Letter to the Editor: Improvements for Run, Hide, Defend

Hello Ms. Nurnberg, Mr. Giglio, Ms, Amezquita, and Mr. Schmidt,

First of all, I would like to thank you for quickly notifying us about the code red. I really thank the staff and teachers from the bottom of my heart for taking care of us and ensuring that we are safe while trying to reassure us.

While I appreciate the quick resolution to the problem, I do see some areas of improvement in our current system.

To begin with, almost 1/3 of my 6th period was empty because they had to quickly leave campus. Because running off campus is a viable option for many students, I believe that the school can coordinate with nearby businesses and stores, such as 7-11 and CVS, in order to teach students about lockdown procedures in an educational short video, detailing where to hide in these stores and how to ensure that no one can enter the stores.

Another possible bug would be that each classroom has different layouts. Certainly, many teachers do go thoroughly over procedures in order to block the exits and cover the windows, but each classroom has different desks. For example, my science class has long black tables that snap backward and can easily act as tall barriers if one crouches down, whereas my literature class has individual desks that must be flipped over in order to effectively cover exits. Although this may seem time, space, and “paper” consuming, I do believe that posters in each classroom showing instructions and images on how to cover the exits would be very helpful.

Lastly, some students off campus did not know that the lockdown was in effect until their friends told them 10 minutes after the code red bell rang. I do see a potential solution to this problem and would be willing to work with you. I would love to work with the programmers in this school to design a mandatory app for all HHS students, in which the principal (or any staff member that informs there is a code red) can input a message such as “Code Red Lockdown in effect”, and this, in turn, will produce a sound similar to the code red bell in the students’ phones, allowing people even off campus to be notified of the incidents.

On the other hand, I would like to take this time to thank you for ensuring our safety and would hope to see some of these changes implemented for improving school safety procedures.

Sincerely, Aarushi Banerjee (12th grade)

Letter to the Editor: The case for secession

After the election of Donald Trump, many people in California started to talk about secession. Although such talk has died down, recent studies suggest that if a ballot measure was proposed, roughly ⅓ of all Californians would favor secession.

Personally, I am strongly in favor of secession, for a multitude of reasons. Although my personal disgust for Donald Trump is certainly a factor in this decision, my belief in secession is not limited to his policies.

Whenever I am in a foreign country, and I am asked to identify myself, I prefer to say “Californian” in place of the more common “American”. I think that the word American has a very negative connotation- as many Americans are politically ignorant, lazy, greedy. Californians are seen differently- we are the more politically astute, intelligent citizens.

Secession means that instead of our tax dollars going to pay conservative states who then use those very tax dollars to subsidies oil and gas companies, that we can use our tax dollars instead to save the environment, stop wasting our money on defense. We can do what we as a state care about.

There are many arguments against secession. Primarily, people see secession as receding oneself from a larger community. The logic goes that it is better to stay together, to stand in unity against common problems. In my belief however, this larger community we are a part of is not the “right” larger community. Right now, the United States is the bully at the United Nations, and the UN is useless at stopping our interests, as we are too powerful. Communities are formed given an interdependence, and right now, the United States is too large to be dependent on the United Nations. Thus, the United Nations is not truly a community. If the United States were split up, however, the United Nations could emerge as an institution with more power to punish, to reward, to enact legislation.

The only way to solve global problems such as climate change is a global community of nations. If the United States, or any nation is large enough that the UN can not influence its policies regarding climate change, efforts to control climate change will be futile. Nations must be divided, because a vast collection of smaller nations can control each other given that they are interdependent on one another. It is this so-called “splitting theory” that I have advocated, and will continue to advocate for.

California needs to reject the leadership of the United States- we must secede, and in secession, we as Californians must join the United Nations and finally step into the global community.

The writer wishes to remain anonymous. 


Corrections: Updated March 15, at 11:40 p.m. A previous version of this article incorrectly used “succession” in place of “secession.”

Letter to the Editor: Girls bathroom needs fixing

Restroom usage is becoming an increasingly prevalent topic in the media. However, the actual condition of said bathrooms is less talked about. Amongst debates over who should use which bathroom, we must also make sure that the bathrooms in question are at their best. On that note, a stall in the upper B-building girls’ bathroom has gone without a lock for the past year now. Given the proper tools and materials, it would take less than 2 minutes to bolt on a new lock, so it is unacceptable that the closest thing to a lock this stall has seen in the past year was a hair tie that got looped around the metal frame.

Prior to the appearance of this hair tie, which provides a small sense of security, girls had to either put their backpack on the ground outside of the stall, have a friend hold the door, or drape some toilet paper over the top of the door. However, these methods are not foolproof as I have personally had distracted people try to push the door open even though I had raised the signal toilet paper. Additionally, some girls have simply refused to use this stall, which further contributes to the bathroom traffic during a time when we are all rushed as it is.

In sum, safety in bathrooms is already a growing concern, and the state of the bathrooms themselves should not contribute to that worry. No one should feel the panic of knowing they could be exposed at any moment, while simply trying to take care of their business. This issue affects a large portion of the student body and the administration’s attention must be brought to it, considering that there is such a cheap and quick fix.

