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March 9, 2018

Blueprint 5

Staff Editorial: examining the effectiveness of swipe Swipe. It’s been half a year, and it is here to stay. So, what has swipe accomplished? Has it been effective? The aim of swipe was not to eliminate tardies; instead, Swipe was implemented to streamline the tardy process and make the system easier for teachers. Certainly there are times that students are late to class due to circumstances out of their control; they got in an accident on the way to class, they had to stay late after class and their teacher refused to write a pass. But in the opinion of the Blueprint staff, these types of tardies—while still problematic—are not the true problem. The chronic tardies, the students who

never seem to get to class on time, these tardies represent the bigger problem. Ultimately, chronic truancy results from students deciding that being late to class every day is not outweighed by the resulting punishment. So, has swipe reduced the rate of truancy? It seems the answer is yes. No longer can students walk into class and hope their teacher doesn’t wish to take time out of class to write a tardy. Now, a tardy is automatic and non-negotiable. Also, tardies are now entered into a centralized system that gathers tardies, instead of being written by individual teachers. This change, in the staff ’s opinion, has streamlined the tardy problem and

done away with much of the confusion that existed before. Punishment is also now out of the hands of teachers. In the past, teachers had to call home and assign detentions. This is now up to the deans and the punishments are much clearer and consistent. Taking the onus of punishment away from teachers is a positive change as they can now focus on their primary job, teaching. Swipes have streamlined the tardy process, made teachers’ jobs easier and lessened many of the loopholes that allowed students to be tardy to class without punishment. The new system is not without flaws, but compared to the previous system it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Graphic by Emmanuelle Copeland

Rethinking the DGS anti-drug campaign Graphic by Emmanuelle Copeland By Emmamuelle Copeland, Graphics Director

On March 13, 2018, students at DGS will be taking the Illinois Youth Survey. This survey covers a multitude of subjects, from bullying to student participation in school activities to substance abuse. But with such an opportunity to find such extensive information about the school, it should be dealt with sensitively and applied appropriately. The data collected is valuable to seeing an accurate version of the school, but the handling of the data at our school isn’t effective. DGS uses the data most directly in its prevention of drug and alcohol use, with initiatives such as Red Ribbon Week and the Most Teens at DGS campaign. The methodology within these programs are both well-intentioned and researched. The school takes a nonabrasive stance towards

the student population, and acknowledges that it has students that are substance users. Their aim is to show how small the number of students who do use is, compelling students to join the majority of students who don’t abuse substances. However, the issue lies in our anti-drug campaigns. The message in these programs is often vague and feels too distant to students, making them less effective. Red Ribbon Week is the program that gets the most buzz at DGS. But it only lasts a week, so its messages are quickly forgotten. Its popularity makes a lot of sense. It generally tries to feature guest speakers that are recognizable and thus most students are inclined to hear about what they have to say. But that’s not what makes the message most memorable. Red Ribbon Week speakers have specificity in their arguments.

Of course, all prevention programs have the main claim of, “Don’t do drugs,” but the ones that are impactful are the ones that incite empathy. Events such as Red Ribbon Week and Operation Snowball allow students to realize how they can positively interact and be involved with their peers. Posters on the wall emphasizing statistical information can enlighten students on how they relate to their peers; however, it doesn’t always incite action because it doesn’t help them build relationships with their peers, which is key in preventing drug use. School prevention programs that work with community involvement programs, i.e. ones that involve family engagement or cultural programs, tend to be more successful according to studies conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol, Abuse and Alcoholism because they build more relationships and a

solid support system. With that in mind, improving DGS’ anti-drug campaign can be done by improving relationships and the culture of support systems around the building. For example, working alongside groups in different communities that represent how students identify, such as cultural groups or religious groups, and by addressing the diversity of students’ experiences would allow for students to feel empowered by people they can relate to, as opposed to targeted as a risk group. Events such as Operation Snowball already aim to make this their goal; however, additional group events that include more of the student population would be helpful in making the school’s anti-drug agenda more impactful. We already have things like the annual fitness day to increase awareness for programs and organizations associated

with physical health in a way that is fun while also highlighting many important issues. There’s no reason why support groups can’t also be featured in the same fashion. Focusing on transitional periods, like targeting incoming freshmen, allows for students to feel united by a common experience. Having the commonly acknowledged fresh start that freshman year supplies, social interaction problems can be prevented before they escalate so student’s don’t feel isolated through their struggles. Mad Dash works to accomplish this idea, but it would be more impactful if it was complemented by other support groups that bring students together. If the school is looking towards using the influence of peers to help its prevention efforts, it needs to introduce more social participation and encourage a culture of compassion.

Blueprint Staff:

Jayna Bardahl, Print Co-Editor-in-Chief; Sarah Major, Print Co-Editor-in-Chief; Katie Anthony, Print News Editor; Andrea Davenport, Print Opinions Editor; Srushti Desai, Print Entertainment Editor; Donte Reed, Print Sports Editor; Rhaya Truman, Print Features Editor; Mary Long; Faculty Advisor; Kari Alore, Co-Advisor; Mark Indreika, Co-Advisor

Student Submission:

Replies to articles may be emailed to the reporter or submitted in room A310. Letters must be signed, but names can be withheld upon request. E-mails with contact information should be sent to

05opinions issue 4  
05opinions issue 4