December 10, 2019
Vol. 61 No. 02
The Beachcomber Beachwood High School 25100 Fairmount Boulevard Beachwood, Ohio
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Stanford Professor Jennifer Eberhardt Returns to Beachwood By Hiba Ali Staff Writer
Beachwood alum and Stanford University Professor Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt, an award-winning psychologist who studies unconscious bias, addressed the high school on Wednesday, Nov. 6. Eberhardt was introduced by BHS senior Priyanka Shrestha. “Please join me in welcoming Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt back to Beachwood,” Shrestha said. Eberhardt had addressed teachers at an in-service the day before and presented to parents on Wednesday evening. The MacArthur Foundation selected Eberhardt as a MacArthur Fellow in 2014 for her research on hidden prejudices, and she recently published a book called Bias. Administrators invited her in order to help address issues of equity and inclusion.
Inside This Issue...
“She has a similar experience to [many] students,” said Kevin Houchins, Director of Equity and Community Engagement. “She came from a different place and bought her cultures, had successes and struggles and a lot of students can identify with her experiences.” Eberhardt began her speech by testing the students. She gave a description and briefly showed an image of a white woman, then presented a slide with different white women and then asked students to identify the same woman out of a gallery of white female faces. She repeated this process with an African American woman. The point of this exercise was to point out that people are more likely to recognize faces of our own race, revealing our hidden biases. In her speech, Eberhadt described what it was like to grow up in Cleveland and move to Beachwood in seventh grade. In Beachwood there were more resources and opportunities, making success possible for everyone. While everyone was nice, she had a hard time matching names
to faces due to the sheer number of white students. “The move changed me in some ways,” she said. “I became acutely aware of inequality.” She also mentioned the role that art teacher Allen Scott played in her life. Calling him the “Yoda” of Beachwood, she said that he was a key adviser and ally in her life. He even inspired her to pursue art in college; however, that career path was short-lived as she realized it wouldn’t be the same without Scott’s mentorship. That’s when she realized that all the things she loved about art with Mr. Scott would drive her to pursue a career in psychology. “I associated art with ideas, solutions to challenging problems, freedom to think and feel differently,” Eberhardt said. Eberhardt also referenced a portion of her book about a painting she did with her friend in art class. They painted a tree coming out of the mountains, which, upon closer inspection, becomes a hand reaching out of a throng of robed KKK members. The hand reaches out towards the sun, where
an image of Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s face is painted. Superintendent Dr. Bob Hardis said the painting had been lost during the school’s renovation, and he was not sure whether it could be found. Knowing how much it meant to Eberhardt, school administrators searched for the painting and surprised her with it at the assembly. Eberhardt also talked about the role the brain plays in bias. She said that our neural pathways begin to categorize the familiar and the unfamiliar, and the more time spent with people of a given skin tone, the more the brain is familiarized with them. She went on to talk about the criminal justice system, explaining that a man who is more stereotypically ‘black’ is more likely to receive a harsh sentence than a man of a lighter skin tone who committed the same crime. She said that stereotypes guide everyone’s views and actions, including those who should be neutral, such as judges and prosecutors. Cont’d on pg. 2
Dr. Eberhardt reconnects with her high school art teacher Allen Scott, now retired. They stand in front of a painting celebrating the civil rights movement, painted by Eberhardt and a friend in Scott’s class. Photo by Elizabeth Metz
Mayor Horowitz Investigated For Workplace Harassment Debate Team Relaunched
The Joker review
Kashmir: The Real Story
Football Playoff Run
By Tal Rothberg News Editor Beachwood City Council held a public meeting with special counsell on Oct. 30 for a presentation of an investigation into allegations of workplace harassment by Mayor Martin Horwitz. After a dramatic airing of findings and criticism from residents who believed the investigation was politically motivated, council voted that the mayor’s actions did not rise to the level of removal from office, accepted his apologies and pledged to follow through on remedies. Additionally, some council members emphasized a need for a more robust human resources department. The city hired Carole Rendon from the law firm BakerHostetler in August to serve as Special Counsel and to investigate the matter at a cost of up to $30,000. The allegations had been presented orally on Oct. 4 in a closed-door executive session during which the Mayor was not present. Council President Brian Linick opened the Oct. 30 meeting by explaining the objectives for the evening. “It’s not a hearing, not a trial,” he said. “This was information reported to city council, not something city council ‘went out seeking,’” he said. City council members received a copy of the report during the meeting. It was not available beforehand to council members, the Mayor or employees of the city. Now Rendon and her colleague Carrie Valdez would publicly read the findings of the investigation. “[The] allegations were
reported by city employees [and] the city undertook an independent investigation,” Rendon read from the report. Baker attorneys interviewed 11 current and former city employees, male and female, across different departments. “[Seven of those interviewed were] either subjected to, witnessed or received a report of inappropriate behavior by the mayor,” Rendon read. Horwitz admitted to investigators that he may have made some of the statements reported, but that they were intended as jokes. “[He] admitted he had an odd sense of humor and that he uses his sense of humor as a defense mechanism when he is anxious or nervous,” Rendon continued. In Spring of 2018, Horwitz attended a citywide mandatory sexual harassment training. “[The Mayor] claimed that nobody had ever approached him or told him that anything he had said or done was inappropriate or made others uncomfortable,” she added. This was contradicted by several witnesses, according to the report. The allegations were split into three categories: substantiated, highly credible and unsubstantiated. Not all allegations are included in this article. A full transcript of the summary of the report has been published by The Cleveland Jewish News. “Substantiated statements were those the Mayor acknowledged, or there were multiple witnesses present who saw or heard the alleged inappropriate conduct,” Rendon explained. “Highly credible ones were either heard by a witness who took contemporaneous notes
of the statements, or [were] immediately reported to another city employee, who related the incident to the investigators in substantially the same way as reported by the witness,” she continued. Substantiated allegations included a rude comment to a pregnant woman. “Wow, you’ve really let yourself go,” he allegedly said. This was later rebutted by the Mayor’s lawyer Dale Markowitz, who said the Mayor was speaking to a person sitting in someone else’s chair, and that it was meant as a joke. “When discussing whether his personal computer would be a matter of public record, Horwitz allegedly asked ‘whether the pornography on his computer was a public record that could be searched,’” according to the report. Horwitz admitted it was possible he could have said something ironically along those lines. “Horwitz allegedly told a city employee that his wife was going out of town, and that he was excited for the next four days of ‘hookers and heroin,’” according to the report. Horwitz allegedly commented on an employee’s new look. “What is this look? I like this look.” He allegedly said. Many in the audience shook their heads, questioning whether that comment should be considered grounds for sexual harassment. “I haven’t fired anyone yet today, but maybe I will, you never know,” he was alleged to have said multiple times. “[If I] said it, it was meant as a joke,” he said. In another incident, the Mayor appeared to be looking
Mayor Horwitz assumed office in January 2018. Photo from Beachcomber archives by Prerna Mukherjee down at a woman’s chest tattoo that was partially showing. “I’m just trying to see how far down that tattoo goes,” the Mayor allegedly explained. This statement was reported to investigators by more than one individual, but Mayor Horwitz denied it, according to the report. Highly credible allegations included Horwitz making a joke about two female political candidates. “This is the first time I’ve been between two women... and even though this is a complete fantasy of mine, I don’t know who to back,” he is alleged to have said. Horwitz denied it, but then said to the investigator, “It’s a good line. I wish I had thought of it.” “Horwitz allegedly told an employee that if she ever had children, she would be fired. Mayor Horwitz denied the allegation,” Rendon continued. Allegations that could not be corroborated included an individual discovering a typo the mayor had made. The individual brought it back to be resigned and Horwitz allegedly said, “I should punish
you.” The person who reported this allegation perceived the mayor’s tone as sexual.” “Wow, you’re not only good looking. You’re actually smart, too,” he allegedly said to a female employee. Horwitz allegedly bragged about being the mayor who hired the first ‘colored’ firefighter in Beachwood, according to the report. “You should come and work in the mayor’s office with me,” he allegedly added. In another incident, the mayor was on scene at a significant house fire. An individual allegedly told the mayor that if the fire were at night they would have had to pull bodies out of the house. “That’s only if you could find them,” Horwitz allegedly responded. The individual asked the mayor what he meant by that. “You know they’re black,” Horwitz allegedly added, referring to the people who lived at the house. “When they burn up, they’re really hard to find in fires.” “Why is it appropriate for Cont’d on pg. 5
News Teachers Working Under New Contract This Year
By Vivian Li Editor-in-Chief Beachwood teachers are working under a new contract, effective until Aug. 2022. The previous three-year teacher contract was ratified in Aug. 2015 and ended Aug. 2018. Last year, Beachwood teachers worked without a new deal due to the failure of Issue 2, a combined operating and bond levy. “Our teachers worked under a renewed one year from the previous three-year contract while we continued to negotiate,” Superintendent Dr. Bob Hardis said. A retroactive contract for the 2018-2019 school year was agreed upon over the summer, along with a new contract for the next three years. The contract includes a 2% raise each year and a new pay scale called Salary Schedule D for newly-hired teachers. “The district now has a new pay scale that will pay [new and future] teachers less..., but [administrators] wanted it to help [the district] be more financially stable in future years,” Beachwood Federation of Teachers (BFT) President Evan Luzar said. Salary schedules determine the incomes of employees throughout their careers. With more years of experience and/or advancement in educational degree, teachers can earn an increase in salary, moving them a step down a column or over a row. According to Hardis, the new salary schedule for new certificated staff was negotiated to reduce the disparity between Beachwood and other districts while still remaining competitive for recruiting. “We are fiscal stewards of taxpayers’ money,” Hardis said. “We never want our salary to prevent us from recruiting the person we want to hire, [but] we think we could do that without giving that person such a large increase from their current salary.” As a result, although the starting salary of new Beachwood teachers is ratcheted back, the district’s teachers Eberhardt Cont’d from pg. 1 “Six in ten Americans believe race relations are generally bad,” Eberhardt said. “The majority feels things are getting worse, slipping back in time, and are struggling to understand what’s going on.” Eberhardt also said that science helps to soothe the pain when looking at bias. One of the reasons she conducted so much research was to understand and find the meaning of bias. Science can also help find ways to combat bias. “We are not doomed to be under its grip, we’re not always vulnerable to always act on bias all the time or be affected by it all the time. There are conditions that can muffle it; understanding can help curb it,” Eberhardt said. Eberhardt ended her speech with a story about teaching a psychology class at San Quentin prison. During her first class, she had asked the students why they decided to take the class. One man said he had been incarcerated since he was 14-years-old. “I want to understand how
“The district now has a new pay scale that will pay [new and future] teachers less..., but [administrators] wanted it to help [the district] be more financially stable in future years” -BFT President Evan Luzar
Teachers worked without a contract last year due to the failure of the combined operating and bond levy, Issue 2. Image by Claire Weaver remain among the highest paid in the state of Ohio. In 2017-2018, the average teacher starting salary in Ohio was $35,923. According to records from the Ohio State Employment Relations Board, Beachwood’s 2019-2020 Salary Schedule D for new teachers with a BA will have a starting salary of $45,000. A teacher with 35 or more years of teaching experience who has earned a MA degree and an additional 60 graduate credit hours in education coursework will earn $113,000. Teachers working under Salary Schedule B and C would have a maximum achievable salary of $114,029 after 15 years of experience and $114,805 after 27 years of experience, respectively. In comparison, Orange City Schools 2019-2020 Salary Schedule shows a base salary of $49,614 and a maximum salary of $112,646 with a PhD and 30+ years of teaching experience. Solon City Schools 2019-2020 Salary Schedule shows a base salary of $45,076 for new teachers with a BA and a maximum of $103,489 for teachers with a MA and 30+ years of teaching experience. “We felt that by negotiating the new salary schedule, we ensured we would not lose any ability to recruit people, free people think,” he told her. That made her realize that so many people are trying to move towards freedom. She said that Beachwood is helping students move towards freedom. “Beachwood is helping you—helping you have a position to contribute to that society, helping you see differently… see more… as you prepare to graduate,” she said. “Know there is so much to look forward to, also know that it’s a mess out there, and the world needs you... your courage, imagination, insight and energy. Wherever or however you decide to embed yourself in the world, Beachwood is a place you can come back to, an image you can come back to always.” Eberhardt then gave the students a little pop quiz based on her presentation. Those who answered correctly received a signed copy of her book. Unconscious bias impacts how students are treated in school; however, there are ways to combat the impacts of bias.
