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Van Nuys High School | Van Nuys, California | Volume 103 | Issue 3 | December 2017

The Mirror

Have any last minute holiday shopping to do before the holiday season? Here are some of the places to check out PAGE 4

Do you think that women should have the right to abortion? See boths sides of the argument PAGE 10

Love it or hate it: Read more about Justice League, action-packed and filled with memorable characters. PAGE 14



Harassment It’s everywhere: Page 8-9

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2 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror

News&Analysis | December 8, 2017


School Board votes unanimously to build a mobile application, but their plan is short on specifics

There’s an App for That By CHRISTIAN WALSH The Mirror staff


he Los Angeles Unified School District is being dragged into the digital age. LAUSD admits that its digital house is in disorder. It acknowledges that its website, lausd. net, is a never-ending black hole of cluttered content that is near-impossible to sift through. To help fix the mess, the school board has voted to create an app to try to untangle access to a growing mass of information. Why a mobile app? LAUSD has found that many of its low-income families rely mainly on their smartphones for an internet connection, so it seemed logical to build an app rather than revamp the district website, which is poorly optimized for smartphones or any other device with a small screen. Although the board voted unanimously

Chromebooks for all coming to VNHS


fter the unsuccessful attempt at implementing iPads in schools, LAUSD hopes to redeem itself with a new system, the Empowered Learning Program, by distributing Google ChromeBooks for student use. Van Nuys is one of the 103 LAUSD schools selected to participate in the program, and under it, students will be assigned a personal Google ChromeBook for academic use. Currently, the technicalities and policies of the program are being reviewed by district administrators as they finalize the details and create rules for its implementation, one of which requires Principal Ms. Yolanda Gardea to attend two training sessions on Dec. 18 and 19. The advent of this program and previous attempts such as the creation of the LAUSD app are all attempts by LAUSD to digitalize the learning experience for its students. —Tyler Jung

to build an app, the plan is short on specifics. No decision has been made about whether they want to build it themselves, as was done with the current student information system, MiSiS, or if a third party will be hired. This time, the board hopes the application will not wash down the drain like their past technology debacles. Newly-elected board member Nick Melvoin and his staff have gathered information on what the app should offer and what parents would like the app to offer them. Ideally, the app should have features such as reminders, notifications, forms to be filed, information on LAUSD property for rental or usage, a school donation button, school bus routes and even a chat function for parents to privately contact each other. They also want to connect student records with the associated parent accounts to make viewing a student’s progress easier. “We want to protect privacy. We want to make sure it is the right parent accessing the student records,” said LAUSD Chief Information Officer Shahryar Khazei. LAUSD also plans to connect their existing parent portal, PASSport, to the app to combine the extensive information available about students in the portal with the convenience of a mobile app. Their grand plan is to unify all of the services offered through PASSport, Schoology, and the LAUSD website into a convenient app for parents and students to use. LAUSD has a poor track record with technology. First, the district prematurely rolled out the untested and bug-ridden MiSiS, which left teachers, counselors and administrators howling. It took over two years and millions of dollars to fix a system that is still not considered by many to be up to snuff. With the disastrous debut of LAUSD’s MiSiS data management system, board members decided to scrap plans to use the inadequate gradebook component, instead choosing to supplement it with an existing out-of-the-box gradebook—Schoology.


Why a mobile app? LAUSD has found that many of its low-income families rely mainly on their smartphones for an internet connection, so it seemed logical to build an app rather than revamp the district website.

Schoology has been LAUSD’s student portal since the Fall 2017 semester. Although students seem to have few complaints, teachers lament the lack of training they received to use the software, its glaring lack of features and the shear number of clicks it takes to do the simplest of tasks. Besides MiSiS and Schoology, the district planned to assign an iPad to every student, but cancelled the initiative after students quickly hacked the security software. With such a dark digital history, LAUSD powers-that-be see a new application as a way to bring the schools and the community together through technology, envisioning it to become an easy way for students and parents to connect with teachers and school staff. “To open a two-way communication between the district and parents in a meaningful way. ... For parents, this information is especially important in case of emergency.” said Dora Khoubian, an LAUSD parent.

Knowledge at the End of the Rainbow: State Adopts Inclusive History Textbooks By STEFANIE TYO The Mirror Staff


en new history textbooks acknowledging the contributions of the LGBTQ and disabled communities have been approved by the California Board of Education. “This victory is the next step for California students to learn about the contributions and history of LGBTQ people,” said Rick Zbur, the executive director of Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights

organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Activists have been fighting for decades to get the board to adopt more inclusive textbooks. More than 500 individuals addressed the panel until Board President Mike Kirst declared the public hearing closed. “That was the longest (hearing) in the history of the state Board of Education,” Kirst said. Members approved the new textbooks for use in K-8 classrooms, rejecting two that did not abide by the FAIR Education Act. The act was created by the California state legislature and passed by Senator Mark Leno, requiring

classroom instruction to include information about the contributions of a wide range of Americans including Native Americans, LGBT individuals, and people with disabilities. As one of the most progressive states in the nation, California is the only state to have created the FAIR Education Act along with admitting LGBT inclusive books in classrooms. The new textbooks could transform history lessons for California’s 6.5 million K-8 students as more minority groups are more accurately represented in the curriculum. With roughly 4 percent or

more of California’s population identifying as LGBT and an increasing number of young individuals coming out and identifying as a part of the community, some even rejecting such labels altogether, they demand that they be included in the narrative. “The decision allows LGBTQ students, and those with LGBTQ families, to see themselves and our history accurately reflected in textbooks in California,” said Renata Moreira, Executive Director of Our Family Coalition, an LGBTQ family advocacy group. By representing LGBTQ individuals in history, students who are afraid to come out or who are

questioning their sexuality will have access to information that may answer their questions and give them more insight about who they are. The next challenge schools face is implementing lessons on sexuality and the LGBT community. Some parents may object to having young learners exposed to what they view as a sensitive or inappropriate subject many feel should be discussed first at home and at an age they deem appropriate. But for now, LGBTQ advocates are just happy to be written into history.

December 8, 2017 |


Will LAUSD Ever Be Truly Unified? By TOMMY CHAN & CHANDLER BEON The Mirror Staff


he Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education is nearing to its quinquennial tradition of deciding the fates of charter schools. California state legislation, through the Charter School Act of 1992, requires charter schools to be subject to approval via petition through any charter authorizers, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District. Charter schools may be authorized for up to five years, then must again petition to the authorizing jurisdiction to remain open.

According to LAUSD, there are currently 227 charter schools in the district. The Board decides on an average of 34 charter petitions every session, and it is rare for any to be denied. Prior to the LAUSD School Board meeting on Nov. 7, school district officials requested that the board members deny 14 charter school petitions in the agenda largely due to the charters’ refusal to follow the “district-required language,” a set of requirements and policies set by the district charters are obligated to follow. Charter school leaders believed that the language was outdated and requested updated policies to more appropriate standards.


Parental Guidance Van Nuys High School’s unique Parent Center works to educate parents how to better support their children By TOMMY CHAN & MARC CORTES The Mirror staff


an Nuys High School is an institution of learning primarily for teenagers. But parents have an opportunity to learn here as well. The school’s Parent Center offers an array of workshops for parents who want to strengthen relationships with their children. “The importance of parenting is to raise productive citizens for our society,” said Ms. Rose Avetisyan, family educator, community representative and counselor who coordinates the Parent Center. “I believe that families are the cells of society

years, building a close-knit group of parents whose goal is to help their families come together. “I really hope that the parents learn something from these workshops,” said Ms. Avetisyan. “This is a community effort and our entire community will be here to support them through their struggles.” Curriculum for other workshops the Parent Center sponsors heavily revolves around a workbook made specifically to strengthen parent-child bonds. Experience your Possibilities, by Parental Action, was created to establish mutual understanding and strengthen communication between parents and children. “Whether you had the best parents in the world to learn from or were selftaught in the art of raising children, your teen’s success is tied to everything you do… or don’t do for them,” according to the workbook. The hands-on activities that the Parent Center hosts encourage parents to be introspective and learn from their mistakes. “The most important quality is that you want to make a positive difference in their lives,” said Ms. Avetisyan. A popular exercise developed for parents, “Family Values,” shows the type of values that are intentionally or even

The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 3

Ms. Rose Avetisyan Parent Center Director

I believe that families are the cells of society and that we must start building up from the foundation in order to influence the whole. giving back to the community. Every year, she holds her 101 Flowers event, which is intended to show gratitude to Ms. Gardea for all the work done on behalf of the Parent Center and the school as a whole. “You need to have a good leader in order to start and continue programs and ideas; there are things you just can’t do yourself,” said Ms. Avetisyan. “Ms. Gardea is a really good leader that has started many programs that PHOTOS BY TYREE WINBORN | THE MIRROR

A group of charter school leaders released a media statement on the conflict. “We have known that seeking better policies could cause complications for our petitions,” the statement reads. “This is a risk we have been willing to take.” In the cases where the LAUSD School Board does not approve a petition, charter schools can appeal to the Los Angeles County Office of Education. They also have the option to appeal to the California State Board of Education. If the petition is denied at all three levels, the school is forced to close. After a long, heated discussion between the pro-charter forces that control the current school board, and pro-district advocates, a compromise was reached which granted charter schools some— but not all—the changes in the “districtrequired language” that they sought. The Board also agreed to approve 11 of the initially rejected applications discussed at the November meeting.

