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2 News 11/6/09

California Prepares for Large-Scale Earthquake by Madeleine Neuburger and Lauren Stewart

Oct. 17, 2009 marked the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. On this date, Miramonte and 7-10 million Californians practiced their school’s earthquake drills. Miramonte’s administration has revised multiple plans in order to perfect the school’s safety procedure in case of an earthquake. “We have been working for three years,” said Associate Principal Sharron Bartlet. “And we modify every year to find out what improvements will make our plan the best for Miramonte.” In case of a large earthquake, Miramonte and the rest of the Orinda community will benefit from a variety of earthquake and safety experts that live and work here. There are multiple CERT (Certified Emergency Response Training) members at

Miramonte, as well as earthquake and building safety experts on campus. The emergencytrained sports medicine class will give their aid. Miramonte’s revised emergency response plan now includes the participation of John Grigsby’s sports medicine class. Grigsby’s class spent a week and a half practicing splinting, back boarding, and other safety procedures with a limited supply of resources. “I feel like I could really make a difference in a life or death situation from my training with John ‘The Trainer’

Photos: Tom Van Dyke/San Jose Mercury News/MCT

Above: The Bay Bridge fell during the October 1989 Loma Prieta quake. Left: The I-880-I-80 interchange collapsed in Oakland during the same earthquake.

Grigsby,” said junior Chris Thatcher. During the earthquake drill, the sports medicine “rescuers” went through their strategically planned routes through the school with walkie-talkies in search of the “injured students.” The “injured students,” a random selection of students left behind in classrooms, were then medically assessed and taken to the makeshift medical station either before or after being treated. “I had to use a cardboard box splint for his leg, a plastic tripod cover for his arm, and I used a chair from the video production room for a wheel chair,” said Thatcher,

describing his rescue of sophomore Trevor Rechnitz. In the case of an earthquake, students are advised to duck and cover far away from the windows, and if possible under a strong structure, such as a desk or table. After the earthquake has subsided, students must make their way to the football field to find their third period teacher for roll. Although Miramonte’s students are only expected to follow the safety procedure, Administrators are looking to extend the safety enforcement to students, in an optional CERT training program.

Swine Flu Causes Trauma Miramonte, Facebook Clash by Jamie Riley

On July 11 the World Health Organization declared swine flu a worldwide pandemic. With the news of H1N1 killing over 1,000 Americans, President Obama confirmed swine flu as a national emergency Oct. 23. Many Miramonte students have been infected, leading to an increase in student absences this fall season. “My friends told me I was lucky I got to stay home a week from school,” said junior Kathryn Butler. “But having swine flu was horrible; it was much worse than having the regular flu.” H1N1 is caused by the type A influenza virus, a highly contagious disease among pigs, which then mutated into a disease seen in humans. The transmission of swine flu is similar to that of the common flu. You can contract this virus if an infected person sneez-

Photo: D. Louie

Junior Hannah Tennant kills germs with hand sanitizer.

es or coughs on you, or when you touch a contaminated surface, and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. According to Lynne Alper, a physician at UC Berkeley, people are infectious one day before they develop symptoms, which makes it more difficult to prevent H1N1 from spreading. The symptoms of this virus are also similar to that of a seasonal flu. They include coughing, sore throat, headache, chills, fever, vomiting, and fatigue. “Anyone with a fever and cough or sore throat, or anyone ill should stay home,” said Miramonte nurse Barbara Polanger. “They should contact their healthcare provider. They need to stay home and recover until they are fever free for 24 hours without any fever-reducing medicine, even if they feel better.” It is important for infected students to be on top of their studies as much as possible, as they will probably be out of school for more than a few days before their symptoms cease. “Be sure to have a parent call the attendance office recorder every day you are absent,” said Associate Principal Jan Carlson. “Keep in touch with all of your teachers via email and Blackboard; arrange to make-up missed work and tests. When you return to school, come to the attendance office with a doctor’s note verifying that you had H1N1.” “I can understand why people are worried about swine flu,” said Alper. “But the fact is, that it’s just another virus that almost all of us will do fine with. Get vaccinated and encourage your friends to stay home when they are sick.” Swine flu vaccines are arriving in the Bay Area. It’s crucial that people check in with their doctor’s offices, because pharmacies and offices are unsure of how many doses of the vaccine they will receive.

by Elizabeth Lenczowski

Considering society’s technological progress and burgeoning online epicenter, there are more opportunities for teenagers to flaunt condemnable behavior. Whether that means posting illicit pictures on Facebook, or bullying another student online, schools are encountering problems on how to keep students safe. So far, there are no federal laws that define what rights students have online or how schools can censor material on websites. However, in the 1997 Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union case, the Supreme Court ruled that online speech is equally protected as other types of expression. But still, this verdict does not outline a school’s authority in the matter. Therefore, administrators nationwide are making disciplinary decisions based on their personal opinions. The legal term in loco parentis, meaning “in place of the parent” is applied to the debate over a school’s involvement in student life. Some argue that administrators have a right to get involved in a student’s home and assume parent’s rights, duties, and responsibilities by disciplining illegal online behavior. Others say that schools do not have the right to tell students what to do outside of school. At Miramonte, the administration seems to have taken a mild in loco parentis approach to students’ online actions. Disciplinary action is only pursued if the student in question violated an athlete or Leadership contract against illegal behavior. If so, a meeting with the Athletic Director or Leadership teacher is held, and punishment is dealt accordingly. “We have a conversation about their integrity to honor their contract,” said Associate Principal Jan Carlson.

Also, online evidence displaying students’ illegal actions are brought to the administration’s attention by members of the community. Contrary to what some students fear, members of the administration do not have Facebook accounts to spy on students. “We do not take the time to go through Facebook,” said Carlson. “We don’t go digging [for pictures].” Although Miramonte may not search Facebook for incriminating pictures, the administration certainly does not turn down evidence, and will talk to students and possibly their parents about their actions. “It causes us to have a conversation with the student,” said Carlson. According to Adam Goldstein, a lawyer from the Student Press Law Center, schools in California cannot discipline students for their actions outside of school that are protected by the First Amendment. California Education Code Section 48950 states “School districts operating one or more high schools and private secondary schools shall not make or enforce a rule subjecting a high school pupil to disciplinary sanctions solely on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication that, when engaged in outside of the campus, is protected from governmental restriction by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 2 of Article I of the California Constitution.” “We are not in the business of slapping hands, we are in the business of keeping students safe and healthy,” said Carlson. Until a law is enacted defining a school’s involvement in student life, Miramonte will continue to act in place of Orinda’s parents.


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