but at the same time not pay raises that were outside the market for teachers in northeast Ohio,” Hardis said. While changes to health care benefits are not significant, the contract encourages those who use the health care plan to be “comparison shoppers.” “With every contract, we try to inch a little more toward a health care plan that shifts costs to those who use the healthcare plan more,” Hardis said. “All of us who pay into Beachwood’s health care plan… end up paying more in our rates for health care if people don’t comparison shop.” “We keep trying to take small measures to battle against the rapid increase in healthcare costs, and that benefits everybody,” he added. Another difference to the new contract is the revision to language surrounding professional development days. “We had a common interest with the BFT in seeing change in some of the language that restricted how [professional development] days were used,” Hardis said. “[Both teams] agreed to make them more flexible so that we could utilize them in more creative ways responsive to the needs of the schools.” Under the last contract,
“We keep trying to take small measures to battle against the rapid increase in healthcare costs, and that benefits everybody,” -Superintendent Dr. Bob Hardis teachers had three professional development days. The new contract changed this to two professional development days and two evening programs. “Teachers will have two separate evenings that they wouldn’t have before that the administration can use for parent teacher conferences, curriculum nights or whatever they would like,” Luzar said. Luzar explained that there are two processes involved in establishing a new contract: the negotiating process and the ratification process. The negotiating process, a long and involved process, includes the BFT’s team and the administration’s team. Each side is allowed six members. “We each present issues that we would like to address, and we try to come up with language that addresses these issues or solves problems,” Luzar said. “Sometimes we can’t come up with an agreement, and we just drop the issues and the status quo is maintained. Sometimes we’re able to come to an agreement and we create new language or new procedures that are satisfactory to both sides.” Hardis described the process as transparent and collaborative.
“The move [to Beachwood] changed me in some ways. I became acutely aware of inequality.” -Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt “She outlined it in her book and in conversation: slowing things down,” Houchins said. “Instead of having instant reactions, [people should] slow down and think.” “People see things happening and make assumptions… without trying to ask questions or find out the truth-- as she talked about in her book--[we need to] put friction [into the decisionmaking process],” he added. Houchins described a situation in which he has slowed down his own decision-making process. “Let’s say I’m passing through the school and there’s
a kid who is having a conflict,” he said. “Before I assume that this kid is causing trouble, the thing I’ve started doing is to ask if they’re okay.” Houchins feels that this process could improve the school environment for everyone. “Put that friction in, and a lot of times you’ll find there is a reason, and people are just reaching out to you,” he continued. Many students and staff members appreciated Eberhardt’s message. “I liked the big art reveal, and I appreciated that she came back to Beach-
“You just keep hashing things out until you get to a place where everyone agrees, or, at minimum, we trade-off something… You compromise in that way until [both sides feel that they’ve negotiated a fair contract],” he said. Physical education teacher Mary Deitrick, a member of the BFT team, emphasized the importance of listening when negotiating. “Being a good listener is a very big part of this process,” she said. “I imparted knowledge when I could, and I listened and gave feedback as much as possible.” Language Arts teacher Michele Toomey, also a member of the union’s negotiating team, agreed. “For me, the most important part of this process was the mutual ability of the negotiating members to truly hear the opposing viewpoint, to consider that viewpoint and to return to the table with a compromise,” Toomey wrote in an email. “It takes an open mind to be able to envision and understand the interests of an opposing party. In our own narratives that group is often the ‘other,’ when in essence we all truly have the same goals,” she added. Once the negotiating teams arrive at a contract they are
comfortable with, the ratification process begins. The union’s negotiating team presents the new deal to the union. Two question and answer sessions are held, and a vote is conducted. “If the union ratifies [the new contract], then the board votes to approve it. Once that happens, you have a new contract that is enforced for three years,” Luzar said. A lot of time is spent creating the language of the contract. “We try to be as clear and explicit as possible when creating new language to avoid future conflict over what the meaning of the language is,” Luzar said. “One word can affect a contract drastically,” Deitrick added. Hardis agreed that clear, concise language is important to establishing good contracts. “When you have a contract that has very clear language in it that everyone understands, that makes a world of difference in terms of the everyday functioning of the organization because people have a clear understanding of what their requirements are [and] have a clear understanding of what their benefits and salary will be,” he said.
“ We’re not always vulnerable to always act on bias all the time or be affected by it all the time. There are conditions that can muffle it; understanding can help curb it.” -Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt wood,” junior Amanda Bendis said. “It was nice.” “I think it confirmed for me that we all have implicit bias, and we need to work hard to try to recognize that and to try to combat it,” Social Studies teacher Melissa Buddenhagen said. “I think her research about bias against suspects is really important because it speaks to all the issues we have as a nation around law enforcement and judicial system,” she add-
ed. “It was really impactful.” “Interesting from a psychological perspective,” said senior Kanrry Kang. “[There were] so many impactful parts, what resonated with me was how much her interaction with Mr. Scott impacted her life,” library / media assistant Paige Dudley said. “[It was surprising] that she can take the things we look at as not connected and connect those.”
Bison Briefs Final exams will be Tuesday, Dec. 17 to Thursday, Dec. 19. Friday, Dec. 20 will be a make-up exam day. Winter Break will be Dec. 21 to Jan 5. The BHS orchestra performed alongside the Case Western Reserve University Orchestra at the Maltz Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Nov. 17. The Leadership Conference took place during the weekend of Nov. 8 through Nov. 10. The theme for this year was types of cereals, and Three of 13 student questions related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry. Brown said he would need to hear Trump’s defense prior to voting in a Senate trial. Photo by Daria Hovdiushyna.
Senator Sherrod Brown Visits BHS By Yoav Pinhsai Staff Writer United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) paid a visit to BHS on Friday, Nov. 1 to answer students’ questions about life in the Senate. Government students went to the auditorium during 10th period for an in-school field trip, where they were joined by social studies teachers Dominic Velotta and Pam Ogilvy, Assistant Principal Ryan Patti, Principal Paul Chase and several other faculty members. School Board members Josh Mintz, Dr. Brian Weiss, Megan Walsh and Maria Bennett also attended the event. Prior to the visit, students in Government classes were given the opportunity to submit questions to ask the senator directly. Following a short introduction by junior Samuel Horowitz, Senator Brown began with brief introductory remarks extolling the advancement of education standards, worker protections and civil rights in the past few decades. “What drives me,” said Senator Brown, referring to these achievements, “is to move the country forward like that.” The floor was then opened to students for questions. Over the next 45 minutes, the senator answered questions ranging from political to personal. Addressing senior Nikhil Murali’s question about automation and the manufacturing sector, Senator Brown explained his view that the “dignity of work” has been undermined [for blue collar Americans] by unfavorable trade deals and taxes friendlier to corporations overseas. The senator then responded to junior Yossi Berkowitz, who asked about the Green New Deal, notably calling the legislation a “lot of talk” and demanding immediate action. Senator Brown criticized
“What drives me, is to move the country forward…” -Senator Sherrod Brown
“He thoroughly answered everyone’s questions, and I could see that he really cared, even if it was a visit to a high school.” — Junior Somin Jung Republicans “who refuse to do anything,” having been bought by the Koch Brothers and fossil fuel interest groups. He also denounced Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement as “despicable, frankly.” Answering later questions, the Senator called police brutality “explicit racism” and acknowledged that racial gentrification is resulting in “segregated housing in far too many places,” Cleveland included. Brown then affirmed the use of official titles to do good things, bringing up a personal story of eating take-out along with Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Chuck Schumer in the Senate lunchroom to protest the cafeteria workers’ meager $10-per-hour wages. Senator Brown also asserted that Heartbeat bills in Ohio and elsewhere threaten decades’ worth of progress in women’s rights, that the government should be investing more in teachers and less in defense and that healthcare with strong consumer protections is a universal right. A common theme in his responses was sharp criticism of current President Donald Trump. Senator Brown took every opportunity to condemn Trump, referring to him at various times as “A president that attacks people because of their religion,” that “lies repeatedly every day” and
that “divides people”—a “racist” and “sexist” who “doesn’t tell the truth [and] doesn’t rely on people who know things.” “Everything is upside down [under President Trump],” the senator said in sum. Three of the 13 questions asked related to the ongoing impeachment inquiry, with regard to which, Senator Brown explained that were he in the House of Representatives, he would vote to pass articles of impeachment based on the available evidence of executive wrongdoing. However, the senator continued, he would need to hear Trump’s defense prior to voting in a Senate trial. He also clarified that votes on the matter must consider the facts of the case and not popular judgement, as tempting as it may be for elected officials. The event ended in time for students and staff to attend academy, though some remained for selfies with the senator. Walsh hailed the event as “democracy at work.” Velotta had emphasized the singularity of a senatorial visit to his government classes on several occasions leading up the event. “We thought it would be an awesome opportunity for our students to be able to meet a U.S. Senator (1 out of 100) and ask him questions about his role in government and how it relates to content learned in our AP Government &
Government courses,” Velotta wrote in an email. “I honestly had a pretty good experience,” junior Somin Jung said. “I personally enjoyed the effort [Senator Brown] put into being relatable with our generation. He thoroughly answered everyone’s questions, and I could see that he really cared, even if it was a visit to a high school.” Junior Tal Rothberg also enjoyed the unique opportunity of hearing the senator speak. “[I appreciated] how he shared his political views, and wasn’t afraid to speak out,” she said. Horowitz, who introduced Senator Brown at the assembly, helped coordinate the visit. He explained that his step-mother had worked with Brown in his early 2000s campaign, developing a “family relationship” through which he hoped to afford classmates the opportunity to meet the senator. Brown was open and receptive to the idea, according to Horowitz. “[Horowitz] came to me in September and asked if I would be interested in having Senator Brown come in and talk to [students in Government classes],” Velotta continued. “It took a couple of weeks to work through the logistics between Senator Brown’s office and our administration.”