The charter schools are still, however, obligated to follow many non-negotiable policies of the “district-required language,” which includes investigation by the LAUSD Office of Inspector General, compliance with the district’s modified consent decree regarding special education services and submission to the district’s disciplinary policies. Pro-charter forces consider this compromise a significant victory. With four out of the seven LAUSD board members advocating for charter schools, charter school leaders expect their revisions of the language to be approved easily. The Board denied the petitions of the remaining charter schools for minor issues, which included lacking required signatures, to major issues, including unlikeliness to implement the LAUSD educational program.

and that we must start building up from the foundation in order to influence the whole.” Thanks to the support of Principal Ms. Yolanda Gardea, the Parent Center has expanded its offerings over the last year, with more than 100 new parents seeking to participate in available programs. The Parent Center opens its arms wide to anyone who wants to become a part of the VNHS family. “My goal is to welcome all the parents that want to join and give them encouragement in their familial connections,” said Avetisyan. One program that is attracting so much interest is the English as a Second Language (ESL) workshops. ESL workshops are held every Wednesday and Thursday at 8:30 a.m. for parents who want to learn English or further develop their English skills. Ms. Avetisyan believes that one main problem that plagues many families is poor communication. Parents often do not know English as well as their children and in turn, their children may not comprehend their parent’s native tongue, creating a language barrier between them. Many of the parents attending these workshops have been doing so for several

THE PARENTS OF have greatly benefitted our unintentionally passed on THE VAN NUYS HIGH community; she genuinely to children. SCHOOL COMMUNITY deserves this special day.” In the activity, parents GATHER THEIR The flowers used in the create a flower and FLOWERS IN THE ceremony are handpicked by PARENT CENTER inscribe it with activiTO OFFER TO MS. VNHS parents from their ties that they participate GARDEA AS A GIFT OF very own gardens. in with their children. GRATITUDE. The Parent Center is not Positive values are writlimited to only assisting ten on the center while parents. Ms. Avetisyan also the negative values are works to build ties to VNHS displayed on the petals. students and the surrounding neighborWhen the symbolic petals wilt and fall hood as well. off, the center remains to blossom once Every school day, the Parent Center again. collects leftover Breakfast in the Class“This activity is meant to encourage room (BIC) food, providing it for any parents to instill positive values in the students who want more. The leftovers children and to allow the parents to are then donated to local churches, notice the negative values they may uninhelping to reduce the school’s food waste tentionally enforce,” said Avetisyan. produced. “I want to see happy and supportive Through such efforts, Ms. Avetisyan’s children to carry on with the ideals and Parent Center is known as a place where values of a good citizen.” parents feel welcomed and are excited The workbook is full of similar activiabout raising their children in the best ties, addressing a variety of topics like creway possible. ating fair rules, promoting good behavior At the end of the day, that’s what matand listening attentively. ters the most to Ms. Avetisyan. Parents and students each have their “I really want everyone to feel special. own sections within the workbook, alNo one tells them that they are beautiful lowing them to compare their opinions or appreciated at home, so my goal is to so they can work to accommodate each make sure that they know that they are other’s needs. special, beautiful, and appreciated.” First and foremost though, Ms. Avetisyan and the Parent Center are all about

4 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror


Tax Bill 101 By AMANDA GODFREY Editor-in-Chief


hree decades after the last big tax overhaul in 1986, the Republican party is attempting to implement major tax reform by the end of the year—and it will affect nearly all Americans. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act aims to cut both corporate and individual taxes. The Bill passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives on a party-line vote. While the specifics of the final bill still have to be reconciled in Congressional Committee, the basic elements of the package are essential to understanding the big changes that may be coming soon: Raising the standard deduction, but not the tax Not every single dollar of income tax needs to be paid. Taxable incomes, or the part of the income that is paid for taxes, can be reduced by taking the standard deduction—a set amount of money the Internal Revenue Service grants to alleviate taxes for individuals and married couples. The amount of standard deduction offered varies according to filing status, age, and vision impairment. The GOP bill plans to significantly raise the standard deduction to nearly double the amount. This will benefit the majority of Americans who typically rely on the standard deduction to decrease their taxable income. Tax bracketing in and out Who determines how much tax is paid? The complex U.S. tax system utilizes seven brackets to categorize their taxpayers and assign them tax rates, or the percentage at which they are taxed, depending on income and filing status. Higher incomes generally pay higher tax rates. The Senate bill retains the seven bracket system and lowers the tax rate for each, while the House bill simplifies the tax system into four brackets limiting the number of rates applicable. Individuals can be pushed into a lower bracket with lower tax rates or be pushed into a higher bracket with higher tax rates. The consequences will differ for each American. The big business benefit Both the House and Senate bills reduce corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 20 percent, seeking to in- | December 8, 2017

What you need to know about the GOP tax bill.

centivize corporate businesses to bring overseas money back to produce more jobs and stimulate the economy. This is advertised as the main objective of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. SALT on the state and local tax deductions Taxpayers in many states pay state and local taxes in addition to federal taxes. From income taxes to property taxes to sales tax, taxpayers can deduct all these costs from their federal taxes. If these deductions are eliminated, individuals who itemize (itemizing deductions = reducing the taxable income with expenses like medical expenses, mortgage interest payments, large charitable donations, and anything that qualifies) will not be able to write their SALT taxes off, requiring them to pay more in government taxes. High-tax states like California and New York, in which revenue depends on resident taxes, could be dealt a blow affecting state funding for public education, construction and other public programs. Mandating the mandate for health insurance The individual mandate of Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, requires those in the U.S. to have health insurance that meets specific standards and penalizes any person who does not abide by this rule. Both versions of the tax bill seek to eliminate the mandate. Individuals will not be required to have health insurance, which could lead to chaos and higher prices in the health insurance markets. Educational barrier Many graduate students are given tuition waivers from the university they attend to help pay for their education which are currently tax-exempt, or tax-free. The House bill treats these waivers as taxable incomes, taxing graduate students based on the amount of money they receive for their tuition. Graduate students will be weighed with more taxes if the final bill keeps this intact. Reconciling the two bills The 500 page bill is comprised of many other constituents that have not been covered. The House and Senate bills must be identical in order to pass it on to the president. After a mere month of revising, the tax bill may be approved before the start of 2018.

‘Tis the season to shop As Christmas slowly approaches us, so does the bad habit of last minute shopping! Last minute Christmas shopping is very common and a very big hassle. Start your shopping late and you find yourself with nothing but wiped out shelves at common shopping stores. Here are some places that are perfect to shop from when you’ve found yourself in a last minute shopping situation.


Thrift Stores—Depending on the gift receiver, thrift stores can be full of hidden treasures. From small gifts to clothes, thrift stores have it all and at a very low price as well. Thrifting has recently found itself as a fashion trend, therefore if your gift receiver is into clothes the thrift shop can be the perfect place for shopping. •American Veteran Thrift store 7830 Balboa Blvd. • Super Thrift Store 13422 S. Saticoy St. • MTA Thrift Store 6735 Van Nuys Blvd.


Online Shopping—Online shopping makes it easy to

avoid excessive transportation, crowded stores and long lines that come with in-store shopping. The only issue online shopping can possibly come with is arrival time. Although some websites offer quicker shipping for more money, expected arrival time is not guaranteed. •Uncommon Goods •Catbird •Hamlet


Antique Shops—Gifts such as records, dishware and


Stores with Gift Cards­­—Purchasing a gift card pre-

books can be found at antique shops. Although common gifts such as electronic devices or expensive clothing aren’t as commonly found in antique shops, it’s the thought of the gift that counts.

vents the need to be in crowded stores during the holiday season. . Gift cards also prevent you from giving an unwanted gift/ Your gift receiver may find it helpful that they have the ability to purchase their own gifts thanks to a gift card. —Compiled by Opinion Staff


Gift Wrap

Roll out and cut the wrapping paper (make sure to cut out enough to encompass the entire box).

