Current Event January 31, 2019
It has been six years since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Parents of some of the children killed that day have dedicated themselves to preventing such tragedies from happening again. The “See Something, Say Something” program, which is free to schools, trains students to anonymously report concerns about threatening behavior through a mobile app. Listen to this story to learn more about the program and how it may be impacting school safety.
Current Event January 25, 2019
Many people believe that there is a connection between playing violent video games and acting violently. Research indicates that aggression and violence are complicated and not caused by a single factor. Listen to this interview with a psychology professor and researcher who has studied the impact of media violence on development and then debate: Do violent video games encourage violence?
Current Event January 11, 2019
The Farm Bill recently passed by the U.S. Congress includes a provision outlawing rooster fighting throughout the nation and its territories. This provision of the law is having a big impact on the island of Puerto Rico, where the rooster fighting industry is important to the economy. Supporters of the law say that rooster fighting is cruel and should have been made illegal years ago. Some Puerto Ricans view the ban on the centuries old tradition as an attack on their culture. Listen to the story to hear both sides of the issue, and then debate: Should rooster fighting be legal in Puerto Rico?
Current Event November 30, 2018
There has been increasing interest recently in teaching students about consent and sexual assault prevention as part of sex education in public schools. A series of workshops for teens aims to build awareness and change social norms in order to reduce sexual violence. Listen to hear students’ reflections on the workshops and then debate: Should schools teach sexual violence prevention?
Current Event November 27, 2018
Renowned author Khaled Hosseini, who wrote The Kite Runner and other novels about Afghanistan, has written a new short illustrated book called Sea Prayer about the Syrian refugee crisis. The book takes the form of a letter from a father to a son, describing his memories of their homeland before war forced them to leave. Listen to the author read excerpts and explain why he wrote the book.
Current Event November 5, 2018
The gunman who recently attacked a Pittsburgh synagogue made reference to anti-Semitism, refugees, and conspiracy theories via social media. The man who allegedly sent mail bombs to prominent political and cultural figures had a social media history that indicated an anti-media bias and a presence at political rallies. There has been an increase in U.S. mass-casualty attacks in recent years by mentally unstable, violent individuals who link themselves with ideological or political causes. Listen to this interview with a counter-terrorism expert to learn more about the connection between hostile political rhetoric and violence.
Current Event October 22, 2018
Since the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in February 2018, there has been significant national interest in the issue of gun violence in schools. The federal government surveyed all U.S. schools in order to find how exactly how many school shootings had occurred within a year. Investigative journalists followed up on the survey results, finding that the actual number of shootings was much lower than reported by the government. Listen to hear about the investigation and its implications.
Current Event October 4, 2018
Additional hearings were added to the Senate confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh to address allegations made by a woman who testified that he assaulted her when they were in high school in 1982. A current high school senior wrote and published an opinion piece describing her experience of the hearings. Listen to hear an interview with the student author about her reflections on the testimony and its implications.
Current Event October 2, 2018
A teen theater company has developed a play about gun violence, and they have designed a set that also functions as a public art installation. The room-sized exhibit includes thousands of shoes representing people affected by gun violence this year, with a shoe added for each new victim through the run of the show. Listen to learn about what inspired the design of this play and art exhibit.
Current Event September 18, 2018
A 26-year old black man was shot and killed in his own Dallas apartment by a white off-duty police officer who told investigators that she mistakenly entered his apartment, thinking it was her own. The officer was arrested for manslaughter and released on bond. Listen to hear reflections on this tragedy from the victim’s mother and others affected by his death.
Current Event September 11, 2018
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled their home country of Myanmar since attacks by soldiers on their ethnic group. Now in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, their lives remain dangerous. Building shelters on the sandy land where the camps are located has proven problematic. Listen to hear about life in these camps and the ongoing challenges facing Rohingya refugees.
Current Event September 5, 2018
Republican Senator John McCain died at 81 of brain cancer on August 25th, 2018. In addition to representing Arizona for six terms in the U.S. Senate, his legacy includes serving in the U.S. Navy as a pilot during the Vietnam War, where his plane was shot down and he was captured and held as a POW or prisoner of war for five and a half years. Listen to hear how that experience influenced his views and his career.
Current Event August 17, 2018
The State of Nevada recently had to postpone a scheduled execution of a convicted criminal because it could no longer use one of the drugs it had planned to put in the lethal injection. This case highlights a variety of issues surrounding the substances used in lethal cocktails, including their legality, proper protocol, and potential alternatives. It also raises important questions about the death penalty in general. Listen to learn more about this case and then debate: Does the method of execution in the death penalty matter?
ELA High School
In February of 2018, 17 people were killed in a shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Though not the first mass shooting of its kind, this tragic event, some say, represents a turning point the country’s tolerance for gun violence in schools. Since Parkland, student-led protests have risen up nationwide demanding a change to gun laws in America. This NPR story, told from a student’s perspective, reflects on the impact of school shootings. In particular, it focuses on the impact shootings have on students’ lives and how they shatter the notion of school as a safe haven.
Current Event June 14, 2018
Illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America to the United States is currently a major political issue. Politicians and citizens have strong opinions on both sides. In order to help people better understand what it’s like to attempt crossing the border, a Mexican film director created a virtual reality exhibit that allows users to experience it for themselves. Based on the true stories of immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally, the director hopes this exhibit will foster more compassion and empathy. Listen to learn more about this project and its aims.
Current Event May 29, 2018
A gunman recently shot and killed 10 people at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas. This event was, unfortunately, one of many school shootings in 2018. One student, Kayte Alford, avoided injury herself, but is now grieving the loss and suffering of her classmates. During this interview just one day after the tragic incident, Alford describes how the shooting has affected her daily life and future plans. She’s afraid to leave the house, attend her high school graduation, and even go to college. Her mother and grandmother also describe their reactions to the disastrous event. Listen to hear Alford’s story.
Current Event May 18, 2018
In the wake of the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, discussions about how to keep students safe have resurfaced. One approach is to employ school resource officers (SROs), police who monitor school grounds and respond to any threats. About 30 percent of all schools utilize SROs, but studies reveal that having dedicated police officers on campus doesn’t improve safety. In addition, SROs can actually cause issues for students, making their suspension, expulsion, or even arrest more likely. This is particularly problematic for students of color. For these reasons, some students argue that the money spent on SROs should be directed to other programs. Listen to hear more about the SRO debate: Do Police in Schools Make it Safer?
Current Event February 27, 2018
Students who witnessed the deadly school shooting in Florida are channeling their rage and grief into activism for gun reform. The classmates of the 17 people who were killed by a gunman in a Parkland, Florida high school are demanding state lawmakers ban assault rifles. There are protests and school walkouts planned across the country, in an effort to encourage lawmakers to rethink their positions on guns. Listen to one of the the high school students who survived the shooting as she talks about why she has become a gun control activist.