapon and killed 50 people and wounded 500 people. If we had banned automatic weapons then it could have prevented this shooting. How did we let this happen? He was able to kill 50 people and injure about 10 times that amount. Now, we need to do something about this because we cannot just sit and watch these mass shootings occur over and over again. At this point, everyone should care about banning automatic weapons because it is for the safety of our country. Not only that, but in order to do this we need to vote in local representatives who are for gun control, such as California Senator Kamala Harris who could eventually run for Oval Office.

Guns violence has been happening for years now and with the increase of school shootings, guns should not be able to be purchased by people under 21. We, the people, should have better gun laws and with these better laws people would feel safer in our country. People that are pro gun don’t understand that guns are a big part of why school shootings happen. Shootings happen because of people and guns. It's not just because the person, it is because they have a gun. If more gun laws were put in place in the future, people would feel safer in their communities.


Darrius Gay, Alexis Lopez, Christopher Trainer, and Adrian Simon

March 23, 2018

We Need To Address Suicide By Teens

Dear Editor,

According to American Psychological Association there are about 123 suicides per day. Some people in high school today say suicidal comments such as “I want to kill myself.” Is this a joke? When you think of teens, you might think happy kids in their best years. In reality, most teens are begging for help inside but don’t ask for it. Teens that are suicidal like to keep in their emotions and feelings because that is the only way they know how to cope. We need to consider that this can be anyone, a friend or even a family member. We can change the number of deaths by reaching out to people that may be going through a hard time. We can prevent suicide in teens by watching out for signs and understanding the main reasons teens commit suicide.

Unfortunately, instead of addressing teen suicide we focus more on politics and our cellular devices. As a matter of fact, some teens commit suicide because of emotional and environmental causes. For instance teen suicide is thought of as a way to escape feelings of pain, rejection, hurt, being unloved, victimization or loss. Ultimately, warning signs show us that teens feel the need to jump to the only way to “escape” which is death. For this reason, their pain will go away, but others will suffer the pain they felt before. It doesn’t solve anything to just leave this world but it will help to talk to others and open up.

People die daily from suicide. This is crucial because these are people that could have been saved if we just talked to them or at least tried to understand what they were going through. How much longer will we let this go on? In fact some people show warning signs like suicidal comments, certain cut marks, behavior change such as depression and anger, and drug abuse. Parents, students, teachers, everyone needs to watch for these signs. If a teen shows signs, go help by connecting with them and asking how their day was because anything helps instead of sitting around and watching teens commit suicide.

Ignoring suicidal actions or thoughts is not right. Suicide can and will be prevented by listening to the teens who may seem suicidal, providing guidance, and by recognizing some of the warning signs they may give off. Ignoring others who may be suicidal is the same as being the guilty one to help kill them. Teenagers might say “I don't want to talk about my emotions” because no one will understand what they’re going through, but fail to recognize talking to someone may save them. There should be no reason that others may feel alone or scared to the point where they won’t be able to talk to someone they may see as untrustworthy about how they feel. We as a whole community need to stand up and address this issue head on and not hold back. If anyone sees someone anywhere that may give off signs of depression, they should get up and talk to that person or even just accompany them to get help.


Nick Funes, Tatiana Reyes, & Hannah Gutierrez


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