Place box face down, in the middle of the paper, and pull tightly from both sides, taping it close.

Face the open end towards you and fold the right and left edges, forming flaps.

Fold the top flap down, tape it and then repeat for the bottom flap.

Position box face up and run your fingers along its edges to create a crease.

December 8, 2017 |


Meet the Cream of the Crop The Academic Decathlon is an annual ten-event high school academic competition Teams of nine students compete in academic events related to math, science, language and literature, social science, music, art, and economics, which are tied together by a different theme each year. The Van Nuys Academic Decathlon team had their first competition on Nov. 4th at North Hollywood High School. Students from different schools gathered to compete in a scrimmage. Nine Van Nuys High School students won medals. Here are their thoughts so far! -Jessica Eusebio, Shimla Rahman, and Devin Tse

Diluni Wijeyewickrema, Team A

Won 3 medals What do you find challenging about ACADEC? I have a really bad habit of studying the day before a test. I had to learn to study consistently every single day rather than the day before.” What do you enjoy about ACADEC? I enjoy the knowledge that comes with it. It is so nice to learn about something that people usually don’t know or care about. What are some qualities that you can offer the team? I consider myself overwhelmingly positive.

Angel Topete, Team C

Won 2 medals Why did you join ACADEC: I was approached by a few members last year, so I decided to give it a try over the summer. It is a very good opportunity to help expand my horizons. What are some qualities you can offer the team? I am good at speaking and explaining concepts and large ideas to other people. Why do you think others should join? People can challenge themselves by competing with other people

Tiffany Wu, Team B

Won 5 medals Why did you join ACADEC? I joined ACADEC because I thought it would be a good challenge and also I could develop my study skills and be on a team. What subjects are your primary focus? I don’t really specialize in anything because you have to know all topics well, but I think my best subjects are math, social studies, and music. How do you feel about this year? I wasn’t in it last year but I feel like this year we have a really strong team, and I really believe that we have a great potential to succeed.

Maya Peterson, Team A

Won 2 medals Reason for joining: Mr. Robert Crosby suggested that I should join. I haven’t competed in a decathlon before. It was a challenge that I wanted to take on. What are you most excited about? I’m excited for the speeches. I really like to speak and perform. Why do you think others should join? People should join ACADEC if they want to challenge themselves and show that they can do well in multiple subjects. Doing well in a competition like this truly shows you can be a well-rounded person.

The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 5

Ovsanna Baghdishyan, Team B

Medaled in literature What are you most excited for? I’m excited to go to new places, work with my team, and hopefully get a trophy.” Why do you think others should join? I think others should join because it gives you an opportunity to expand your knowledge. I’ve learned things in ACADEC that I never knew before. I’ve learned so many things about the culture and music, which the media doesn’t expose.

Elizabeth Lim, Team B

Medaled in literature Why did you join ACADEC? A teacher recommended me to join. What’s your focus? The subject I focus on the most is probably history or science, but I won a silver medal in literature. Why do you think others should join? I think people should join because it is a good experience. It teaches you a lot about different subjects, so you get well-rounded. It also teaches you good study habits and time management.

Lacthu Vu, Team A

Won 5 medals What do you enjoy the most about ACADEC? I enjoy doing math even though we don’t spend much time on it; I have always enjoyed working with numbers.” Why did you join ACADEC? I joined because I thought that it would be an interesting extracurricular activtiy.But I really enjoy working with the rest of the team and studying. Why should people join ACADEC? People should join ACADEC if they want to take challenges and focus on one theme in an educational topic.It’s fun working with friends that you have on the team.

Brianna De La Hoya, Team B

Won 6 medals What are your primary subject focus? “Science & Social Science & Economics” What do you enjoy about ACADEC? It’s really fun. You get to learn new skills like speech prep and interviewing skills. How do you feel about your team? I feel like my team is going to do really well at our last scrimmage everyone was really successful. Our team works very hard and I know we will place high at city and state.

Raul Segura, Team B

Medaled in Economics What is your primary subject focus? My favorite subject would have to be the science component of our curriculum because it focuses on the pathology of Africa. I plan on becoming a pathologist because I find the study of disease treatment and diagnosis so fascinating. Why should others join? Academic Decathlon is also a great way to learn about very esoteric knowledge that you can use in your everyday life and the rest of your academic career.

6 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror

Features&Profiles | December 8, 2017

The Brewing Battle Over Net Neutrality By ELISSA CHOI The Mirror Staff


magine having to pay a fee to access certain websites, words loading at a letter per minute, and having internet service providers (ISPs) bar users from international news. That is the future for internet users if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) votes to eliminate net neutrality on Dec. 14, 2017. The Trump Administration’s FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is pushing to scrap net neutrality, the principle that preserves people’s right to communicate freely online. Net neutrality prohibits internet service providers like Verizon or AT&T from blocking content or applications they dislike. It creates a level playing field for all users, giving everyone equal access to websites and applications on the web. Without net neutrality, companies can choose not to provide certain applications, block content or choose to substantially slow down a user’s access speed. For millions of users who have only known an unrestricted internet, ending net neutrality might come as a big shock. Analysts say it will cost consumers and businesses more money and reduce options. Users and even school districts may end up paying out the nose for access to educational sites that were previously unrestricted if net neutrality is eliminated. Sites like Khan THE ISSUE: Net neutrality, Academy that the unrestricted access to information, is being threatened teach subjects in an upcoming FCC vote that ranging from would allow service providers physics to art to block access to websites or substantially slow down data history are at speeds without restriction. risk of being THE CONSEQUENCES: suddenly Censorship by service providers; higher prices for inaccessible consumers, politicization of to students information. because WHAT YOU CAN DO: Contact your Congressman online or students may by phone and register your have to pay to support or opposition. gain access to worksheets and video tutorials. Sites that provide free online textbooks to low-income students also may be barred to students who cannot pay an extra fee to access them. An open internet is also crucial for political groups and activists who use online platforms to create their movements and bring people from all over the world to fight for a common cause, especially if a politically-motivated company like Rupert Murdoch’s right-leaning Fox acquired a large service provider like AT&T. Modern political movements gain momentum and communicate online. Movements like the


net neutrality, companies can choose not to provide certain applications, block content or choose to substantially slow down a user’s access speed.

Women’s March and Black Lives Matter rely on sic service if you subscribe to Verizon, or the Dish Twitter and Instagram to engage support from mil- Network website being blocked if you have AT&T lions of people across the country. because they own DirecTV—the competition. Political campaigns are now fought primarily The right-leaning FCC is expected to vote to online. Political debates are streamed online, readily eliminate net neutrality on Dec. 14. And with that available for users who don’t have TV subscripvote, a future of unrestricted access to information tions. hangs in the balance. Candidates reach out to young voters through Ultimately, internet service providers are looking the web, sending emails and creating websites that to gain millions of extra dollars in increased fees allow for everyone to have equal access to supportwhile eliminating competition from other services ing their campaigns. or applications. By eliminating competition from An open internet also allows for smaller busiother providers, large ISPs stand at incredible finannesses to create connections with their customers cial advantages. locally and globally. It allows for business owners to Users everywhere on large media platforms grow their businesses online where customers will like Reddit, Instagram and Facebook have started be able to purchase their products on the web. petitions to stop the FCC from voting to block net Doing away with net neutrality would seem neutrality. Web users everywhere are encouraged to benefit only internet service providers, not the to contact their local Congressmen to vote against general public. repealing net neutrality. Companies like Google and Twitter have spoken The battle for the net has only begun, and it is up, weighing in on the side of open access. paramount that the free web stays protected. In Portugal, where there is no net neutrality, service providers give consumers different packages they can pay for to access different services. Social media platforms are lumped together in one package, while According to a recent music listening apps are put national survey by the in another. To have access to University of Delaware, a social media or music lisAmericans overwhelming tening app, users must pay support of keeping the more. internet freely accessible. According to Wired, although paid packages are not a likely situation, web users can expect to have subscriptions that give unlimited access to certain preferred providers while charging an extra fee for Support Net services by other providers. Neutrality Imagine only being able to access Verizon’s mu-

How Americans feel about Net Neutrality


Want it eliminated





VIEW What is your stance on net neutrality?

PJ Rattapitak

Yes, providers should be free to control our data but net neutrality is also our right. However, if they want to do anything to our internet, they can, because they are the ones that are giving us internet. It would only be a problem if they changed the prices.

Sarah Preimesberger

I think it’s dumb. We should have more of a freedom with what we do. Our country is about freedom and limiting that is limiting our right for freedom. It’s restricting us more and keeping us from becoming an actual country of freedom.

