School Stuff: Thoughts on a Variety of Subjects



Should Newport Harbor have a fence to increase campus security? That’s not the solution, says the Beacon’s Matthew Taur.

Assigned Reading

Our English classes often assign us books to read as a whole class, whether or not the students want to read and analyze them. A better solution would be to also incorporate a system where students read and analyze a certain number of books that they choose independently. They will be able to read things that interest them more and not just feel like they are being dragged along. No matter how popular a book might be, there is no way to find a book that everyone loves; people often find assigned books boring and do not get a lot out of them. 

When people are allowed to choose what they read, they are far more likely to want to read more in the future. Teachers should be assigning books, yes, but that should also be combined with a system that grants students the freedom of choice. The student is allowed to deduct their own thoughts from the material and not just try to find meaning from something the curriculum wanted to show. They will be motivated to read every word of the book and not just skip through for an assignment.

Block Schedule

Another topic that has been debated is the topic of our school schedule. I asked freshman Chase Lopez if he would prefer our current block classes or the schedule at Ensign Intermediate, where each period is 45 minutes long.

“I would rather have the current schedule where each period is 90 minutes,” Lopez said. “I just think the 45 minute periods every day was too much and too short.”

Zack Weissenberg, another freshman, agreed.

“I also think that we should keep the schedule,” he said. “It gives us enough time to do our work, and a short period may not give us enough time to learn the subject.”

Freshman Spencer Stokes also finds the current system much easier to manage.

“I really did not like the schedule that Ensign used to have, so I am glad we do not use it at Harbor,” he said.

On a personal note, I do believe Harbor’s current schedule is better for students and teachers than a schedule where we have every period every day; that would jam things together and not give teachers enough time to teach. Homework has been much more manageable compared to when I had only one day to do my work.

Campus Security 

The third and final piece is that there has been an issue bubbling up in the school. The school is being vandalized and tagged, and not acting on the problem will cause it to spread like a virus. There have been recent discussions about whether to add cameras to the school in order to catch the people who are vandalizing the school. The first thing worth noting is that this may be legally challenging, given that most students are under the age of 18. Another idea is to put a fence up around the school.

I do not think those are the right solutions, though. The most effective way to combat the problem is to have everyone on campus work proactively and together to fish out the perpetrators. If people know they are more likely to get caught, they would not risk getting arrested just to vandalize a school wall. Some people are even signaling that they are part of a group or a gang, and that is the largest problem here. It is a trend that will continue and potentially dangerous groups that entice people will spread, unless the school takes greater action to get the issue under control.