students engaged in team activities as well as the annual field trip to a ropes course. Congratulations! At the first Model UN conference of the year at Lorain County Community College, Beachwood won Best Large School Delegation and 17 individual awards. The team is preparing for the next conference on Dec. 11 and 12. Football: First Team All Ohio: Letraize Walker and Dawann Gray, Jr. First Team All District: Marcus Moore, Letraize Walker, and Dawann Gray Jr. School record for 10 extra points in a single half: Spencer Kornspan Girls Soccer: News-Herald All-Stars: Sydney Sarver (2nd), Carly Petti(3rd) and Romi Roth (3rd). Fourth player in team history to reach 100 points: Sydney Sarver Boys Soccer: All District Second Team: Ivan Thal, United Soccer Coaches Team Academic All American Award GCSSCA Team Sportsmanship / Integrity Award Golf: CVC Honors: James O’Neill (1st Team), Matt Blumenthal (1st Team) & Jack Gordon (2nd Team) District Qualifiers: James O’Neill & Matt Blumenthal Girls Tennis: CVC Honors: Zilin Zhang (2nd Team) & Sabrina Machtay (2nd Team) District Qualifiers: Emily Fan & Anna Owens CVC Coach of the Year: Kevin Vaughn Volleyball: CVC Honors: Cassidy Gilliam (1st Team), Erion Gibson (1st Team), Nicole Petty (2nd Team), Kyimani Miller (2nd Team) Tiffany McFarland - CVC Coach of the Year Record-Breaking Performances/Individual Notables Kyimani Miller - Most Aces in a Season - 51 Erion Gibson - Most Kills in a Career - 287 Cassidy Gilliam - Most Assists in a Career - 1,285 Cassidy Gilliam - Most Assists in a Season - 563 Nicole Petty - Most Digs in a Season - 298 Nicole Petty - Most Digs in a Match - 30 Nicole Petty - Most Digs in a Career - 672 Team Notables: Chagrin Valley Conference Champions - 1st Conference Championship in school history Best Record in school history - 21-2 Sectional Champions Cross Country: Regional Qualifiers: Caleb Berns and Emily Isaacson All CVC: Greg Perryman (2nd Team) 15 CVC scholar athletes
Features Speech and Debate Team Relaunched
By Tal Rothberg and Shari Spiegel
Juniors Yoav Pinhasi and Somin Jung have brought speech and debate back to BHS. It has been two years since the school has had a debate team. English teacher Nicole Majercak coached the team beginning in 2008, but it went defunct in 2016-17 when she was no longer able to coach the team. Jung and Pinhasi wanted students to have an opportunity to improve their debating skills. “[Our main goal is] to allow students to critically evaluate significant issues and arguments while also improving verbal and written communication skills,” Pinhasi said. The debate team coach is Erica Stubbs, a Title I tutor in the English department. Attorney Yasmina Martin is Debaters meet on Thursday evenings to prepare and the assistant coach. practice arguments. Photo by Somin Jung Although team leaders held previous meetings, the tures of debate and speech take a position on a dummy first meeting open to all stu- events and asked students resolution about whether to dents was Thursday, Oct. 24. to [introduce themselves],” replace summer break with Pinhasi said. year-round two-week breaks Around 20 kids attended. Students were also asked to and to give more formal one“We introduced the club– the types and formal strucminute speeches on whether
“[We want to debate] political and socioeconomic issues that are important to students and relevant in competitions.” — Junior Yoav Pinhasi awards should be given in sports and academic competitions. They plan to debate topics ranging from serious to silly, including whether Santa Claus is good or evil. “[We want to debate] political and socioeconomic issues that are important to students and relevant in competitions, in communities around us, and in life,” Pinhasi said. They plan on attending
competitions at the local level for now on certain Saturdays. The first tournament they will have the opportunity to compete in will be at Chagrin Falls on Nov. 16. The local season ends February. Speech and debate tournaments include competitions in congressional debate, dramatic interpretation, LincolnDouglas debate, and original oratory. Students who qualify can compete at state and national tournaments. However, before that, they have a lot of work to do. The team will begin by focusing on congressional debate.
“[We will] focus on acclimating to public speaking, developing speech content and rhetoric and other fundamental skills of persuasion” Pinhasi said. “[We will practice writing and giving speeches], engaging in structured debates, and preparing for competitions,” he added. “We encourage anyone with an interest in debate, speech or communication to consider joining,” Jung said. “Debate club is a medium for expression, and we encourage interested students to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Educators Consider the Pros and Cons of Cell Phones in Class By Roberto DeMarchi Staff Writer
As cell phones have become increasingly omnipresent and powerful, schools, including BHS, must try to strike a balance between what is useful and what is disruptive as far as electronics are concerned. “The district is very concerned about students using electronic devices to take pictures, videotape or to record school employees or other students without their consent,” states the BHS Student Handbook of 2019-2020. However, the policy does not ban the use of cell phones for educational purposes. “Any policy you have in the handbook, there has to be a common sense approach in implementing it,” Principal Paul Chase said. Chase acknowledges that phones can be used for educational purposes. He also explained that while unsolicited recording of a staff member or student is rather uncommon, it is a serious violation of school rules. According to Chase, the cell phone policy has evolved since he first came to Beachwood as high school Assistant Principal in 2006. Previous policies regarding cell phones initially restricted the electronic devices to lockers. Later, students were allowed to bring their phones into the classroom, provided that they were set on silent and stayed in the students’ pockets. Finally, some teachers permitted phones in the classroom, as long as they were not disruptive to the learning process. In fact, several teachers, seeing the potential in handheld devices, use them as instructional tools. Some high schools in Ohio have stricter policies towards cell phones. The Dayton Dai-
ly News published an article in August by Sarah Hagan and Jeremy Kelly examining school policies in the Dayton area. “Carroll High School officials said students are not allowed to use cellphones during school hours at all, while Dayton Public Schools and the Warren County Career Center said phones must be put away completely during class,” they wrote It was not specified whether or not school of-
and more test prep and different online programs that are supposed to supplement education.” He also mentioned that he does not see much use in confiscating phones, since students can simply open up their Chromebooks and continue to do non-classwork activities there. Of course, both cell phones and Chromebooks can have content blocked or monitored while on the school wifi. Science teacher Lisa Bu-
In one BHS study hall, most students were observed working on schoolwork at the beginning of the period, but by the end of the period most were on their phones, texting their friends or watching videos. ficials in these districts were specifically concerned about prohibited recordings, but clearly, this is a concern of Beachwood staff. “It’s definitely a potential hazard,” said guidance counselor Jason Downey said. “That’s why we strongly encourage students to not use them in class unless the teacher gives them permission.” On the other hand, electronic aids can certainly be helpful in a classroom setting, provided that they don’t draw attention away from learning. “There is this push for more and more technology in the classroom, too,” English teacher Josh Davis said regarding electronics in school. “More and more apps, more
genske allows students to use their phones to access academic apps or use them as calculators, as well as taking photos to create videos for the class. Similarly, high school teacher Curtis White, writing for the magazine Education Week, emphasized that students’ cell phones can be used to enhance education. “My high school students’ use of technology has become almost invisible as we leverage the tools in our pockets to create, collaborate, analyze and synthesize together,” he wrote. In one BHS study hall, most students were observed working on schoolwork at the beginning of the period, but by the end
of the period most were on their phones, texting their friends or watching videos. This pattern can perhaps be attributed to most students having finished their most pressing work by the end of the study hall. Additionally, while walking the BHS hallways, one observes many students on their phones. “I’ve had to correct students many times, walking with their head down, texting or looking at Facebook, when they almost run into somebody else or the wall,” Downey said. When a student is seated and working on an assignment, their cell phone can make for an effective personal music player. “I usually use it for music. Just now I was doing math homework and I was listening to music,” said Mallory Chylla when asked about her use of her cell phone. “Sometimes, if I finish all my work, I’ll go on social media, but I try to do my work first.” Communication between students is also made easier by the use of cell phones. “Sometimes I get a meeting for a club, and they didn’t even tell me the day before,” sophomore Hiba Ali said. Such last-minute notifications require near-instant communication to rearrange schedules, which is provided by cell phones. Many teachers have a rack for holding phones in their classroom, where students should leave their devices when not using them for classwork. While some teachers who do not use the racks have expressed concern about phones being stolen from these racks, Bugenske feels that the use of these
Image source: Oleksandr Panasovskyi, UA via thenounproject racks has actually reduced incidents. Prior to using a phone holder in her classroom, she would see students pranking one another by hiding their phones, which were grabbed from desktops. Since the phone rack was installed, she has not seen this sort of harassment continue. Of course, holding another student’s cell phone hostage is far from the only way technology can lead to disruptions in classrooms. “Harassment, intimidation or bullying also means cyberbullying through electronically transmitted acts,” the Student Handbook states. Attorney Monica Steiner, a member of the California State Bar addressed these issues in an article on the website CriminalDefenseLawyer. “In 2014, and after a series of cyberbullying-related teen suicides, a significant public outcry in Ohio arose to modify existing
state laws (or create new ones) that better respond to the unique harm caused by cyberbullying,” she wrote. New legislation has yet to be written regarding cyberbullying, but school boards in Ohio are required by law to adopt strict anti-bullying policies. “[A bully] may also face charges under Ohio’s ‘menacing by stalking’ law when the bully engaged in two or more acts that caused the victim to believe that the bully was going to cause physical or mental harm to the victim,” Steiner wrote. “It can take place on any media, sadly,” Ali said. “It happened to my friend.” She also pointed out that cyberbullying is not limited to cell phones, and can also be committed using Chromebooks. “When it happens outside the school, it’s hard for us to control,” Downey said. “We really try to support the student and encourage them to stay off social media.”