Olyvia Baek

I think it is only fair in a competitive market. It’s not like they’re told to keep a certain regulation, but if it gets into people’s privacy then there’s the problem.

Mr. Daniel Cortes

I believe that freedom to open internet is vital to ensuring a level playing field. I don’t think it’s fair for everybody when all these companies are dictating their own thing. Hopefully, we can get something resolved.

Teresa Thomas

I’m against banning net neutrality. Open access to the Internet is extremely important to me. It would definitely be an infringement on my rights as an American if net neutrality was taken away and I was forced to view only the content of certain companies.

December 8, 2017 |


The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 7

The Power of a Picture By ALIZA PATEL & SARA KUCHIMPOS The Mirror Staff


hree billion people—nearly 40 percent of the global population—log onto social media sites everyday to scroll through their newsfeed, update their status or post photos.

Social media has revolutionized the way people interact on a global scale. In many ways, it has impacted lives for the better. Messages can be delivered instantly. A click of a button has the power to virtually unite people thousands of miles apart. Political advocates can reach a wider audience through social media platforms and information about an endless array of topics is only a Google search away. With so many informational and social networking sites like Google, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat developing new features that appeal to younger audiences, the percentage of social media users has grown over the years. According to one study, 71 percent of teenagers admitted to using more than one social media site. It has become normal for people to post personal aspects of their lives on social media. However, people’s seemingly innocent posts can cause harm in their work and school environments. What they post may be a normal routine of their personal lives, but it can produce greater long-term consequences they were unaware of.

More and more colleges and employers are checking potential applicants’ social media pages as part of routine background checks. Anything that could be perceived as offensive or inappropriate may have a negative impact on their application. Even if a student or employee is accepted, there is still the risk of acceptances being rescinded for posts made afterwards. Although security settings may delude people into believing their private information is inaccessible to others, two studies have shown that the friends an individual associates with on social media can reveal personal attributes and information, including the university they attend and their hometown. Many people are left unaware of how

posted onto social media and quickly caught the attention of millions of Twitter and Instagram users. While many found the photo humorous, others found it offensive. Last year, all schools in the Los Angeles School District were closed for a day because of a bomb threat made online. Although it turned out to be a hoax, the district judged the threat to be credible. Even though there are no Do the BENEFITS of social networking clear rules on what actions sites outweigh the CONSEQUENCES? online should have repercussions, there are many ways that much information they’re sharing. online platforms are taking a stand against A cyclist got fired from her job for wavinappropriate online postings. ing a middle finger at President Trump’s Platforms like Facebook have included motorcade. A picture of her actions were new community guidelines where users are

able to instantly report another user or post for investigation. Such guidelines have helped users protect themselves from harmful posts or other content with malicious intent. Facebook has also tried to educate users, posting tips for parents, teenagers and educators on the appropriate way to deal with potentially harmful content. The boundaries of social media are endless, so it’s paramount that all users of social media stay cautious about what they post and who they associate with online. While online platforms may be powerful tools that connect people from all over the world, users aren’t guaranteed immunity to the negative consequences that sometimes follow their online actions.

8 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror


The cascade of claims alleging sexual misconduct has overwhelmed the media and emboldened people to stand in solidarity against the assailants. By Sarah Kuchimpos & Stefanie Tyo


he nation is boiling over. Reports and rumors are flooding in, wave upon wave of women and men call for justice—the right to feel safe in their workplace and be free of sexual harassment. Accusations of sexual harassment have flooded the media, reporting scandal after scandal in politics, Hollywood and the media itself. Notable Hollywood stars and government officials including U.S. Senator Al Franken, film producer Harvey Weinstein and President Donald Trump have been accused of sexual harassment by women who seem to finally have had enough. Women and men who have experienced sexual harassment are stepping forward and sharing horrific stories of their firsthand encounters as victims of the crime. Victims and the majority of the media are demanding that the assailants be held accountable for their actions. Although scenarios and culprits differ, the motives and consequences are ultimately identical: Individuals using their power and authority to take advantage of those they believe are physically and emotionally weaker than them.

Obvious as it is, a reiteration of the

definition of the crime is needed to further understand these accusations. Sexual harassment is the making of unwanted sexual advances and/or obscene remarks in a workplace or other professional or social situations. Although this epidemic has made headlines in media, it is necessary that the public grasps that harassment extends beyond Hollywood studios and the halls of Congress. The major stories are only a microcosm of what is prevalent in most of society. As school students, some of our own friends and perhaps even ourselves encounter such acts in our daily lives. In fact, some female students at Van Nuys High School report that they frequently experience sexual harassment on campus. “Walking outside once school has ended is very unnerving, I’ll be cat-called—sometimes there are whistles, sexual comments, pickup lines...” said Katherine Henriquez, “It’s honestly so deprecating; it makes you feel like an object, and a part of you almost wants to accept it.” Some schools have tackled the problem head-

on, holding yearly sexual harassment assemblies as a way to prevent incidents and to protect victims through education. Despite their intention, these assemblies serve as the sole buffers to the LAUSD District policy against Sexual Harassment. The policy states that once an act of harassment has been reported to or witnessed by a school official they are required to intervene when it is “safe to do so”. Once the harassment has been made clear to the school they are required to take immediate action to investigate and determine what occurred. In such situations, school personnel are then required to ensure the harassment stops, eliminate the hostile environment if one was created, and prevent the conduct from occurring again.

But what is Van Nuys doing specifically to implement this policy? “Students are counseled, we often have a council group to deal with communication issues. Students who are the perpetrators of harassment are put on contract and behavioral watch so that the harassment ends,” said Ms. Fanny Arana “The victims are also given opportunity for counseling as well as a school restorative justice circle and put on a safety plan so that they know who to go to on campus if the harassment continues.” Staff officials, however, have a limited view into the window of student experiences, so it is not only their job to assist victims through the process of reporting harassment but also to encourage victims to come forward by becoming approachable. “I’m glad our school has proper codes of conduct for situations like this, but the victim has to come forward first, which sadly doesn’t always occur,” said Adrianna Zambre. “We should have seminars or meetings to tell victims of harassment how to report the misconduct and why it’s important that they do. They need to see and understand that what they experienced/are experiencing isn’t okay.” According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), forty-eight percent of middle school and high school students report experiencing some form of sexual harassment by their peers. It ranges from unwanted sexual jokes

to being coerced to perform a sexual act. “The public often downplays harassment and assault and puts forth the idea that that these kind of things rarely happen to anybody, but whether it’s catcalling or an assault, it happens to way more people that we often think it might affect,” said Madeline Miller.

In terms of district policy, the scope of Title IX states that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The clause was then broadened by a SC decision in 1972 to account for protection against sexual harassment on an individual student-tostudent basis. If unwanted sexual advances occur on a school’s premises in violation of Title IX, the law holds that faculty members must respond immediately and effectively. Schools are deemed responsible for investigating any complaint and adjusting their policies to ensure it doesn’t occur again. Although sexual harassment is often perceived as a zero-sum game with no effective resolution, there are still many measures to alleviate its foothold on society. Social media is playing a bigger role than ever in spreading awareness about sexual harassment through prevention sites and support groups. The hashtag #MeToo gives voice to the stories of millions of victims, allowing them

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sexual har

Opinion Women are People, Not Objects

KHRISTA SAYO Managing Editor

Mothers, sisters, friends, coworkers, and maybe even ourselves, are all potential victims of sexual harassment. From catcalls to inappropriate gestures and vulgar comments directed at someone’s appearance, unwanted sexual advancements are damaging to the victim’s psyche and mental well-being. At times, the signs of sexual harassment are not easily detectable. Victims may not even know that they have been violated.

There are a lot of convoluted ideas surrounding what constitutes sexual harassment. It simply means any unwanted sexual advancements and unsolicited violations without a person’s consent. Although it can happen to people of any gender or sexual orientation, most often it involves women being targeted by men. Women in the workplace are prone to receiving unwanted advances from male customers,

coworkers and even their bosses. A flurry of media reports have exposed powerful men in the entertainment industry violating hopeful women looking to progress in their careers. Feelings of helplessness ensue as victims receive no assistance nor see retribution against their attacker. Many sexual predators still hold their positions of power while the victim is silenced. Often times, sexual assault victims are too afraid to confess because offenders won’t receive

any repercussions for their actions or because public opinion can turn against them, slandering their names.

Schools are not immune to sexual harassment either. Students, typically male, make vulgar gestures and comments at female students. Most of these comments are insulting and demeaning, filled with unsolicited sexual innuendos. Sometimes it’s unrequested pictures depicting inappropriate body parts.

