Oct. 13, 2022
THE LEDE | by Alex Steil
Biden pardons marijuana offenses
The move will likely affect 6,500 individuals
President Biden pardoned all federal marijuana offenses on Oct. 6. The move comes just a month before the 2022 midterm elections. While officials are still unsure how many people will be released from prison, as the offense is just misdemeanor, there will be nearly 6,500 people who will have their records expunged as a result. Biden called on state governors to take action.
The move has sparked talks about broader legalization of the drug at the federal level, as well as brought up discussions of overcriminalization in policing. Black people are four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, according to the ACLU.
What you can do —
Understandably, marijuana convictions among teens are low. Yet that does not mean an encounter with law enforcement is non-existent.
According to a CDC study, 37 percent of high schoolers have used marijuana in their lifetimes. The number only goes to 22 percent for recent use. Covering how this changes perception of drugs among your student body could be useful, or just cataloging the broader usage of nicotine or nicotine products among students.
The federal government also has an annual tracker of adolescent drug use, with the most recent data from 2020. As of August 2022, only 19 states have fully legalized the drug, and a handful of states have marijuana legalization on the ballot this cycle.
Also, what was the response in your state to the announcement? Is your governor planning on signing a similar order? What about locally: Is your county or even your school district responding?
Nuclear rhetoric escalates
Biden says it’s the closest the world has been since the ’60s
Following strong rhetoric from Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Biden said bluntly the nuclear rhetoric puts the world the closest to “Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
The Russian military has escalated bombings of Ukranian civilian centers after the railway/roadway bridge from Russian into occupied Crimea was severed. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
What you can do —
There is a litany of ways to cover this crisis.
Are there defense contractors increasing production in your community or increased military readiness near you?
Are there students with ties to Ukraine, either with relatives still living there or who have emigrated from the country? What about military families or those who have parents who work with international non-governmental organizations?
Yet another angle — what are students who are in ROTC or similar youth programs considering after high school? Do they still want to go into the armed services or is the prospect of this war turning them away?
Advisers could teach about how to report on war and examine ethical dilemmas, such as what types of photos to take or stories to publish. Examine journalistic quandaries in covering whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning who released sensitive information.
Consider looking at how different eras of journalists covered war. Reporting styles changed significantly since the days of Ernie Pyle to correspondents in Ukraine today. That extends to photos as well. What photos should be taken and what types should not? And how might photos be manipulated?
Quill and Scroll chapters, in their more official capacity, could also find local outreach efforts to help citizens in Ukraine. Consider assisting fundraisers in their cities or organizing one yourself.
LA City Council in disarray
Two council members and a labor leader were caught on tape making racist remarks
Residents of Los Angeles expressed discontent after three of their city council members made racist comments about another council member’s biracial child. The President of the Council stepped down from all of her leadership positions Monday and resigned from the Council Wednesday.
Calls for resignations have emanated from local offices to California Senator Alex Padilla. Two of the other council members have not announced their responses.
What you can do —
Issues of representation have grown in prominence. The Latino population of LA 50 percent, yet only make up one-third of the City Council.
Reporting on such disparities in your local area, either in your city council or perhaps school board could help report on an issue seldom talked about in local races. Who’s represented and who’s running? With an election just around the corner, this story is not only timely it also helps to engage in discussions that have become commonplace in recent years.
Ye and anti-semitism
Kanye West, who know goes by Ye, is in the headlines again he posted anti-semetic comments on the platforms that prompted Twitter to lock his account and Instagram to remove the message.
Using a reference to U.S. defense readiness systems, Ye said he would go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” according to screenshots of the tweets.
The controversy followed his appearance at Paris Fashion Week in a White Lives Matter T-shirt.
What you can do —
Localizing these issues might be difficult. Has your school been affected by book bans or other controversies that make national headlines? Has your local area seen an increased rise of anti-Semitism or other variations on hateful rhetoric?
Your school may have students examining their social media to find evidence of racism, even if racial dynamics are not widely discussed.
IT’S AN HONOR
It’s always membership season
Don’t forget you can nominate members year round
Do you have a senior who just met the GPA requirement or a student who now wants to join Quill and Scroll? Want to avoid the spring rush? Nominate students for membership order pins, cords and other Quill and Scroll materials and memorabilia.
Just a thought
Congratulations to our new Quill and Scroll Advisory Board.
This group’s passion for journalism and service shows through their applications and participation so far. We will start our monthly meetings next week, and I can’t wait.
These 11 members — eight new and three returning — will work on practical student-choice journalism projects to help members with their service projects and to highlight great journalism. We will make these active on our site as they are available.
Dania Azher, Arcadia HS, Arcadia California (returning)
Bridget Frawley, Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida
Kate Henry, Haas Hall Academy, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Disha Kumar, Northview HS, Johns Creek, Georgia
Eshaan Mani, The Kinkaid School, Houston, Texas
Jillian Moore, Carmel High School, Carmel, Indiana
Alyssa Requeio, Communications Arts High School, San Antonio, Texas
Arya Sharma, Westlake High School, Austin, Texas
Owen Spiegel, Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Missouri
Riley Thompson, Harrisonburg HS, Harrisonburg, Virginia (returning)
Kasey Thompson, Harrisonburg HS, Harrisonburg, Virginia (returning)
We will keep you updated on the projects and when they go live through The Weekly Scroll.
Have a great weekend!
— Lori Keekley