TEACH Program Trains Future Educators
By Prerna Mukherjee Managing Editor
The TEACH (Teacher Education and Children’s Health) Excel TECC program trains students for a career working with children. The program, housed at BHS, is open to students from the ten schools participating in the Excel TECC consortium. TEACH co-teacher Patti Krupinski explained that the program used to be called the Early Childhood Excel TECC program, but was changed to accomodate students who wanted to teach upper grades. “They actually get experience working with the age group that they’re interested in working with in the future,” she said. The TEACH program is also not restricted to students who want to go into teaching. “We also have students who may not want to go into education, but they want to go into social work or they want to go into psychology,” Krupinski added. “We give students roughly 500 contact hours working with kids before even entering college.” Junior Abby Friedman joined the program in August. “I personally joined the program because I love children,” she wrote in an email. “My mom is a teacher, so I have always been helping her with setting up activities and worksheets, so I got a head start on understanding just Cont’d from pg. 1 us to hear the uncorroborated items that you’ve listed?” asked a council member after the report was presented. “We did not include in our report any statement that we found to not be credible,” Rendon responded. “Although we could not corroborate them based on the context and the information from the witness, we believed that they were sufficiently corroborated [and] credible, that you should be permitted to hear them, and consider them.” “Were you aware of any prior settlements with the city [and the mayor] that related to conduct similar to what’s described [here]?” asked Linick. “Yes, but it was a matter that had been resolved by a confidential settlement,” Rendon answered. “....So we did not include that in the purview of our investigation.” This is most likely referring to an incident in which the city spent at least $50,000 in a settlement over Horwitz’s comments. “[This occured] last year as a result of a similar inappropriate comment made by the mayor,” Linick wrote in an email to the Beachcomber. Next the Mayor had a chance to speak. “The greatest honor I have ever received in my 24 years of public service has been to serve as the Mayor of Beachwood,” he began. “In a handful of instances I admit the comments at issue… In some other instances, I may have made comments close to what was alleged, but do not specifically remember… The remaining comments I categorically
what it is to be a teacher.” Students in the program attend class part of the week and intern at one of the schools in their district. Beachwood students intern at either Fairmount, Bryden, Hilltop or BMS. “It’s kind of set up like…a college course,” Krupinski said. “So they only come to see us for class two days a week once we have that initial time with them, and then they’re out in the field in their internships the other three mornings.” Krupinski explained that the program curriculum includes theories of education and child development, nutrition, safety, child guidance and behavior and special needs. “During these lessons, we often have hands-on activities to help us understand the topic from a child’s perspective,” Friedman added. “For example, when we were learning about storytelling, pairs of students took a picture book and made a felt story using the book. Another activity we did was playing board games to understand their educational value.” During their internships, students help teachers and work with children in the classroom. “[Students] do anything from teaching lessons, grading papers, filing, copying, creating bulletin boards, creating materials for lessons, so they actually get a wellrounded experience…[of] what it’s like to be a teacher,”
Krupinski said. This semester, Friedman is working with kindergarten teacher Debra Rubenstein at Bryden Elementary School. She helps Rubenstein in any way she can. “The children see me as another adult in the room, but part of my relationship with the students is pure friendship. Sometimes I will teach a small group of students or help a student oneon-one, but other times I am observing the class to get a feel for the dynamic of teaching,” Friedman wrote. Students balance their school days with half a day of academic classes and half a day of the TEACH program. Friedman explained that the program helps prepare her for the future. “Each program counts for a different set of college credits, but the TEACH program will help cut the number of classes I need to take during my college experience,” she wrote. The TEACH program has given Friedman a better understanding of what a teacher actually does in a classroom. “There are so many things that teachers do behind the scenes that students don’t normally have the opportunity to see. By being immersed in the classroom as a ‘studentteacher’ position, I am able to see the other things that the teacher does in preparation for the class,” Friedman wrote. One of the activities in the
program is creating bulletin boards to display around the school. “Mr. Alexander hired our class to do all the bulletin boards, and so we’re going to be changing them in January for him,” Krupinski said. Last year, the bulletin boards were done for charity. Teachers donated money that was given to the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center. “This year we’re just doing [the bulletin boards] more… to help out teachers,” Krupinski said. Friedman recommends TEACH because it gives students the chance to explore careers in teaching. “The teachers for this program are amazing at what they do. Mrs. Krupinski and Mrs. Ball have the program down to a science,” she wrote. According to Friedman, TEACH helps students realize if a career as a teacher is right for them. Friedman explained that the program helps students learn whether they they really like the field. “It will save time and frustration down the road,” she wrote. Krupinski added that the program is a good opportunity for students to experience what it is like to work with children while also earning college credit. “...[I]t’s the experience that they’re getting is real and relevant to what they want to do in
deny,” he said. “To the city employees who found my words offensive in any way, I am deeply sorry... I take full responsibility,” he added. “Had I known of individuals’ concern [at the time of the comments], I would have worked immediately to resolve them,” Horwitz continued. “I commit that I will take every step I can to remedy any harm and prevent any issues moving forward. This includes this public apology, personal outreach to affected individuals and participating in executive-level training on workplace communication which will include harassment and hostile workplace education.” A long applause followed his statement. Horwitz’s lawyer Dale Markowitz spoke next. “Let’s get it resolved and move on,” he said. “Council has very little ability to do [anything] about these kinds of incidents when you’re dealing with a public official. If you want to get rid of someone who’s been elected, you’re defeating the will of the people.” “If this thing [continues], there will be more money spent on all sides.” Markowitz went on to talk about the complex legal wrangling that would occur if the Council were to take this matter to a hearing. “To move forward, [it takes] two thirds of council,” he said. “You know the saying, there are lies and there are damn lies? Well, [the fire comment], that falls into the category of a damn lie,” Markowitz said. Behind him the Mayor nodded. “[The Mayor] is not capable of say-
ing anything like that. I am offended that [was read].” “I think the fact that people sat here tonight and had to hear this is unusual, unfair and really something that you oughta think about in the future,” he said. “We ought to find a better way of dealing with these kinds of situations.” These words elicited a shout of approval and applause from the audience. Markowitz said that the way the charter was amended would require council to wait until December in order to consider removing the Mayor for violating his oath of office, and that they could not consider incidents that occurred
comments were pro-Horwitz and many pointed fingers at council, saying they were actually the ones in the wrong. Carol Stein spoke first. “All this fishing expedition into the past was only done for the purpose of vindictiveness,” she said. “I would question an employee who thought it was appropriate to listen to a remark and then make notes of it and then do nothing… this employee proceeds to document and document,” she added. “That’s an agenda.” “As voters, we now know who’s responsible for this…” Stein continued. “We will be at the polls on Tuesday and with luck, one of you will be
“To the city employees who found my words offensive in any way, I am deeply sorry... I take full responsibility” - Mayor Martin Horowitz prior to the charter amendment was passed last year. “Why was this investigation started in the last few weeks? If these allegations occured last year, why wasn’t that ever brought to the attention of somebody? How credible is this?” he asked. Markowitz concluded by presenting letters of support for the mayor signed by numerous public officials. “Under the law, there was no choice [if this meeting had to be public] and I want to make that very clear,” said Kenneth Fisher, who was acting as city council’s attorney. The meeting then opened for public comments. All the
gone, and for me, that’s you Brian Linick.” Linick was not reelected to council. When asked by Cleveland Jewish News if he thought the council meeting affected his votes, he said “no.” Following that comment, Horwitz addressed the residents. “Please, I am asking you [to] not attack people. It’s just not professional… Everybody here takes their job seriously.” Paula Rollins, the Mayor’s childhood friend, attested to the Mayor’s character. “I have never heard one person ever complain about
Mayfield High School Senior Emmie Rotsky works on fall crafts with a group of elementary students. Photo by Patti Krupinski. their future, so that’s one thing,” she said. “The other thing is our course is tied to college credit, so they leave the course with eight college credits already in hand to take to any public Ohio university…” Krupinski enjoys working with the other teachers and districts that are involved in TEACH. “I get to see so many differ-
ent learning environments… [and] what we’re learning in practice, so I get to see best practices happening every day,” she said. “I get to see amazing teachers from ten different school districts trying new methods and philosophies.” “Education is always changing, and I get to see that change in so many different districts,” she added.
Martin Horwitz’s ‘quirky’ comments,” she said. “He’s just the most ethical, moral, honest, hard-working person that most people know.” James Marcus questioned why the allegations had not been addressed earlier. “All these allegations I’ve heard, I think I’ve lost count [of how many], nobody went to the law director, nobody went to the HR department?” Rabbi Joshua Skoff of Park Synagogue also spoke, but struck a different tone. He emphasized the importance of forgiveness in an unforgiving era. “We always want mercy for ourselves, and we only cast out judgment to somebody else,” he said. “This investigation appears to me to be almost a setup… to force him out so someone else can become mayor,” Finance Director Larry Heiser said. “He is the city of Beachwood,” Heiser said. Had Horwitz been removed from office and Linick kept his seat on council, Linick, as council president, would have been next in line to be mayor. He responded that this was not the reason for the investigation. “I feel obligated to say this, just because it has come up a number of times,” he said. “I personally have no desire [or] plans to run for mayor ever in the future.” Linick responded to criticisms in an email to the Beachcomber. “I wish those individuals were as concerned with the victims as they were with personal attacks against council,” he wrote. “It was clear their remarks were prepared prior to hearing the results of the investigation.”
Next on the agenda was discussion among council. Council Member Alec Issacson immediately made a motion. “I move that we acknowledge the Mayor’s actions as we’ve heard tonight do not rise to the level of removal from office,” he said. This was met with cheers. “I move that we accept the Mayor’s apologies and proposed actions to remedy the issues he has caused. I move that we require the mayor to show that he has followed through with his remedies, and I further move that we consider this matter closed,” he added. Council Member June Taylor addressed the Mayor. “Mr. Mayor, when I first joined council, you were enrolled in a training class, and we are now talking about you doing additional training. What would be different this time?” she asked. Horwitz responded that he’s been working with the HR department and attending a more personalized training for executives through a company called Impact Solutions. Council Member Babara Bellin-Janowitz spoke next. “I’m not excusing Marty’s behavior...,” she said. “I think it was inappropriate. [But] I think we need to bring this matter to a close, and we need to forgive him for the comments he made and move forward.” “I also believe that the process the council followed, while not perfect, was one we believed was legal and fair to all parties involved,” Council Member Eric Synenberg said. “This was something that all Cont’d on pg. 10
Arts & Life
Dr. Joanna Stapleton (Anna Ward) checks on her husband, Barry Stapleton (Jonah Kaminsky). Sherlock Holmes (Zeiah Lawniczak) confers with Dr. Watson (Maya Greller); Dr. Mortimer (Mirica Woodley) toasts with Holmes and Watson after they solve the case. Photos by Matthew Keyerleber
Sherlock Holmes Comes to Beachwood By Prerna Mukherjee Managing Editor
The drama department presented its fall play The Hound of the Baskervilles on Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23. The play is based on the most famous of the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I watched the opening night show on Friday, and the suspenseful opening scene caught the audience’s attention as mist filled the stage and a man dressed in black ran across the auditorium. The man is later identified as Sir Baskerville, and he is killed at the beginning of the play. Within the first few minutes, the audience was
introduced to Ms. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joanna Watson, played by Zeiah Lawniczak and Maya Greller. The two added their own unique style to the scenes as they portrayed the duo, such as when they made observations of a cane early on, and later when they questioned possible suspects. In one creative aspect of the play, Lawniczak and Greller as Holmes and Watson came out alone on stage after specific scenes, so the audience gained insight into their observations and suspicions. The other scenes followed Doyle’s story and included well-known plot points, such as the
Anna Ward portrayed the play’s antagonist Dr. Stapleton, showing impressive expression throughout the play.
observation of the ominous letter, the encounter with the hound on the moor and the final confrontation with Dr. Stapleton. Another notable character included the play’s antagonist Dr. Stapleton, played by Anna Ward, who showed impressive emotions and expression throughout the play. While the action of the story was generally fast-paced, some of the dialogue was difficult to hear and was less fluid in certain scenes, and
the ending of scenes lingered as a result of the timing of the lighting, which seemed to be delayed in some scenes. However, the creative props added to the wellknown settings created in the novel: 221b Baker Street, Baskerville Hall, and the moor. The moor was also portrayed well, with large plants and mist on either side of the stage to create an eerie atmosphere to resemble the deserted landscape. To resemble the ex-
travagant style of Baskerville Hall, the crew set up an antique sitting area with a table and portraits on the wall. This set was used for multiple scenes, including Dr. Watson’s different encounters with Mr. Barrymore (Ian Ward), Mrs. Barrymore
(Ruth Brown), and Lady Henrieta Baskerville (Shivani Rajgopal). Overall, the drama department showed good effort and did a good job of staying true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s renowned work.
Chalice Assumes Leadership of Drama Club By Bridgitte Feldman Enterprise Editor
The drama department has had a change in leadership as of the beginning of the 20192020 school year. New video production teacher Marc Chalice has taken on the role of drama club adviser and director of the school plays. Chalice has a background in philosophy and studio painting. He has had several jobs in the graphic design and video editing area. He took up education shortly after 9/11 with the encouragement of his mother. Hailing from Rhode Island, Chalice moved to Ohio in 2001. His experience in the drama world started rather unexpectedly. “When I was in high school… I was very shy,” Chalice said. “I don’t know how it turned out that I ended up on stage, but someone approached me to be in The Odd Couple
which was about a sloppy person and a neat person who lived together, but it was gender flipped, so those were both females and I played one of the boyfriends,” he said. “So it was like a terrible, terrible episode of Friends,” he added. Chalice went on to act in and direct several more plays throughout high school and college. He also has experience making sets and other backstage activities that go into creating a play. Chalice discussed his many goals for the theater department, including creating an atmosphere where everyone can contribute, whether it be on stage or behind the scenes. Administrative assistant Casey DeMay is the assistant director and will be helping him throughout the year. This is DeMay’s third year of involvement in the drama department. Also new this year is Kristen Daniels, who will be makeup artist and costume designer. “She has a crazy amount of experience,” DeMay said.