Mistreated girls are usually unaware that they have experienced a version of sexual harassment, leading to unreported cases. But any unwanted sexual approach that makes someone feel uncomfortable or violated are grounds for a student to make a report. Because many girls do not know how to react appropriately, they laugh it off, dismissing it as a joke. Most campus harassment comes in a subdued form, so it is important for all students, male

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Despite the bad press for a system rife with sexual misconduct, Hollywood may be able to set a trend by cleaning its own house. By Lucas Shim to speak out and receive emotional support. It also helps to destigmatize people speaking out about their experiences of abuse. “When you stand up against actions like that, it shows solidarity with victims and is a step towards justice which is far better than nothing,” said Miller. Although the fight for justice of victims and the advocation of environments free from sexual harassment continues, there is no doubt that through this crisis society can better itself and create a safer future for men and women. Sarah Kuchimpos is a staff writer and Stefanie Tyo is the Chief Copy Editor.


ollywood—the city of cinema, fame, power, and decades of sexual abuse. After an article about multiple sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the former co-chairman of the film studio, The Weinstein Company was published, more and more celebrities have been coming out about their own sexual incidents in the past. The accusations against Weinstein led to a fallout of more sexual allegations against other popular celebrities including Matt Lauer, Andy Dick, Charlie, Rose, James Toback, Ben Affleck, Chris Savino, Mark Halperin, Sylvester StalMATT LAUER lone, Louis C.K., George Takei, Ed Westwick, Bill O’Reilly, Woody Allen, Charlie Rose—the list goes on and on. Who’s next? And how exactly do all these sexual allegations affect Hollywood? Actor Kevin Spacey, the star of the criticallyacclaimed “House of Cards,” has been accused of sexually assaulting multiple men and sexual misconduct with a minor. As part of his apology, he came out as gay, a conspicuous deflection meant to gain support from the public—but it merely angered many in the LGBTQ community. The accusations against Spacey caused Netflix to fire him. Audiences of the show agree that Spacey gives a comeplling performance as his character, Frank CHARLIE ROSE Underwod. The actor’s actions and banishment from the show left many fans shocked and disappointed. Jeffrey Tambor, the star of Amazon’s highlyrated show, “Transparent,” has been accused of sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact by two women. While Tambor claims the accusations are false, he decided to leave the show, saying that it was “no longer the job I signed up for four years ago.”

The show’s writers are desperately trying to find a way to continue the show without Tambor— the main star. In a single month, two popular shows are in ruins. Will these accusations continue to affect Hollywood’s popular movies and TV shows that audiences love? When a show gets cancelled, fans are angered JEFFREY TAMBOR by the lack of closure, especially when they’ve been binge-watching every episode. And while audiences desperately beg and petition for the show’s return, film companies still have to deal with the financial issues that detrimentally affect budgets for future projects. But more importantly, as these allegations continue day-by-day, crewmembers lose their jobs—all caused by a single actor’s misconduct. You can truly say that the actions of one person, KEVIN SPACEY even from years earlier, does indeed affect the lives of others. So one may ask: Will more careers end at the hands of a single actor? While many focus on the negative aspects of these incidents, others believe that this housecleaning is beneficial for Hollywood. The fact that powerful players in the film industry are being taken down for their wrongdoings might just allow others with better sense, virtue and righteousness to take their place, cleansing the world of cinema. As more actors and actresses in Hollywood are exposed, the rest of the ANDY DICK world might get the message that our broken society needs to be fixed. ­ Lucas Shim is the Entertainment Editor.

rassment arassment

nd female alike, to be aware of hat sexual harassment is so ey don’t do it themselves.

espite being the one who is olated, women are often still amed for being attacked. omments like, “Maybe she as dressed inappropriately,” or er looks provoked him. How uld he help himself?” pin the iticism on the victim, discouring them from speaking out, encing them with the fear of otentially tarnishing their own putation while their abusers


walk free. It is astonishing that we live in a society where blatant disrespect and the objectification of women run rampant through our culture. The excuse “Boys will be boys,” is unjustifiable, it dismisses the actions that men have to be held accountable for, dismisses them from the consequence of their actions. The saying also diminishes the character of men, making the assumption that males have no self-restraint or rationality when

placed in the presence of the opposite gender. Underlying that statement is the implication that men have a right to women’s bodies, thinking of them as things to be obtained or accessed. Women do not exist for the purpose of pleasing anyone. It places men on a pedestal that puts them above any repercussions for violating someone’s right to personal privacy. Societal expectations and norms have perpetuated the patriarchal ideology that men


must assert their dominance over women, placing women in vulnerable, dangerous positions.

But strong women are coming forward to expose the treachery of their harassers, fully knowing the potential ramifications. The three women who spoke out against film executive Harvey Weinstein caused a chain reaction in the media. More women bravely share their traumatic stories. Reports from celebrities like Gabrielle Union, Lady Gaga,

Aly Raisman, and many other beloved stars have publicized their accounts and contributed to raising awareness about sexual harassment on a widespread platform. Actors Corey Feldman and Terry Crews have also recounted their own traumatic experiences, showing that even men are susceptible to being victimized. Their courage surely has shown how frequently sexual harassment occurs. If we have any respect towards other people, we have to

do better in order to stop this. If we see our friend or fellow student in an uncomfortable situation, we can help them by telling the other person to back off or lending any assistance we can. It’s time for men to help women and for women to help men. We are all human beings, all deserving of common respect as people. It’s time we showed it. Khrista Sayo is the Managing Editor

10 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror


“Yes.” As of recent, an explosive storm of controversy has taken Van Nuys High by surprise. Two ASB-sponsored debates have caused an intellectual divide within our student body. Pro-choicers and pro-lifers have been facing off both on campus and on social media. Social media: a pinnacle of modern technology within our society. A tool that’s made our lives more conventient and informed than ever before. With all the choices that have been opened up to the modern human thanks to the progress of technology, we’ve come across many ethical roadbumps. Abortion, namely, has given humankind the power to safely terminate a pregnancy. This has SEUNGYOUN caused major dissent and controversy KIM from those who view it as the taking Staff Writer of a life. A life unlike many we’ve seen, one we don’t know for sure is there. What about the lives we know are there, the lives of afflicted women across the world? Women’s rights have gradually strengthened over the past decades. To continue such progress, the government should not be the decision maker on one’s abortion This shouldn’t be a matter of the state, it should be the choice of the parents to end an unwanted pregnancy and to prevent the creation of an unwanted or potentially tragic life. Parents, especially teenage parents, should be given a second chance for their mistakes. Little mistakes that can ruin their lives. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, teen parents won’t reach the same levels of education that older parents would. Every year, 3 in 10 American girls will get pregnant before they reach 20; that is about 750,000 teen pregnancies every year. As a result, more than 50 percent of teen mothers never graduate high school. People should prioritize the parents rather than the unformed prospective life within them. For the dissenters that can concede that an undeveloped fetus isn’t a child, maybe they’ll point out the woman should be held responsible for her sexual ventures, and pregnancy was an understood consequence. Well what if abortion is the responsible option for a woman who knows she can’t raise the child? Besides, contraceptives don’t work 100 percent of the time, even when taking plenty of precautions, pregnancies happen. Instead of making abortion illegal, sexual education should be taught more. Some people aren’t given the opportunity to receive a sexual education, thus entrapping them in a cycle of poverty due to children they’ve bore unwillingly. For those who push for adoption as an alternative, it should be noted that the woman has to bear their unwanted child for nine months, with the utilization of her body and energy. Many people aren’t able to endure the costs of pregnancies. The cost of a cesarean section is about $15,800 and a vaginal birth about $9,600. The economic reprocussions don’t end there. Unwanted children inhibit a woman’s education and thus her prospective career, and many women are discriminated against due to their risk of work instability resultant from an unwanted pregnancy. Doris Garcia Hernandez, an ex-Chipotle worker, was awarded $550,000 after suing Chipotle for discriminating her because of the fact that she was pregnant. Although pregnancy discrimination has lessened over the years, it is still an ongoing case that may prevent the woman’s desire to bear children. If anything, abortion access would end pregnancy discriminaton, stimulate the economy and allow for more children to be raised healthily. The decision to abort a fetus should be left to the parents,not to an uninvested government. | December 8, 2017

