Category Archives: Editorials

Editorial on School Shootings: Are We Next?

In response to the 25 fatal elementary/high school shootings since the Columbine shooting on April 20, 1999, there was a national walk-out on April 20 in over 2000 schools around the U.S. (and some in the U.K.). Students participating in the walkout are pushing for stricter and firmer gun laws from Congress, in the hope that these laws will put an end to gun violence in general, not just in schools. Our own GFS middle school community participated by marching around Germantown with signs and writing letters to the local government.

While we haven’t experienced any mass school shootings in Philadelphia, should we be asking the question, “Are we next?”

At a recent GFS Open House, a parent asked “I see the school campus is very open. What kind of precautions and safety measures do you take because of this?” It is something that parents and students are thinking a lot about. At GFS we have had recent upgrades in the interest of safety, like the campus-wide PA system, the emergency call systems (the boxes with blue lights on top of them), and the app Ruvna they use for accounting for students during a fire/safety and drill. Improvements that are for the sole purpose of keeping the students and faculty safe. But how safe is it?

We the editorial board do not feel that GFS would be prepared in the event of a school shooting. The school is vulnerable in many ways: the campus is spread out, there are many windows, and most of the classrooms don’t have a place to hide that would be large enough for a whole class. What happens if there’s a lockdown and you are outside? And, adults don’t always know where students are during free periods.

There are already schools that are arming teachers and faculty with weapons to prevent a shooting, in the hopes of reducing the carnage. The Sidney school district in rural Ohio keeps semi-automatic handguns in biometric safes throughout the school, that only specific staff members can open using their fingerprints. A precaution that hopefully will not be needed, but that school officials hope will deter anyone from considering an attack.

Understandably, not everyone is on board with this. Congressman of California’s 41st District, Mark Takano voiced his opinion on Twitter: “As a teacher for 24 years, I can tell you that our schools need more textbooks, educators, and art programs. They do not need more guns.”

At GFS, what actions need to be taken in the interest of safety? Some students think it’s necessary to start arming teachers and/or our security guards, with appropriate training provided. However, not all students agree that this is a good idea. Arming adults in our community goes against the testimony of peace as a Quaker school, and furthermore, creates a negative atmosphere for our community. It would be expensive, and wouldn’t guarantee that we would prevent violence from occurring on our campus.

What we can agree on is that students should be given more information. For example, the middle school could hold an assembly, and go through step-by-step what students should do in the event of a shooting. Students should also be given more information and support on how to seek help if they need it; our school should focus on creating a safe place so problems don’t start. Unlike many other schools, we don’t currently have violence on our campus. We should focus on maintaining the peaceful community we have, rather than trying to prevent violence with more violence.

Editorial: Are Adults Censoring the Wrong Things?

Have you gotten “the stork” as an answer when asking your parents the question, “Where do babies come from?” Ever since you were born, your parents have felt the need to censor as much of your life as possible. Don’t bother denying that your parents have tried to keep something away from you out of fear of you becoming a delinquent. While parents will stop at nothing to censor sex and profanity, let’s ask the question: are parents censoring the right things? Continue reading Editorial: Are Adults Censoring the Wrong Things?

Editorial: Does Middle School Matter in Life?

Being a student in middle school, it can be difficult to grasp the fact that high school seems right around the corner. Many middle schoolers ask, “does what we do in middle school affect our high school and college experience?”—and in the bigger picture, our life?

Continue reading Editorial: Does Middle School Matter in Life?

8 Changes We’d Like to See in the New Middle School Schedule

With the arrival of May, an article such as this more than likely has the appearance of five whiny eighth graders complaining about all the issues of middle school. Though we may be eighth graders—and whiny—there is more to it than that. It is our love for this school that makes us question it, point out its issues, and criticize. As the school creates a new schedule, we find an opportunity to make suggestions that we hope will be implemented. Continue reading 8 Changes We’d Like to See in the New Middle School Schedule

Editorial: The Four Way Race


Over a year has passed since the election cycle has started, and it has been a very long year. When Trump first started running he was thought of as a joke. Many rumors and scandals kept on coming out, each time getting crazier and crazier, but somehow more believable.

Continue reading Editorial: The Four Way Race

Corner Editors Look Back On Middle School

Middle school is a long three years of life, and the innate awkwardness of it can make the experience hellish for some people. Others say that it is not so bad, or even fun (I question your sanity, but ok.) Because no issue can be debated without the input of your favorite editorial board, our editors reflect on how we feel about middle school as we are leaving it. Continue reading Corner Editors Look Back On Middle School

Editorial: Laptops in the Age of Netflix

We have all been in a very boring class, wishing that we were watching Netflix at home. But most outsiders not in middle school do not understand that the passion for watching Netflix gets in the way of every part of a teen’s life. Many students have laptops and are encouraged to use them during classes in order to take notes or do research, but do teachers and the administration really understand the loophole that laptops and tablets create in the school’s strict “no phone” policy? Continue reading Editorial: Laptops in the Age of Netflix

Editorial: Is GFS Inclusive Enough In Terms of Sports?

Sports can be a controversial topic all over the world, and even at GFS, there are differing opinions about the positives and negatives of school sports and the middle school’s athletics requirements. In seventh and eighth grades, two seasons of sports are required, a reduction from three seasons required in past years. Although it is possible to get an exemption, the topics surrounding required sports and athletics in general typically spark some controversy.

Continue reading Editorial: Is GFS Inclusive Enough In Terms of Sports?

Editorial: School Security

After school shootings all over the U.S. such as Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech, many schools and colleges are tightening up their security. But there has been very little to no coverage on how Quaker schools such as GFS and other schools with similar values have been balancing their Quaker values of community with the need to protect students from physical harm from weapons such as guns or knives. How can administrators be proactive about school security without going over the top? Continue reading Editorial: School Security

Editorial: Is Today’s Generation Overscheduled and Overstressed?

overscheduled_from_albanyedu (1)Most students at GFS will admit to being a victim of overscheduling. This phenomenon is making its way into lots of middle schoolers’ lives and is resulting in sleep deprivation and stress, which are two things that shouldn’t be a major part of middle school students’ life. Our schedules are seeming to take over our brains, on some days making us completely dysfunctional without three cups of coffee. Why is rushing from place to place, having hours of homework, playing two sports, three instruments and still keeping up with your Instagram account now the norm?

Continue reading Editorial: Is Today’s Generation Overscheduled and Overstressed?

The Awkward Years: a middle school retrospective

Middle school is over for me and the other sixty-six humans with whom I have now spent much too much time over the past three years. So first, a congratulation: we actually made it! We managed to live through the first of the awkward years, the painful and humiliating years. The years that at family gatherings our relatives cringe to hear we are currently encountering. The stressful, socially inept and hormonally imbalanced years have descended upon us, and we have made it through eighth grade. Continue reading The Awkward Years: a middle school retrospective