The drama club has experienced a dramatic transition since the departure of Rob Sapp and Pat Hanish, who directed the plays for the past two years. Sapp left to tour with The Lion King Broadway tour, and Haynish also did not return. This transition has been difficult for the students, but Chalice has created a positive environment. “It’s a very small program, but it’s a very well-put-together program,” Freshman Maya Greller said. She explained that there have been some recruitment issues. “I think because there are so many options to do at this school, I think that maybe the play should be made into a bigger deal, because right now it’s treated as very lax… so I think [more students] should be recruited throughout the whole school” she said. Greller has been enjoying herself this year and appreciates the environment that has been created.
“I’ve never had more enjoyment or more excitement than I have doing theater,” sophomore Ian Ward said. Photo courtesy of Marc Chalice “We have a lot of techies… it’s very handson,” she added. Sophomore Ian Ward agrees. “The relationships are great, the friends that you make and the people that you meet,” he said. “I’ve never had more enjoyment or more excitement than I have doing theater.” As a sophomore,
Ward has some insight into the struggles of the transition this year. “As soon as people found out Robb wasn’t going to be the director and that [Pat] Hanish wasn’t going to be the music director, things changed for a lot of people, and we don’t have nearly as many people in the cast…” Ward said. “As soon as people found
out there was going to be a new director, people assumed [the show] was going to flop, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.” The students of the drama club have put countless hours of work into the fall play, and urge their peers to come see the spring production of The Wizard of Oz.
Arts & Life
The Joker Transforms Cartoon Villain into Complex Character Study
By Joey Lewis Arts & Life Editor
Most superhero movies are pretty clear cut. There’s a hero with an iron will to protect people, and a cunning villain who sees the conflict like a four-dimensional chess game. These external conflicts are satisfying to watch, as they are simple and clear cut. Joker(2019) takes a different approach, giving audiences a complex psychological thriller. The film is centered around Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a mentally disturbed renta-clown. He’s not just a professional clown, he is also viewed as a clown by the society in which he lives. He often finds himself the punching bag for those stronger than him. One could say that to the people of Gotham City, Arthur himself is a joke. One of the reasons for this is his disorder, medically known as pseudobulbar disorder, which causes him to break into uncontrollable and rather unsettling laughter, especially in moments of high stress. The film’s inciting incident is when Arthur is bullied by a trio of young
Wall Street workers who believe his laughter to be mocking them. In self defense, he kills all three of them with his gun, and the disgruntled working class of the city begin to see him in a heroic light. The film is permeated with an eerie mood. Most of the scenes are set in run down, filthy places you may find in an inner city. Faded colors, walls vandalized with graffiti, poor lighting and a general feeling of hopelessness run through each scene. The soundtrack is mostly composed of long draws of violin, creating an uneasy feeling. This, combined with lengthy, uncut camera shots, makes it impossible to sit still. All of these elements create an atmosphere that I can only describe as uncomfortable. One of the things that really shines in the film is the acting. Phoenix does a great job here, as he really communicates the desperation and loneliness of this character. One of the most important things he gets right is the aforementioned uncontrollable laughter. It sounds creepy, and
Rather than presenting him as a mad genius, this film puts the Joker under a microscope and presents a deep character study. Image source: warnerbros.com/movies/joker
his face goes right back to the way it was before breaking into laughter, emphasizing the unintentional nature of this expression. It is also later established in the film that Arthur has vivid hallucinations, making him an unreliable narrator and making the audience dwell on what is and is not real. Over the course of the
film, the audience sees Arthur Fleck slowly break down, losing everything he has. Therefore, when he does something violent or creepy, I still found myself rooting for him. I think this speaks volumes to the film’s excellent character development. Todd Phillips’ Joker is a fresh take on an old character. Rather than
presenting him as a mad genius, this film puts the Joker under a microscope and presents a deep character study. It shows Fleck’s slow downward spiral into the abyss, depicting how a man rejected by society easily becomes a force that destabilizes it. My only gripe with this film, and it isn’t so much a gripe, is that it
doesn’t feel like a DC film at all. It is easy to forget the protagonist is based on the same character seen in Batman: The Animated Series or Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Instead, it feels more akin to a psychological thriller such as Taxi Driver. Overall, I give Joker (2019) a 85/100.
Demon Slayer Exceeds Expectations By Amy Chen Online Editor-in-Chief
Studio Ufotable’s animated adaptation of Koyoharu Gotoge’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has caught the eyes of previous fans and newcomers alike since its stunning premiere. The 26-episode series starts in medias res, with the protagonist, Tanjiro Kamado (voiced by Natsuki Hanae), carrying his wounded sister Nezuko (voiced by Akari Kito) on his back. Once it becomes apparent to the audience that a terrible tragedy has occurred, the episode rewinds to the beginning of their story. The audience is introduced to the rest of the Kamado family, including Tanjiro and Nezuko’s caring mother and adorable siblings. After Tanjiro sets off to sell his family’s charcoal in a nearby town, he and the audience return to a devastating scene that changes his and our outlook on the series forever. In a fictional world where man-eating Demons roam
In a fictional world where man-eating Demons roam the Earth, the Demon Slaying Corps —a private organization of warriors—vows to protect humanity. members are provided with Nichirin blades especially made to kill Demons and Kasugai crows for communication with the Demon Slayer headquarters. Members are then notified of and sent to Demon-infested locations to protect local communities of humans. Although the basis for Gotoge’s story may seem unoriginal for its dark fantasy genre, one wherein demon-related premises are far from uncommon, she makes up for it by introducing each Demon Slayer’s unique fighting styles and abilities. After admission into From Tanjiro’s elegant the organization, new water-based attacks, to his the Earth, the Demon Slaying Corps—a private organization of warriors—vows to protect humanity. Tanjiro, upon realizing that Nezuko has been turned into a Demon, attempts to join its ranks in order to find a cure for his sister and seek revenge for his family. Tanjiro finds himself under the care of former Pillar—an elite rank of Demon Slayers—Sakonji Urokodaki, who provides the boy with severe training in preparation for the organization’s entrance exam, the Final Selection. During the Final Selection, participants are to survive a week on a secluded, Demon-run mountain top.
Image source: Demon Slayer via Crunchyroll
later-introduced companion Zen’itsu Agatsuma’s awe-inspiring manipulation of electricity, Demon Slayer’s plot is far from simply another tired shonen cliché. With only a few questionable CGI additions, the series not only presents a captivating plot to its audience, but also remarkable and unmatched animation. The clean and colorful primary art style accompanied by Ufotable’s fluid transitions makes the series all the more
fascinating to watch. During each action scene, the audience can effortlessly follow along with each characters’ movements, as if we are the ones fighting, and are subsequently invited into the characters’ dimension. Whether a Demon Slayer, a human, or even a Demon, each character’s unique personality and backstory garners sympathy from even the most indifferent of viewers. We find ourselves attached to characters we
do not expect, and like Tanjiro, develop compassion for the most undeserving of villains. Overall, I can promise that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is worth your time, even if you have not been the least bit interested in Japanese animation in the past. Its original and intriguing plot and characters, coupled with beautiful and enthralling animation, is deserving of a 9.5/10.
Bison Beat Find out about upcoming concerts in the Cleveland area that you may want to attend. If you have any feedback, lesser-known artists you want to see featured in the next issue or any other feedback, please send me an email at email@example.com.
Bonerama Plays Led Zeppelin at the Beechland Balloom at 8:00 on Dec. 12. Tickets start at $20.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra has an event at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Dec. 27. The pricing starts at $49.50.
Snoop Dogg will be performing at the House of Blues on Jan. 24, though tickets are quite expensive, upwards of $100.
If you like country music, Josh Turner will be playing at the Packard music hall in Warren, Ohio on Jan. 29, 2020. The prices start at $59.
The Lumineers, a popular indie folk band comes to Cleveland, also at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, on Feb. 8, 2020. Tickets start at $56.
Features By Sanjana Murthy Staff Writer
Kashmir: The Real Story
India and Pakistan have fought a number of wars and skirmishes since the 1947 partition. The conflict over Kashmir has been the cause of much of the fighting. Demographics The Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions: Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Jammu has a Hindu majority, while Kashmir is predominantly Muslim and Ladakh predominantly Buddhist. Gilgit-Baltistan, which is part of PakistanOccupied Kashmir, also has a Muslim majority. There is an established Line of Control between PoK and Indian Kashmir. The History In 1339, Kashmir was 100% Hindu. But Muslim rulers invaded the region and it experienced many changes in power over the centuries until Hindus became the minority. But instead of focusing on the distant past, let’s look at more recent events. In 1947, British rulers left India and divided India into two parts, India and Pakistan, based on religion. Hence, Pakistan was created with a Muslim majority population. There was West Pakistan and East Pakistan, but due to numerous human rights violations by the Pakistani Army, East Pakistan broke free from Pakistan with the help of the Indian Army and became Bangladesh. In 1947, India and Pakistan were made of 584 separate Kingdoms, so when the British left, they asked each ruler to choose to join either India or Pakistan. The Maharaja (king) of Kashmir was still contemplating which country to join as Kashmir had many religions. The first Pakistani Invasion of Kashmir occurred on Oct. 22, 1947. Tribesmen and the Pakistani Army attacked Kashmir because they weren’t happy with Kashmir’s indecision. Hindu and Sikh women were raped, murdered, and taken as slaves. Many Hindu women committed suicide to save their honor. The Pakistani Army also killed Muslims who opposed them. To save the state from Pakistani invaders, the Maharajah asked for military help from India and joined India by signing an Instrument of Accession on Oct. 26, 1947. Sheikh Abdullah, who was a popular Muslim leader from Kashmir, explained in 1948 his motivations for joining India. “We the people of Jammu and Kashmir have thrown our lot with Indian people, not in the heat of passion or a moment of despair, but by a deliberate choice. The union of our people has been fused by the community of ideals and common sufferings in the cause of freedom.” So, the kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India. After the war, India approached the UN to settle the dispute. In total, four UN resolutions were passed between 1948 and 1950. The resolutions had seven main points, two of which were that Pakistan, as an aggressor, should withdraw its troops
The Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions: Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Image source: Planemad via Wikimedia Commons
from Kashmir and that India should keep troops there to maintain peace. Also, security and the future of the state should be decided by its people through a plebiscite. “My personal belief is that as the UN told them, we are going to have [the people of Kashmir] decide what they want to do,” said sophomore Hiba Ali, who is of Pakistani descent. “They deserve that right to vote on whether they want to be part of Pakistan, India or be independent.” The government of India attempted to hold a plebiscite under the supervision of the UN, but for that to occur, Pakistan needed to withdraw its troops from the region. However, Pakistan was too distrustful of India and didn’t withdraw its troops, and it still has not. Pakistan disregarded the UN resolutions, invaded Kashmir again in 1965, and was driven back by the Indian Army. The third time Pakistan invaded Kashmir was in 1971 and again, their army was driven back. After this, India and Pakistan both signed the Simla Agreement in 1972 and decided to settle the matter between themselves without involving the UN. However, things escalated as Pakistan introduced Islamic militants into the region. For example, The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was founded in 1977 and is an Islamic militant organization that terrorizes the Hindus and secular Muslims of Kashmir. “They kept supporting, funding, arming and training terrorists in Kashmir with the single-point agenda of waging war against India,” according to Probhash Dutta, a columnist for IndiaToday. “A security response was bound to happen. Every responsible country understood this.” Human Rights On Jan. 19, 1990, terrorists such as the Hizbul-Mujahideen and JKLF ethnically cleansed the Hindus from Kashmir and anyone who opposed them. These groups have been associated with Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Warnings blared through mosque loudspeakers and posters were put up warning the Hindus to leave Kashmir. They were given three options: convert to Islam, leave, or die.