“No.” On Jan 22, 1973 the gavel thudded against the pad, marking the beginning of decades of controversy. The Roe v. Wade decision made abortion rights legal under the guise of privacy rights under the 14th Amendment. Yet this issue remains heatedly debated today, each position inscribed into political agendas and parties. The dissent in the 1973 decision became represented by the pro-life side associated with conservative views, while the supporters were labeled pro-choice, emphasizing the importance of women’s rights to their bodies. Political dissent aside, let’s talk about the pro-life view. Whether it be opinions or facts, the essence of the pro-life view boils down to the defense of life. Can we attribute life’s value to the unborn? What stage of pregnancy does its value lie? If human life can be sourced to the “bundle of cells” scientifi- TYLER cally known as the zygote, there are serious JUNG Online moral conflicts that arise from the notion Editor-in-Chief of abortion. So let’s begin there, answering the vital question if life really begins at fertilization. Princeton University compiled a list of scientists opinions about the foundations of life. Scientists and professors such as Warren Henn and Ronald Dworkin concedes this process is a death of life. Throughout history, unjust killing has been defined as just that, the extermination of the right to life. According to English philosopher John Locke, this right should be afforded to all beings for a just society. In a time when mass shootings spark grief and demands for gun control, our society clearly remains in the forefront of reform for the protection of human life. With this in mind, abortion is not the simple elimination of a clump of cells. It is directly taking life, which is the cornerstone for all other rights. In essence, denying someone the right to life is to deny them the right to liberty and happiness. It is in clear moral wrong. When a woman ends an unwanted pregnancy, statistics show that a little more than half make the choice because they felt like it was their only choice. Within a culture that contains shaming families and uncommitted men, women are often forced to make the choice to abort their child under the threat of losing their partner who isn’t ready to father a child. Sometimes the concern is the babies’ future without her mother. Isn’t our child care facilities terrible? However, as much as we demean the foster care and adoption system, how much do we really know about them? Studies show that most people know little or nothing. Our education system simply does not teach it and those options. According to Adoption Network, more than one-third of the U.S. population has considered adopting. That’s 107 million children that could have had families. Studies show that potential parents who reconsider adopting are intimidated by the process. Fewer than 0.5 percent of abortions are caused by rape and incest. Nevertheless, the pro-life view does not disregard women in such cases. The trauma and emotional burden is undeniable. Yet in such cases, it’s important to remember there is a third party: a life in the womb. The woman’s trauma must definitely be dealt with, meanwhile making way for the new life. These two actions are not mutually exclusive. Both can be achieved. But the criminal is not the child, it is the rapist. Whether or not the child is an emotional burden, science and philosophy clearly show that it is a life. Being pro-life is not misogynistic; it is just a stance against the unjust killing of unborn babies. A pro-life philosophy is not that anyone has the right to decide who we should kill and save. At the same time it does not disregard women, it does not disregard the rape cases, it does not disregard a woman’s circumstances. An aside: Some might think, “why is a guy writing an article about abortion?” My response is this: abortion is not a gender issue; it is a humanitarian issue. As a human, I say no gender, no race, no ethnicity—no person—has the right to unjustly kill a human life.

ABORTION Should Women Have the Right?

December 8, 2017 |

TheMirror Executive Editor Woo Han Editor-in-Chief Amanda Godfrey Online Editor-in-Chief Tyler Jung Layout Editor Shimla Rahman Online Layout Editor Chandler Beon Managing Editor Khrista Sayo News Editor Tommy Chan Features Editor Elissa Choi Opinion Editor Margarita Hovsepyan Entertainment Editor Lucas Shim Sports Editor Devin Tse Photo Editor Theresa Nguyen Chief Copy Editor Stefanie Tyo Chief Financial Officer Yerin Oh Business Manager Gina Kim Social Media Editor Aaron Mejia Staff Writers/Photographers Jackson Beckman-Smith Marc Cortes Jessica Eusebio Milly Garcia Kaitlyn Jung Sara Kuchimpos Gwendolyn Langi Holden Mandell Christian Naves Allen Park Aliza Patel Michael Phung Ariana Rodriguez Christian Walsh Tyree Winborn Lauren Woolsey Raymond Yang Journalism Adviser Mr. Ron Goins The Mirror is the student newspaper of Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California. It is published six times per year. Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board. Letters to the Editor may be delivered to Room 112 or mailed to 6535 Cedros Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91411. Letters must be signed and may be edited for space and to conform to The Mirror style and format. Advertising questions may be directed to Yerin Oh at yoh001@, or by telephoning (818) 788-6800. Publication of an advertisement does not imply endorsement of the product or service by the newspaper or the school. The opinions expressed in bylined commentary articles and columns represent the views of the individual writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mirror or the Editorial Board.


The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 11

A Silent Epidemic His writhing body, her tear-stained cheeks and a place of darkness. Opioids have left over 16,000 people dead in 2016, and the numbers only continue to rise. Thousands are dying from inescapable addictions, and the average age of when an opioid user ELISSA becomes addicted has dropped to 23. CHOI The country is facing a crisis. Feature Editor For the friends and family who are impacted, there seems to be no light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of addiction and overdose. Every day is another battle to prevent loved ones from falling into a scary trap of addiction. In light of the crisis, President Trump declared a 90-day public health emergency. An epidemic as deadly as the opioid crisis needs stronger action. If the president truly cared for the well-being of thousands of his mentally unstable, unhealthy and addicted citizens, he would declare a broader national emergency but has only gotten around to declaring a temporary one after campaigning extensively against heroin and dangerous drugs such as fentanyl. A sensible action the president could take is to find funding for addiction therapy in his new healthcare plan. He should expand, rather than take away, insurance coverage for Americans struggling with addiction. Many citizens are begging their Congressional representative to champion legislation that includes insurance for opiate addicts. State governors are also crying out for help. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin declared that his state is in the midst of a heroin crisis. In nearby Rhode Island, emergency calls for overdose are common. State health officials distributed Narcan and naloxone—antidotes that reverse the effects of an overdose—to all police officers. The opioid crisis is killing more Americans than AIDS, and according to Open Society Foundations, only one in ten Americans are receiving proper treatment for their addictions. Trump nominated Alex Azar for Secretary of Health and Human Services in November—filling a longstanding vacancy— while there remains an open position for the director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Trump can continue to offer condolences and meaningless declarations, but if he truly cares for the country’s well-being, he must appoint the right people for critical agencies in need of strong leadership. But as Trump sits in his office firing off angry tweets, hundreds of people die everyday because of his inaction.

What are Opioids?

Opiods are substances that act upon opioid receptors within the human brain, causing “morphine-like” effects. Aside from pain relief, opioids, when misused, can induce a euphoric state. Opioids can also be highly addictive and dangerous for one’s health. Oxycodone, a common opioid, has become widespread amongst prescription drug abusers. Certain codeine containing drugs have also been exploited as of recent. These two being opioid cousins of older more frequented opioids such as heroin.

Short term effects:

Codeine: Nausea, vomiting, constipation, shortness of breath, dizziness. Heroin: Shortness of breath, dry mouth, sudden changes in behavior or actions, disorientation, rash. Oxycodone: Drowsiness, headache, dizziness, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting.

Marijuana’s Big Win This Year The legality of marijuana has remained a hot topic for decades, with equal fervor on both sides. HOLDEN 2017, howMANDELL ever, has seen the Staff Writer decriminalization of marijuana championed across the nation. West Virginia allows seriously ill patients to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. New Hampshire became the last state in New England to decriminalize simple possession of marijuana. Vermont has legalized the cultivation and possession of marijuana by adults. Across the nation, penalties for marijuana users have eased. Medical marijuana programs are adding more

disorders that qualify for receiving the drug. Twenty-three states and Washington D.C. have either legalized and regulated marijuana in some way, or have taken up the issue. In Athens, Ohio an ordinance will soon decriminalize low-level cannabis possession, cultivation and gifting. Two new governors in New Jersey and Virginia are pro-legalization, reflecting the voters’ desire for decriminalization. Two bills passed in Detroit will essentially allow more room for marijuana dispensaries. This whole year has seen marijuana dominate and win in state legislatures across the nation, and this is great. People are sick of the same old FDA-approved prescription pharmaceuticals that cause horrible side effects, increasingly realizing the effective healing powers of cannabis.

The big, powerful pharmaceutical industry will lose significant profits when people start growing their own medicine, which they’ve tried to prevent by buying-off legislators, but sooner or later, they will lose. People don’t trust pharmaceutical companies. If used responsibly, marijuana does not harm anyone. Seeing prisons fill up with non-violent drug users is a waste. Besides, the government should not interfere with anyone’s personal business. People should simply have the freedom to make their own choices. History has taught that prohibition will fail, a lesson that should have been learned during the 1920s when alcohol was illegal. It does not work. The move towards the decriminalization of marijuana is truly for the greater good.

This whole year has seen marijuana dominate and win in state legislatures across the nation.