It isn’t fair to say that because the Indian military moved into Kashmir, human rights moved out. Human rights violations in Kashmir have been going on for centuries. Of the approximately 300,000 Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley in 1990, there are fewer than 3,000 now. Less than 1% of the population is now Hindu, but it used to be 15% when India and Pakistan were created. “Muslim Militants directed a systematic campaign of assassinations and intimidation against Kashmiri Pandits, as the area’s Hindus were known, and most of them were forced out of Kashmir,” according to The New York Times. Hira Fotedar, a native of Kashmir who has lived in northeast Ohio for 26 years, explained his concern about extremist Islamic militants gaining control in Kashmir. “We must save Kashmir from Jihadis,” he said. “What the Taliban did in Afghanistan is what Pakistan is doing in Kashmir. India is preventing Kashmir from becoming another Afghanistan, another Iraq, another Syria.” Estimates show that close to 1,500 Kashmiri pandits were killed by Islamic militant groups. Another 400,000 were forced to leave their homes. This massacre led to devastation for many families. The families who stayed behind in Kashmir live precariously. “They went to my cousin’s house and shot him dead,” Fotedar said. “They were decimating Kashmiri Hindus.” Another native Kashmiri and Beachwood resident, who did not want her name used, shared her story. “It started with protests..,” she said. “[The terrorists] would just close the road and start yelling and chanting stupid, unreasonable things.” “They would start throwing stones just to scare people…” she continued. “We left behind all of our valuables and fled. We had the clothes on our back, and that was it. There were 26-30 people living in a two bedroom apartment. There were lots of family members who were killed.” “When they came for my aunt, she told the terrorists to take anything they wanted.
The jihadis told her that they wanted her life,” she added. “My aunt’s five-year-old son watched his mother get shot and he still remembers it today. They used to ask us, who wanted to watch who die? It was miserable.” Atrocities such as this still happen today, and it fuels distrust and tension in the region. This is also the core reason why the Indian military interfered in Kashmir. Indian people were being massacred by foreign mercenaries, and the Indian government can’t sit back and let it happen. What happened in 1990 was genocide. Some say that because of the cut phone lines in Kashmir right now, relatives living outside of Kashmir don’t know what is happening to their family, and that it’s a very scary situation. Sure, but there are people who have been driven from their homes in Kashmir who can’t even go back, much less find out how people are doing. Their homes have been burned and places of worship have been destroyed. There are people in Pakistan protesting for human rights because Pakistan is killing its minorities. According to the United States Institute of Peace, in Pakistani Occupied GilgitBaltistan, the Sunni Muslims are committing acts of violence against Shia Muslims. Pakistan is an Islamic State, but doesn’t even have tolerance for a different subset of Muslims such as Shias who are being discriminated against and killed. When India and Pakistan were founded, Pakistan had an 23% minority population. That number is now down to 3%. Pakistan commits human rights abuses in its own country and claims to care about human rights in Kashmir. According to a country report published by Human Rights Watch, human rights abuses in Pakistani Kashmir have been more severe than those in Indian Kashmir: In June, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released the firstever report by the United Nations on human rights in Kashmir. The report noted that human rights abuses in
Pakistani Kashmir were of a ‘different caliber or magnitude’ to those in Indian Kashmir and included misuse of anti-terrorism laws to target dissent, and restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and opinion, peaceful assembly, and association. India, however, has people of many different religions working together. Indian philosophy in general is extremely accepting. India is invested in the people of Kashmir regardless of religion. For example, the literacy rate in Indian Jammu & Kashmir has gone up from 24% in 1990 to 67% now, according to the 2011 Census. Overall, what the Muslims have faced in the Kashmir valley is nothing compared to what the Hindus have experienced in the same landscape. Many Kashmiris study in Indian universities and go on to have very successful lives. Saying that Jammu & Kashmir should be a part of Pakistan because they have a 70% Muslim majority is utter rubbish. India has world’s third largest Muslim population with 189 million people. Article 370 and 35A The Indian government, on August 5, 2019, took the controversial but necessary step of revoking Articles 35A of the Indian constitution. While western media has been focused on the communications blackout in Kashmir, the long-term impact has not been covered. Article 35A defines a special class of citizens, who must have either had a Kashmiri father, been born in Kashmir before 1911, or owned land in Kashmir before 1946. Article 35A, therefore, excludes outsiders— any one of India’s 1.3 billion people outside of Kashmir— from partaking in normal activities in Kashmir. Outsiders are prohibited from owning property, settling in or having a government job in Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, Article 35A has greatly impeded development in the region. Article 35A makes little sense in a united, secular India. The existence of Article 35A seems to defy the precedent set by other Indian states—Maharashtra, for ex-
ample, has a very strong regional identity, but does not have special privileges in the constitution. In a sense, now Kashmir is a true Indian state. It’s the same as how the United States government overrides state governments when it comes to Federal issues. Article 370 is the second constitutional article pertinent to Jammu & Kashmir. It was intended as a temporary provision to the Constitution so that Kashmir wouldn’t be exploited, because its past rulers had been corrupt. Many have called for its repeal, as it grants J&K the right to make its own laws that supersede central laws. Laws passed by the Indian Parliament promoting equality and fighting corruption were not applicable to Kashmir. Due to Article 370, J&K was treated more as a protectorate of India, rather than a state of India. This article legally cut off Kashmir from the rest of India, and thus further contributed to preventing the development and integration of the region. Already, an investment summit has been planned and Indian companies have expressed a strong desire to invest in Kashmir. The benefits of this are obvious—increased prosperity, health and education. Integrating and developing Kashmir is the only way forward for the region. Solutions There are some main steps to take in regards to the Kashmir Conflict. First, Kashmiris of all religions want peace, equality and justice. This can be achieved by eliminating radical Islamists supported by Pakistan. The government of India should take steps to deal with radical Islam and take action against it. There should be justice for native non-Muslim Kashmiris who are refugees in their own country. Also, development and growth in the region should be promoted. India is already pouring money into the region to develop it and companies are ready to invest in it. According to a recent CNN poll of the residents of J&K, 84% of respondents support the revocation of Article 370. In the most recent local elections, there was a 98% turnout rate. India is already integrating Kashmir and has plans to grow its economy. The present Indian government is striving for peace and progress in Kashmir. Finally, Pakistan should stay out of India’s internal affairs. When Indian leaders talk about Kashmir, they are talking about India’s rightful state of Kashmir. Indians view the subcontinent as one multiethnic, multicultural, multireligious nation. When Pakistani leaders talk about Kashmir, they are talking about Indian Kashmir, which they want. To Pakistan, the subcontinent consists of two nations: one Islamic, and the other for everybody else. India is the world’s largest democracy and is already working for the good of the people. There’s no doubt that India will take care of Kashmir and its residents, irrespective of religion or creed.
Administration Confronts Sexual Harassment and Assault
Beachcomber Staff We applaud the administration for conducting the sexual harassment assemblies of Sept. 20. This undertaking indicates a genuine effort to address the problem. While the assemblies were well-intended, we also hope to offer constructive criticism. The staff succeeded at presenting a clear definition of sexual harassment. As explained in the slideshow, “Sexual harassment is ANY unwelcome or unwanted pressure, verbal, visual or physical contact of a sexual nature. It is a “power play” and may include: spreading sexual rumors, touching someone inappropriately, repeatedly propositioning someone when he/she has said no, criticizing or insulting someone’s sexuality (including a person’s sexual orientation), telling sexually offensive jokes, making comments about someone’s clothing or body, making suggestive gestures or noises or pressuring someone for a date.” Beachwood’s Director of Security Officer CJ Piro explained the goal of the boys’ assemblies. “We wanted to present a message that was clear to boys that this type of action is harassing, this should not be done, [and] here are some real life examples,” he said. We appreciate that harassment was clearly defined, and we thank the administration for pointedly acknowledging that mocking sexual orientation is sexual harassment. On the other hand, we feel that boys and girls deserve access to the same information. Even if the assemblies must be segregated by sex, we believe that girls deserve to know what was said at the boys’ assembly, and vice versa. According to guidance counselors Meghann Sullivan and Liz Osicki, who led the girls’ assembly, keeping the assemblies separated by gender fosters a safe environment for girls to talk about their experiences without being uncomfortable. They said consent is an extremely important topic for both boys and girls, but that this idea can be portrayed in different ways
depending on the audience (girls or boys). They mentioned a gap in maturity levels they have observed between girls and boys, which may have impeded the serious discussions that were had in the girls’ assembly. Piro explained that the separation was intended to ensure that both groups felt comfortable. “The assemblies were separated so both boys and girls could be more confident saying personal things,” Piro said. However, the narrative created by segregating boys and girls has the potential to be misunderstood by students; men sexually harassing women, while very prevalent, is not the only kind of sexual harassment. Would not a unisex assembly better comunicate the reality that any person can be sexually harassed by any person, no matter their gender or sexuality? Additionally, rape was not discussed in the girls’ assembly. One of the main messages was to stop unwanted actions before they escalate. The message for the boys was more extreme because it included rape. Additionally, we wish to discuss two stories told at the boys’ assembly that were not mentioned at the girls’. One involved the rape of a BHS student at a party. She was inebriated and unconcious when the rape began. She woke in the middle of it. This story is shocking, but what is even more shocking is the frequency of such events. A recent Harvard study found that 75% of victims of rape on college campuses were inebriated at the time of the crime. Furthermore, according to the US National Library of Medicine, there is a 94% chance of PTSD among victims of sexual assault. The second story was about a rape accusation handled by the school. After being caught having sex with a boy, a student alleged that she was coerced. A week later, she admitted that the accusation was a lie. We do not wish to argue against something that the staff experienced, but we wonder if the inclusion of this anecdote does more harm than good. The vast majority of reports of
sexual assault are decidely not false (90-98%). Although administrators never suggested that rape victims in general are liars, we worry that the inclusion of this story may inflate students’ belief that sexual assault survivors should be questioned, a belief that is already far too prevalent among men. Such an assembly should work to buoy the ethos of accusers, not potentially work to further stigmatize them. Administrators told us that the latter story was included for the “scare factor,” demonstrating the adverse effects of not explicitly asking for consent. “The moral was you just never know. You need that communication [for consent],” Guidance Counselor Jason Downey said. “[A sexual assault charge] will ruin your life; it will cause you to register as a sex offender. Even…in the moment just before intercourse, make sure it is consensual,” Piro added. “...Look at the trauma it could cause a woman if it is not....” Although a scare factor may be effective while stressing the importance of consent, we believe there should be greater emphasis on the moral gravity of sexual assault, including the reality of its effects on victims, instead of the reprecussions. “I think this was a starting point,” Sullivan said. “I don’t want to think of these assemblies as Beachwood’s complete message on sexual harassment—[it’s not] just a one-off, that’s not the intention of this.” We hope that administrators’ efforts continue to make BHS safer. If you are in a crisis, seek help. Every administrator, as well as Officer Piro, is trained to help students with cases of sexual harassment. In addition, a formal complaint can be filed with the Director of Pupil Services Lauren Broderick. If you are uncomfortable with coming to school staff, call RAINN at 800.656.HOPE or Day One at 866.223.1111. If you would like to contribute to the ongoing efforts to address this issue in our school, contact Officer CJ Piro.
How Well-Cooked Are You? a juicy new scale for categorizing our personalities By Amy Chen Online Editor-in-Chief Most casual browsers of the Internet have turned to a multitude of self-report questionnaires in order to evaluate their own psychology, including quizzes regarding one’s MyersBriggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Empathy Quotient (EQ), Dungeons & Dragons Alignment, Harry Potter House and Dante’s Circles of Hell placement. Now, I offer one more scale for the measurement of character: a measure that compares an personality to the degree to which a steak is cooked. The common gradations include rare, medium rare, medium, medium well and welldone. Rare steaks are cooked quickly at a high temperature, so the outside is charred but the inside is raw. Well-done steaks are cooked at high temperatures slowly, so the outside and inside are fully cooked, though the outside is practically burnt. The other levels are between these two extremes. We can also use this system to categorize people—metaphorically, of course—and assess individual personalities. Rare humans, like their steak counterparts, have a raw center. They are led by, uninhibited emotion, full of kindness and selflessness, but unfortu-
nately lacking a firm, practical exterior. Because such humans lack accurate judgment, their optimistic ideas are often hard to chew, as their philosophies are usually unrealistic. I have yet to find a real human being who does not act in self-interest, but Pokémon’s Ash Ketchum provides an example of a rare, while fictional, human. Throughout the Pokémon franchise, Ash rarely thinks before acting to protect others, once throwing himself between Mew and Mewtwo’s deathly attacks to stop them from further harming themselves and other Pokémon present. Since humans are more easily hurt than Pokémon, this action—though virtuous— seems foolish and shows the rare Ash’s soft outer sear. Taking after their rare companions, due to their tender core, medium rare humans tend to follow their hearts rather than minds. However, unlike rare humans, medium rare humans have a rational outer crust and hold onto more practical, though sometimes still idealistic, beliefs. Therefore, it would be timeconsuming to discuss specific examples of medium rares, but I personally believe that most liberals are excellent representations of the medium rare category, as they advocate for
Editor-in-Chief Vivian Li Managing Editor Prerna Mukherjee Online Editor-in-Chief Amy Chen Features Editor Carrington Peavy Enterprise Editor Bridgitte Feldman
“We can only grill while blindfolded, hoping the fire of our consciences takes us where we need to go.” Illustration by the author a more idyllic world through pragmatic methods. In the middle of the steak doneness scale sits the mediums. Their slightly raw center, less fiery than that of the rares and medium rares, balanced with their gray edges, less hardened than that of the medium wells and well-dones, seem the perfect combination for steaks. In humans too, the ideal is for one to have emotion and reason perfectly balanced when tackling issues. While many philosophers,
including Aristotle and Thanos, have discussed and supported this balance, I have yet to see someone maintain it. I have no doubt there are people who have mastered it for a given time, but to consider both emotion and reason when dealing with a crisis is a difficult thing. I am not sure if the human race will ever perfect this balance, but it is something for optimists to look forward to. Medium well humans, near the far end of the scale, tend to
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follow their minds rather than their hearts, their category’s definition a clear opposite of the medium rares’. However, the center of their being is not completely dark, as a welldone’s would be, but is colored with the faintest pink, resembling a—however small—capacity for emotion. They hold reason-based beliefs and offer realistic, logical approaches to problems, but still consider the sentiments of others when imposing their ideas. Like medium rares, medium wells are quite common, so I will refrain from listing examples, but I see medium wells in conservative populations. They provide what they believe are sensible solutions to current issues, based on past successes of such designs, but mostly yield when a static plan of theirs begins to harm others. While it depends on the marbling, well-done steaks notably remain the least popular of steaks. Therefore, it seems only appropriate for well-done humans to remain the least popular of people. The center of a well-done human is stiff and gray, representing their lack of emotion and empathy. Ironically, well-done humans should be the most sensible beings. However, due to absence of emotion, they deviate from the scale based on levels
of emotion and reason, since a well-done’s lack of empathy often renders their actions irrational and unjustifiable. Sadly, whereas humanity has not yet seen the kindness of a true rare, humanity has seen many examples of the cruelty of a true well-done. I think it’s devastating how time and time again we’ve been forced to choke on the bitterness of well-done “ideals”—most notoriously those of authoritarian leaders and psychopathic perpetrators—which have gone down our throats like gristly rubber. Just like I hope to avoid the taste of a well-done steak, I hope to avoid any engagement with a well-done human. I understand that ranking humans by levels of steak doneness is bizarre, but I believe the levels to be suitable metaphors for human psychology. Most of us lie somewhere between the extremes, seeking to be medium. When faced with new problems, we fumble with the flesh of our mentalities, either broiling for too long or too little, leaving either a lack of emotion or a lack of reason. To our credit though, what example can we follow? If there is no true medium, where is the limit? We can only grill while blindfolded, hoping the fire of our consciences takes us where we need to go.
Layout Editor Claire Weaver Editors-at-Large Elizabeth Metz Peter Soprunov Photographers Matthew Keyerleber Emily May Nakita Reidenbach Issue Staff Hiba Ali, Roberto DeMarchi, Sanjana Murthy, Yoav Pinhsai, Athena Grasso, Shari Spiegal
The Beachcomber is a student publication subject to prior review. This newspaper is dedicated to affording an opportunity to all BHS students to express their opinions on these pages. All unsigned editorials appearing in The Beachcomber represent the opinions of the editorial board. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the student body, the staff, or the administration of Beachwood High School. The Beachcomber welcomes all letters to the editor, whether critical, complimentary, or informative. Letters deemed obscene, libelous or inflammatory will not be published. Letters should be sent to Editor-in-Chief Vivian Li vli@ beachwoodstudents.org. To contact Beachcomber adviser Josh Davis, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Open Letter to Student Council:
It’s time to stop segregating graduates by gender By Peter Soprunov Editor-at-Large
Dear Student Body President Lena Leland and student council, To the right is a photo of the class of 2019’s commencement ceremony at Severance Hall on June 4, 2019. Approximately two years from that date, the class of 2021 will have our own commencement ceremony, presumably at the same venue. We the class of 2021 have a decision to make: are we to leave this school as two separate groups, draped in two different fashions of academic regalia, or graduate as a unified class? I do not know when the decision was made to have boys wear gold and girls wear white at commencement. A photograph I managed to find in a 1968 Oculus has a clear segregation of color across gender, but it is hard to tell if the white-and-gold pattern had already been established (perhaps the graduates in the photo are wearing white and black). Having interviewed BHS grads from the 70’s and 80’s, I’ve come to the conclusion that the tradition started in the 60’s and was followed every year until the present. It is reasonable to assume that this tradition is greater than 50 years old. American culture has made radical, structural steps towards gender equality since 1968. We have gone from the Stonewall Uprising to the Obergefell decision. We passed the 1994 Violence Against Women Act and allowed women to serve in military combat positions. At the time of my writing this, the Supreme Court is deliberating on whether or not transgender, nonbinary, and queer people belong in our workforce. In this “baby steps” process, it
Horwitz Cont’d from pg. 5 seven of us agreed to. We didn’t know what the investigation would find and we had a serious duty.” Taylor added one more comment. “We don’t currently have a zero tolerance policy in
the city of Beachwood,” she said. “Internally, we don’t have a robust enough human resources department so that our employees feel empowered enough to report to a generalist.” “Where many people think that we have departments and the support that’s out there, that doesn’t exist in the city,” she said. “So maybe it explains also how we got to where we got to.” Silence followed the comment. “There is an HR department that was created last year,” Linick explained to the Beachcomber over email.
is necessary we abolish this tradition as well. Dr. Lyz Bly (known as “Dr. B.” by her students), from the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and Communications Department at Cleveland State University, wrote the following in an email when asked about Beachwood’s gendered robe tradition: Outmoded traditions such as the ‘gendered’ (white/blue) graduation robes serve to separate women and men, placing them in oversimplified black and white categories. In Women’s and Gender Studies, we refer to this as the ‘gender binary.’ In this historically gendered notion is the idea that gender and sex are polarized opposites with woman/ female at one end of the spectrum, and man/male at the other. Not only is the kind of polarization limiting for cisgender individuals, it is problematic for those who don’t ‘neatly’ fit into ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ gender identities. I could end my assessment of this tradition at “cisnormative ergo problematic”, but that would be not only lazy on my part, but would create a rather unconvincing argument. The problem is not just that boys and girls are being explicitly segregated, the problem is that the narrative created by this tradition affirms preexisting patriarchal values. When I asked Student Activities Director Craig Alexander, who is in charge of the commencement ceremony, about abolishing the tradition, he told me that it was very doable but that he did not see the point to it. He assured me that any transgender or otherwise motivated student wishing to wear the robes of the opposite sex would be offered that choice, but argued that forcing a homogeneous color scheme would be unfair.
“Despite request from Council to fill the Director position, the Mayor has not done so.” In a city council meeting on July 2018, Linick suggested Beachwood was in particular need of a good HR department. “Proportional to the number of employees we have, the number of employee issues seems ridiculously high,” he said. The Mayor made it clear he did not believe there needed to be changes to the HR setup in the city. “You are permitted to create a department,” he said. “My job would be to fill it and to staff it, and I am satisfied at the moment.” Linick, who was advocating strongly for the HR department, directed a comment at Horwitz. “From our experience, this works a lot better,” he said. “I get that you
Class of 2019 commencement at Severance Hall. Photo from Beachwood Buzz
“Why take away the choice of people to wear white and gold, like, say, [their predecessors] did? I don’t think it’s fair to take that choice away,” he said. Choice is a contentious idea in the feminist sphere—if a choice is being made in a patriarchal context, is it the individual, or the patriarchy truly making the choice? How could we ever tell if a woman was acting on her own volition, or acting in conjunction with the patriarchy? Take, for instance, the decision to become a stayat-home mother. While it is unfair to criticize an individual woman for having such a lifestyle, the fact that women are, on average, far more likely to become stay-at-home parents is certainly not value-neutral. At the extremes of this phenomenon, we encounter discussions of choice and female genital mutilation or arranged marriage. There are times when, paradoxically, relinquishing choice is more empowering than allowing it. My assertion is not that it is unfair for girls to receive a bouquet of roses while boys don’t get one. My assertion is that giving roses to girls alone creates a misogynistic atmosphere and is ultimately detrimental to graduating girls. In 1976, a young Ruth Bader Ginsburg famously addressed an amicus brief on behalf of the ACLU to an all-male
don’t… see that, but… this is some of the experience that we bring.” “It’s not just arbitrary that we’re saying we think we should just move people around because maybe it’ll upset you because that’s not what you came up with,” he added. After the confidential settlement, an HR department was created. After Taylor’s comment, Isaacson’s motion passed, and it was met by cheers. The Mayor thanked Council and said he understands the process and appreciates that they followed the process. “I truly appreciate this vote of confidence,” he said. “Thank you very much.” Mayor Horwitz and Beachwood Law Director Diane Calta did not respond to requests for comment.