12 | Van Nuys High School | THE MIRROR | December 8, 2017


Year In Review


The final touchdown. The final shot. The final swing. A review of the sports and teams that rallied the Van Nuys High School community in 2017. SHIMLA RAHMAN | THE MIRROR

A Small Splash 2017 Record: 3-7

The Boys Water Polo Team pulled of a key victory in the middle season after bouncing back from a shaky start. Van Nuys was victorious in a three overtime thriller over Verdugo Hills, but was defeated by the number one ranked Palisades in the first round of the playoffs. “There are improvements to be on the offensive end, but with extra work they will have it clicking.” —Varsity Captain Tyler Jung


A Battle to the End

2017 Record: 16-15 The Girls Volleyball team finished with a 9-3 league record after crushing their competition with consistent victories. They faced off against Chatsworth in the second round of the playoffs. Despite overcoming early deficits in each set, Van Nuys was ultimately swept. “We have extreme talent across our roster. Although many seniors are leaving, myself included I am hopeful for the future of the Girls Volleyball Program.” —Varsity Captain Alex Dalumpines



The team has only one goal in mind right now, to become league champions and have a deep run in the playoffs. —Roselyn Poommai (Girls Basketball)

Another tough season for the Football Team 2017 Record: 2-9

The Wolves began the season with a six game losing streak. Although they had a slow start, Van Nuys would have a late winning streak towards the end of the season. They were eventually eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. “We may fall short this year, but with attention to detail and hard work we will bounce back.”—Varsity Captain Jessie Padilla




I expect us to play team basketball and improve as an unit. I believe this team has the ability to capture another championship and propel Van Nuys to greater glory. —Ethan Quiambao (Boys Basketball)


December 8, 2017 |

Sport Highlights: The Best of


The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 13


1. NBA Finals (Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers) After blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors had their chance of redemption against the Cavaliers. With the acquisition of superstar Kevin Durant, the Warriors defeated Lebron James and the Cavaliers in five games. Golden State clinched their second NBA title in three years.

3. World Series (Los An geles Dodgers vs Houston Astros) The Dodgers finally reached the World Series after a long 29 year drought. In their path was the Astros who were in search of their first World Series title. After a home run filled with highly scored series and a tie of 3 games each, it finally climaxed with a pivotal Game 7. The Astros ultimately triumphed and captured their first World Series title in franchise history.

5. March Madness (North Carolina Tar Heels vs Gonzaga Bulldogs) With 66 teams eliminated from contention, only two were left standing on the national stage. For the Tar Heels, they were looking for title number six and the Bulldogs appeared in their first title match. North Carolina eventually prevailed over Gonzaga with a 71-65 win. North Carolina would now have the third most national championships in NCAA history with six.

7. The Resurgence of Roger Federer Federer, whom many consider as “one of the greatest tennis players of all time” with a record of 17 grand slam single titles, had already established his legacy as one of the all-time greats. In the 2017 Australian Open, he would face his arch rival Rafael Nadal and claim his 18th grand slam title. Federer was not done as he shocked the tennis world again at Wimbledon and increased his grand slam title tally to 19.

2. Super Bowl LI (New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons) The Patriots were seeking their fifth Super Bowl title while the Falcons were in search of their first. The best offensive and defensive teams clashed and the Falcons ran with a 28-3 lead. Tom Brady and the Patriots rallied back from a 25 point deficit and defeated the Falcons in overtime. The greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, the game also made Brady the first QB to earn five rings.

4. College Football Playoff National Championship (Clemson Tigers vs Alabama Crimson Tide) The Tigers trailed behind as the Crimson Tide lead with a 14-0 in the beginning of the game. Led by Captain Deshaun Watson, the Tigers responded by scoring touchdown after touchdown. Both teams eventually headed into the fourth quarter in a standstill. Watson threw a last-second 2-yard touchdown pass to seal Clemson’s national championship crown.

6. Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh Penguins vs Nashville Predators) The defending Stanley Cup champions faced off against the up and coming Predators. For Nashville, it marked their first Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history and were up to the task as they overcame a 2-0 series deficit. The Penguins, lead by Captain Sidney Crosby, regained their grasp on the match and won with a score of 4-2.

8. UEFA Champions League (Real Madrid vs Juventus) The defending UEFA Champion League faced off against the Italian powerhouse in Juventus. In the second half, a long range strike from Carlos Casemiro lifted Madrid to a 2-1 lead. Towards the end of the match, a late goal by Ronaldo and Marco Asensio sealed Madrid a 4-1 victory. It would become the first team to defend the UEFA title.


9. Floyd Mayweather vs Conor Mcgregor After months of speculation among the two parties, Mayweather and Mcgregor finally agreed to fight one another. It was fight night at the T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 26. Mcgregor came off strong the first four rounds. In the 10th round Mayweather landed a huge blow to Mcgregor’s head and earned his 27th KO in his career. Mayweather increased his record to 50-0 and announced his retirement shortly after.

10. Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Boxing fans longly awaited for the mega fight between Alvarez and Golovkin. On September 16, fans around the world witnessed both fighters traded heavy blows. After a full 12 rounds of boxing the match went to a decision. The judges ruled a split which sparked a worldwide controversy as Golovkin out-punched Alvarez in 10 of the 12 rounds.

Adjusting to Division 1 2017 Record: 0-6

After a breakout season last year, the Van Nuys Girls Golf Team was promoted to Division 1. With a mixture of seniors and underclassmen, the team struggled in their putting throughout the season. They would eventually place 3rd in League Finals. “I am optimistic of the future for my girls. Putting was an apparent issue for us this year but with extra attention to detail they will succeed soon.” —Varsity Captain May Nuchit


Falling just short from an upset 2017 Record: 9-4

The Girls Varsity Tennis Team dominated their regular season play as they torched their league opponents. They faced number one ranked Carson High School in the semifinals of the playoffs, but fell short as they lost the last and pivotal match with a 4-3 score. “I am proud of our team reaching the semifinals, the hard work has paid off for us.” —Varsity Captain Nithya Ravichandran

14 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror

Arts&Entertainment | December 8, 2017

Justice: Not For All By LUCAS SHIM The Mirror Staff


ustice has been served—but not for all. Warner Bros. Pictures debuted the fifth installment of the DC films, “Justice League,” worldwide in theaters last month. Based on DC Comic’s Justice League of America, the highly-anticipated film adaptation of the iconic superhero team is directed by Zack Snyder, who previously directed “Man Of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Ben Affleck stars as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman, Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/Flash, and Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg. Taking place after “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” where Superman sacrificed his life to save the city of Metropolis, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of superhuman beings, including Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg to fight


off an ancient threat called Steppenwolf, who has returned to take control of the world. “Justice League” manages to impress audiences with the heroes’ unique chemistries and teamwork as well as the incredible cast performances that brought the characters to life. The film has a more colorful and brighter cinematography that was distinctive from the previous films, “Man Of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” This is most likely because of the backlash that both movies received because they were considered too “dark” and “moody” by a majority of audiences. Afterall, as actor Miller stated in an interview, “Zack always intended for the Justice League to rise out of the darkness, and maybe even bring Batman with them. Maybe an inch.” Adding on to the improved cinematography, the movie’s score is phenomenal for the sequences. Composer Danny Elfman, who previously wrote songs for Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” manages to construct songs that display heroic themes from the 1989 “Batman” and 1978 “Superman.”

As the Justice League defends the world from a grave threat on the big screen, a sinister entity interferes with the DC Universe’s timeline in the comic books. Doomsday Clock, a 12-issue deluxe series and one of DC Comics’ biggest comic book storylines, serves to unite the DC Comics Universe with the world of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ criticallyacclaimed graphic novel, Watchmen. Regarded as one of the most influential comic books of all time, Watchmen takes a darker approach in the superhero genre, mixing complex psychological themes and philosophical issues. Taking place in a dystopian United States during the Cold War, the comic follows a decommissioned group of heroes who are called back to action to investigate a conspiracy of the murder of many former heroes, all in the midst of an imminent war. Doomsday Clock is written by comic

WONDER WOMAN, However, many fans who while the green screen displays a THE FLASH, AND enjoyed the darker tones of the very bright setting, the shadows BATMAN PREPARE previous films demanded the and lighting on the actor’s faces FOR BATTLE IN THE return of Hans Zimmer and make the backgrounds fake or JUSTICE LEAGUE Junkie XL, who composed for unrealistic. MOVIE. “Man of Steel” and “Dawn of This is also evident in SteppenJustice.” Those same fans may wolf’s impractical design. Some think that Elfman’s score is unoriginal beaudiences have even commented that cause it borrows many elements from the the character looks like he is from a PS2 score of “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” videogame. The villain’s poor CGI does not Although many continue to note the make him as menacing as he should be. changes that may have benefitted the Although there are many issues with the movie’s debut, there are still many things CGI effects, fans can agree that Cyborg’s dethat “Justice League” gets wrong. sign is much more improved than his previOne of the major complaints about the ous versions in the trailers. Flash’s lightning film revolves around the antagonist, Stepeffects and Aquaman’s underwater encounpenwolf. He may look slightly menacing ters are indeed a noteworthy contribution to with his deadly axe, but the villain’s motive the movie’s action-packed sequences. is bland and clichéd considering how he Another issue revolves around the poor wants to take over the world like every editing. In order for the movie to have a villain has attempted to do once before. strong plot, some scenes could have defiHowever, the voice acting by Ciarán Hinds nitely been switched with others. from “Game of Thrones” is indeed superb, One major complaint from both lovers and it does not fail to make Steppenwolf at and haters has been the film’s extremely least a tad bit intimidating. short runtime—two hours and one minute. Another negative aspect of the film is Even though JL is a major improvement the special effects, specifically the CGI over Snyder’s previous DC films, its weakused for the backgrounds. In some scenes, nesses do not do the film any “justice.”

The Clock is Ticking...

legend Geoff Johns, the current Chief Creative Officer and President of DC Comics, whose excellent work on comics like Green Lantern, Aquaman, Flash and Superman makes him one of the best comic book writers of the current generation. The series is part of DC’s latest initiative, DC Rebirth, a reboot that aims to bring back the classic elements of DC Comics, including old romances and other iconic characters that have fallen out of the limelight, like the original Kid Flash, Wally West, or the Justice Society of America.

In last year’s DC Universe: Rebirth Special #1, it was teased that these missing elements were due to 10 years being stolen from the timeline, weakening the heroes of the DC Universe. This current universe, called the New 52, gave characters new origins and made them younger and more inexperienced than they were in the past. The culprit, who will serve as a major antagonist, was none other than Doctor Manhattan, one of the only superhumans in Watchmen. Doctor Manhattan is gifted with super-genius intelligence,


size-altering abilities, telekinesis, teleportation, immortality, and— now— temporal manipulation. In issue #1, we are taken to a world after the events of Watchmen—a dystopian society on the brink of war, with the Soviets invading Poland, North Korean missiles capable of reaching Texas, and hundreds of Americans breaking through the wall to escape into Mexico. “We shattered the American Dream. This is the American Nightmare,” said Rorschach, a returning favorite from Watchmen. This issue brings back characters from Watchmen as they search for Doctor Manhattan, the “god who turned his back.” Near the last few pages, fans catch a glimpse of the Man of Steel, hinting an imminent fight with Dr. Manhattan. Doomsday Clock Issue #1 was released on November 22, and upcoming issues will be released every month.

December 8, 2017 |



Xmas Rewind

Popular movies to watch to make the holidays merrier. Home Alone Wishing that his family would disappear, mischievous 8-yearold Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is mistakenly left behind from a family trip to Paris. Believing that his wish came true, Kevin is up to no good, engaging in his usual shenanigans. Things go south when two robbers, (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) plan to strike the McCallister household. Little do they know that Kevin has a few tricks up his sleeve. This family favorite holiday classic is guaranteed to put a smile on your face with its slapstick comedy.

Elf Orphaned as a baby, Buddy (Will Ferrell) stows away in Santa’s sack to the North Pole. Raised by Santa’s elves, he grows up as an adult who feels out of place due to his lack of elfish qualities. Buddy decides to travel back to his birthplace, New York City, to search for his biological father (James Caan) in his full Christmas attire. This movie is an adorable classic, making you fall in love with Buddy’s innocent and hilarious persona.

The Polar Express Doubting the existence of Santa Claus, Hero Boy (voice of Daryl Sabara) seeks the truth about Santa and the North Pole. Unexpectedly, a magic train departing to the North Pole appears in front of his house. The boy climbs aboard, encountering a group of hopeful children on their way to see Santa. During his remarkable journey, Hero Boy’s faith in the Christmas spirit is restored. This heartwarming Christmas film gives off a nostalgic vibe of childhood memories and innocence.

The Mirror | Van Nuys High School | 15

Judge. Jury. Executioner. By JESSICA EUSEBIO The Mirror Staff


e may or may not be a superhero. Marvel Television and Netflix recently released “The Punisher” and it has been one of Marvel’s most dark and brutal television series to date. Adapted from Marvel Comics, the series was created by Steve Lightfoot, known for his work on “No Angels” and “Hannibal.” “The Punisher” stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/The Punisher, Amber Rose Revah as Agent Dinah Madani, Ebon Moss-Bachrach as David Lieberman/Micro, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, and Paul Schulze as Rawlins. The series takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the franchise that includes previous films and shows, such as “The Avengers” and “Daredevil.” Making his first appearance in the second season of “Daredevil” in 2016, Jon Bernthal returns as Marine veteran Frank Castle, who is driven to seek revenge on those responsible for the death of his wife and children as the gun-wielding vigilante, The Punisher. When he discovers a military conspiracy connected to the death of his family, Castle partners up with former NSA analyst, Micro,

to uncover the truth. Throughout the season, the protagonist is seen mourning over the loss of his wife and children, causing him to unleash his brutal persona. The show remarkably addresses the emotional trauma resulting from the loss of a loved one and the varying methods of coping displayed by each of the characters. In addition to his recurring nightmares, Castle, including many other veterans in the show, is seen struggling with PTSD. These characters are clearly affected by their time in warfare which unveils the struggles that they face when returning home and conforming to civilian life. The show exhibits the realism of how the country deals with this issue. The political issues “The Punisher” explores includes military service and gun violence. These issues are heavily integrated in current events from the many mass shootings and gun control debates that have been arising. Unlike the previous film adaptations of the comic book character, Netflix successfully fulfills fans’ desperate need of an accurate representation of Frank Castle. Actor Jon Bernthal delivers a powerful performance portraying as the iconically fierce vigilante. He managed to capture the complex-

ity associated with Castle’s character, which former actors Dolph Lundgren (1989), Thomas Jane (2004), and Ray Stevenson (2008) failed to achieve. The cinematography captures the graphic and brutal scenes in excellent detail. The action sequences are overwhelmingly violent and gory, but extremely brief compared to those in the preceding Marvel Netflix shows. For some audiences, the highlight of the show is the chemistry between the fan-favorite duo, The Punisher and Micro. Their partnership develops into a brotherly bond based on trust, offering a refreshing respite from the dark and serious tone. However, not all shows are perfect, and “The Punisher” is no exception. Audiences may feel that the season is seemingly endless—longer than its 13-hour duration. The plot, more dull than complicated, feels dragged throughout the 13 episodes. Viewers are constantly reminded of Castle’s backstory within the extensively boring dialogue between characters. “The Punisher” won fans over with an accurate portrayal of the white skull vigilante with perfect casting, artistic cinematography, and outstanding character development and interactions. The series is also praised for addressing current political and social issues. However, the season is still slowpaced with a weak plot.

It’s a Wonderful Life Questioning his existence in the world, George Bailey (James Stewart) is sent a guardian angel named Clarence (Henry Travers) who is assigned to prevent him from committing suicide. Being shown an alternate timeline where he was never born, George learns how different life would be without him. This emotional Christmas film sends a message about appreciating life.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas The live-action adaptation of the adored children’s book by Dr. Seuss brings back the nostalgia of Christmas during elementary school. Despising the spirit of Christmas, the green and loathsome creature, the Grinch (Jim Carrey), plots to steal Christmas trees, festive food and presents from the citizens of Whoville. However, things don’t turn out as planned when young Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) attempts to befriend the Grinch.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol In this animated tale adapted from the classic novel written by Charles Dickens, greedy miser Ebenezer Scrooge (voice of Jim Carrey) is haunted by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future on Christmas Eve, who take Ebenezer on a journey exposing his bitter persona and revealing truths that he must face if he does not change his selfish ways.



16 | Van Nuys High School | The Mirror

Arts&Entertainment | December 8, 2017

Échappe a la cinéma A sneak peak at The Van Nuys High School Dance Production’s escape to the cinema that will be showcased on the first week of January 2018.







Marching to Success

The Van Nuys Marching Band brings home second place in the LAUSD Band and Drill Team Championships by performing “Agitation of Creation” on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Profile for The Mirror Van Nuys High School

The Mirror: Van Nuys High School 120817  

Sexual Harassment: It's everywhere. The award-winning, student-produced newsmagazine of Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California.

The Mirror: Van Nuys High School 120817  

Sexual Harassment: It's everywhere. The award-winning, student-produced newsmagazine of Van Nuys High School in Van Nuys, California.