Supreme Court deliberating on Craig v. Boren. The case involved an Oklahoma law which allowed women aged 18 and up to purchase 3.2% beer, but barred men from doing so until they reached 21. Ginsburg asserted that this law lent legal credence to the notion that young men were intrinsically more reckless than young women and young women more responsible than young men, affirming the toxic “boys will be boys” canard while presenting women as delicate, morally pure creatures. The court ruled against the law, concluding that statutory and adimistrative discrimination on the basis of sex warranted intermediate scrutiny under the 14th amendment. This is the argument I now make—the message communicated and attitudes cultivated by giving girls roses at commencement and dressing them in white impede women’s achievements. In my opinion, choice of colors is an example of either intentional or unintentional gender coding, communicating a specific message. The clearest message I could initially interpret was one of value to the social order, with more economically valuable men robed in gold, and meek, submissive women robed in white. Dr. Barbara G. Hoffman, Director of Cleveland State’s Visual Anthropology Center in the Department of Criminology, Anthropology and Sociology, and a longstanding member of the WGS faculty, had quite a bit to add to my original assessment: Clothing the women in white and offering them flowers could also be an analogy to wedding attire, perhaps a throwback to the very old adage that men go to school to get a diploma; women to get their MRS. It’s hard to believe a respected high school like Beachwood would want to send that message. White also symbolizes the moon, an allusion to women’s monthly menstrual cycles. It can represent sexual purity too – the origin of the white bridal gown. Gold, in contrast, might represent the sun. Without the sun, life cannot exist. The moon rules the tides, but is not a sine qua non for life on earth. Again, not the kind of message an educational institution in the 21st century
Choice is a contentious idea in the feminist sphere—if a choice is being made in a patriarchal context, is it the individual, or the patriarchy truly making the choice? When you give a young woman a bouquet of roses at her graduation, which is an important step on the path to her professional life, you invoke centuries-old images of damsels in distress being brought roses by generous, more powerful men. wants to transmit. If the purpose of graduation is to celebrate the attainment of a level of education, why not clothe all the graduates the same way? Doing so would obviate any perception of gender discrimination, whether deliberate or unintended. Maintaining gendered differences can easily be read as supporting gender discrimination. While some may dismiss such an analysis as grasping at straws, I would argue that there is almost nothing value-neutral or insignificant in our daily experiences. Every decision has a meaning because that decision has a wider historical context and has the potential to cultivate a certain perspective. Take for example that, according to the American Association of University Women, the ratio of women’s median earnings to men’s median earnings was 82% in 2018 for the US. In such a climate of professional sex-based inequity, we should be doing all we can to empower women, and engender (pun intended) the attitude that they are equal to men. When you give a young woman a bouquet of roses at her graduation, which is an important step on the path to her professional
life, you invoke centuriesold images of damsels in distress being brought roses by generous, more powerful men. This is not a gender discrepancy meant to solve the pay gap, like, say, Girls Who Code. This is a reinforcement of attitudes that gave us a pay gap in the first place. When I graduate in a couple of years, I don’t want to be dressed in a different color than my female friends. I want it to be clear that we are all equals, having shared a collective high school experience, now on divergent paths across the professional and academic world. And, as Dr. B. wrote me, “Right now the only thing we truly control is how we (all of us, and women, less so) use our own bodies, minds, and words in the world. Clothes and uniforms and robes matter because they are symbols for how we want (or do not want, in the case of your robes) to be understood in the world.” I also find red roses dreadfully trite. But that’s neither here nor there. Thank you for your time, Peter Soprunov Class of 2021
Senior Wide Receiver, #3.JeShaun Minter, darts past Hawken Junior Cornerback #9 Zach Miller for a Bison touchdown. Photo by Matthew Keyerleber
Locked-In: The Long Road to the Playoffs By Joe Spero Sports Editor
The team shattered school records for their sport, earning a 20-1 record in the regular season and sweeping Kirtland in the district semifinals. Photo by Elizabeth Metz
Bison Volleyball’s Historic Season By Elizabeth Metz Editor-at-Large On Saturday, Oct. 26, the lady Bison volleyball team gave all they had to give on the court, but lost 3-0 to Crestwood in the district final, putting an end to an unprecedented season. The team shattered school records for their sport, earning a 20-1 record in the regular season and swept Kirtland in the district semifinals. And the season caps several years of tremendous growth for the team that won three games in 2017, then went 14-9 last year. Cassidy Gilliam, two-year captain of the team, acknowledged that many were skeptical of the team’s prospects this season. “[My teammates] definitely show me that even when you’re doubted, have a minimum amount of support, and are expected to lose, you too can beat the odds,” she said. “Almost all of us started playing together in 7th grade, and we never thought we’d have a school record or even be CVC Champs... let alone make it to districts,” she added. Gilliam’s senior teammates Kamryn Clark, Erion Gibson, Nicole Petty and Kayla Williams have played together since 2014.
Coach Tiffany McFarland was hired to coach the middle school team in 2014 as well, moving up to the high school in 2016 with the class of 2020. McFarland commented on the growth she has seen over the years. “Coaching them two years in middle school and three years in high school shows their growth not just as athletes but as young women,” she said. “Their transformation has been amazing,” she added. “The progression they made each year is a testament to hard work and dedication.” “They have experienced a lot of ups and downs, but I feel as if they grew together the more they played,” she continued. “They matured and believed in each other and themselves.” Assistant coach Cinderella Gray began her first year coaching this season. Assistant coaches Unique Brownlee and Khadijah Young have also played pivotal roles. Petty commented on the team’s ability to communicate and work together. “Whatever happens, we stick together,” she said. “No one can break our bond [or the energy] we have.” “I couldn’t ask for a better team,” she added.
Junior Kyimani Miller has played varsity since her freshman year. “Our bond... was what changed the most from previous years,” she said. “We weren’t as close last year, and personal conflicts affected us.” The teammates’ strong relationships helped them push through adversity this year. “After the [loss to Chagrin], we knew that there was no time to settle, and every practice had to be serious—no playing around,” she added. “Just because you are winners does not mean you can settle.” Junior Dami Aletor reflected on the season. “We have always lost to Orange, but we demolished them this year,” she said. Gilliam is proud of the team’s achievements this season. “Our story reminds me of a perfect example of beating the odds and remaining humble,” she said. “Looking back at our high school days, this team and what we worked for will always hold a huge place in my heart.” Aletor looks forward to the prospects for next year. “Next year we will have to search for more talent and build off of what we have,” she said. “But this year’s team is irreplacable.”
The Bison football team had a dramatic season, finishing with an 8-3 record and a playoff bid for the fourth time in school history. “The amount of support we had made it very special,” Coach Damion Creel said. “Going through adversity was really challenging, but it made the season even more memorable.” The season started off with a bang, breaking the 11-year losing streak against crosstown rivals the Orange Lions. “We went into the Orange game ready, and we fought to the end,” senior defensive tackle Antonio Roscoe said. The team won the dramatic and emotional game 27-25. The atmosphere at BHS stadium was electric. This was indeed a great start to the season. “Beating Orange was one of the greatest moments for me throughout my four years of playing football,” senior tight end Ahmonra Ballard said. Next the team traveled to face Youngstown Chaney. Three days before the game, Browns Wide Receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., gave the whole Youngstown Chaney football team new Nike Football Cleats. Those cleats must’ve
“We went into the Orange game ready, and we fought to the end.” -Senior Antonio Roscoe helped the Cowboys with their 61-20 win over Beachwood. The Bison would not lose another game for six more weeks. Games three and four were blowouts for the Bison. Beachwood traveled to Collinwood and won 34-0, and the following week traveled to Grand Valley to win 490. At Grand Valley, Bison players and fans were the targets of racism. Grand Valley students and a parent directed racial messages towards Beachwood. Beachwood administrators communicated with Grand Valley administrators to address the situation. With a 3-1 record, the Bison faced Independence and won the game easily with a score of 4110. The next week, the Bison scraped away a 2013 victory for Wickliffe on Wickliffe’s home turf. The Bison showed up for their Homecoming game as they put up 57 points against Cardinal and only allowed 7. The Bison’s biggest challenge of the season was against the defending state champs, the Kirtland Hornets. Before Kirtland’s game against Beachwood, they had allowed only 6
points on the whole season. In the battle between the Hornets and the Bison, the Bison put up 14 points. But the Hornets offense was too overpowering and put up 49 points on their home turf. The final score was 49-14 for Kirtland. The Bison would finish their regular season with two wins at home: a 4313 win over Berkshire and a 70-26 win on Senior night over Hawken. The Bison qualified for the playoffs and made the two-hour bus ride to Oak Harbor on a frigid Saturday night, but lost 41-7 to the Rockets, ending the season. “The playoff game was intense, and we were locked in,” Roscoe said. “Unfortunately, the game didn’t turn out how we wanted it to, but we fought our hardest.” “We had a successful season,” Ballard said. “Obviously, I wish we could have gone farther in the playoffs, but the team got stronger throughout the season and we learned how to really be a team.” “Next year, I’m looking forward to continuing our success,” Creel said. “It’s going to be a brand new team.”
Emily Isaacson & Caleb Berns Advance to Cross Country Regionals By Athena Grasso Staff Writer It was a gray, rainy day on Saturday, Oct. 26 in Boardman, Ohio, but that didn’t mask the energy of the Beachwood Bison at the OHSAA regional cross country meet. The previous week, two Beachwood runners placed in the top twenty of their reIt Junior Emily Isaacson ran a personal record of 21:03 and placed 18th out of 89 girls, and freshman Caleb Berns ran a time of 17:35 and placed 19th out of 106 boys, making him the first freshman cross country runner ever to make it to regionals. A week later, Isaacson and Berns were cheered by several
“This is why I got into coaching…it feels great ,” Coach Jamie Lader said. Photo by Vidula Jambunath 67th with a time of 17:53, so teammates at Boardman High 151 runners from 20 teams they did not make it through, School to run the regional ran in the Division II girls but they still made the Beachmeet at what Head Coach Ja- race, and 155 runners from wood Bison proud with their mie Lader describes as “the 19 teams ran in the Division strong performance and dedimost difficult course in Ohio.” II boys race. In each race, the cation. “It’s got every aspect…it’s top 24 individuals make it to Assistant Coach Bruce got uphills, downhills, turns, the state competition. Isaac- Sherman is very proud of the woods, you name it,” Lader son placed 82nd with a time runners. said. of 21:36 and Berns placed “[I’m] extremely proud of
them because Emily’s been fighting for three years and has improved, and she took her best time ever [at districts] to make it to regionals, and Caleb [earned his] best time, literally because one second either way…and he wasn’t going,” he said. Berns was satisfied with his race and aims to make it to regionals again in the future. “The race went great, I felt very good after,” he said. “Hope to be back next year, you know, [there is] a lot of talent still here, so it’s exciting.” According to Isaacson, the course is definitely tougher than most, the hardest part being the hills. But that doesn’t diminish her great achievements this season.
“I’m really proud of how well I’ve done this season, and honestly I really didn’t think I’d make it this far,” Isaacson said. Her favorite part of the season has been how close the girls team became. The last time Beachwood sent a girl to cross country regionals was Leah Roter in 2017, and for a boy it was Jack Spero in 2016, so it is significant for Beachwood to have runners making it to regionals. Coach Lader expressed how proud he was of Isaacson and Berns. “This is why I got into coaching…it feels great,” Lader said. “It’s been a couple year hiatus, and it feels good to start to rebuild the team again, get to regionals.”
Looking Back on an Incredible Season
Clockwise from top left: Desmond Horne leaps for the endzone; Kyimani Miller blocks a hit while Dami Aletor covers; Kamryn Clark hits from the back row; Erion Gibson prepares to receive a serve; Emily Isaacson at the regional meet; Caleb Berns consults with Asst. Coach Bruce Sherman; Sunny Wang and Sydney Sarver scramble for the ball; Dawann Gray, Jr. and Ben Desatnik celebrate Grayâ€™s touchdown against Hawken; LeTraize Walker runs past the Orange defense. Center: Lucila Thal advances the ball. Volleyball photos by Elizabeth Metz; football and soccer photos by Matthew Keyerleber; cross country photos by Vidula Jambunath