Letter to the Editor: Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President,

At this time, I would like to congratulate you on your win. You have indeed overcome a long journey and some may say, miraculously, come out with a win. As a true American, I would like to welcome you into the highest position of our government with open arms.

As our leader, we will show you respect and do nothing to steal your rights outlined by our founding fathers. With utmost respect, I have made vows that I will follow to show my true red, white, and blue blood.

I promise not to build a wall to block you out of your rightful place. I promise not to judge you based on your race, gender, or sexual preference. I promise not to make statements that will undermine the progress that our country has made in its history. I promise not to make decisions for the treatment of your body when it’s not mine. I promise not to give you value just for your physical form. Lastly, I promise to treat you the way I want to be treated as we are told from a tender age.

President Donald Trump. Thank you for winning. Without you, our morals and values would have been left to develop in unruly ways. Now, you have become our moral compass that will point us in the direction our country and the citizens will take today, and for generations to come. We now have a role model that we can look up to and say, “That is what I am not going to turn out to be like.” Thank you and let’s make keep America great again.

A female, ethnic American with immigrant parents

Letter to the Editor: the California drought

The drought has been going on for four years and we can see the effect it has had on the Californian landscape. The lush green landscape has been slowly turning brown.

The painting above shows the effects of the drought through an eye. The eye is a symbol of truth and a pathway to the soul, the picture is showing how the effects of the drought are truly effecting California.

Even though there has been recent rainfall and we can see green around us, it is not enough to end the drought and is only temporary.

The far left of the eye that is the white of the eye represent the water we have in California. The left half of the iris represent the greenery that California used to have and might still have in some places because of recent rainfall.

The brown in the iris represents how the greenness is going away and how all the plants are drying up as an effect of the drought.

Lastly the far right of the eye is the dried up water that is the effect of the drought. The drought is still a big issue, even though we have had recent rainfall and El Nino, the rain isn’t enough to take us out of this drought.

Letter to the editor: response to “Don’t take the easy path to ASB”

I am writing in response to your article, “The Bar-On Brief: Don’t take the easy path to ASB.”

I’ve participated in three student council elections during my time at Homestead. Three out of three of those elections, I ran unopposed. While I agree with you that candidates should not “game” the system by making deals to ensure that most contestants are unopposed, and that a one-candidate election seems rather useless, I feel that the general distaste of uncontested elections evident in the opinion piece is unfair.

I talked to a junior a few weeks back about whether he was planning on running for office during class elections. He’s a guy I have worked with before, and one I have a lot of respect for as a leader, so I was pleased to hear that he was interested in running for class office. What happens next is where you and I differ in opinion. He said that he didn’t care much for which position he held in office, as long as he could contribute to the class. I admire that, actually.

The past three years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the best teams in student government. The emphasis in this sentence is the word “team.” Though each individual has a position, president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and social manager, the ultimate goal is to best represent and put on the best events for the student body. A team works best with a special dynamic, and that frequently, or rather, always requires a passionate individual in every position. Though I understand why it may be disappointing for you to see a well-qualified individual opt for a “lower” position, I am pleased to see that an individual pass up the “more impressive” title in the name of teamwork. If all of the strongest candidates ran for the same position, the end result, even if it yielded the strongest individual in that position, may be a lackluster team.

Before student government elections every year, one of the most important questions I suggest that a prospective candidate asks is, indeed, “How can I be a dynamic member in the most qualified team to represent my peers?”


Celine Lee


Letter to the editor: response to “Standard disconnects”

Dear Editor,

The education system, specifically California’s public system, is in fact not providing students the tools to do well on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT. Many topics and concepts in the standardized tests do not follow the curriculum anywhere in the public system.

Having gone through the aggravating process of taking both kinds of standardized tests, I know I could have not gotten as high of a score without help from outside resources other than school. I understand schools and teachers don’t have time to teach topics such as rules of grammar which is not in the curriculum. However, incorporating it into the class for at least 5 minutes each day could go a long way.

A greater problem arises when you consider the money that goes into getting good scores. Due to the fact that public schools do not cover standardized test concepts, students must turn to expensive services to receive that education. For example, I took the Princeton Review SAT course advertised by school and paid a lot of money to get 18 hours of education.

This course helped me a lot but is hard to afford for parents of many students. Additionally, private schools offer grammar lessons and other topics directly in sync with that of standardized tests. In this sense, the private schools better prepare students that pay a lot of money to receive a higher score.

This difference puts public school students at a disadvantage on tests that allow them to get into better colleges.

-Anonymous Student

Letter to the editor: response to “Controversial homecoming court”

Dear Editor,

Thank you for including the article “Controversial homecoming court” by Gloria Cheng to the online section of The Epitaph. While I do agree with the point of view expressed in the article regarding the pattern of Homecoming Court nominations, I would like to offer the opposing view for the student nominations solution provided.

In a student nomination system, often the students chosen are the more well-known, not necessarily the students that have impacted the Homestead community the most. In the past, Homestead has had a student nomination system. However, by talking with some of the senior staff members, I found out that the system was replaced with the teacher nomination system because of “joke” nominations used to ostracize and make fun of students who were less known in the Homestead community.

Furthermore, teachers see a unique side of students, including how that student responds to authority, group work, and challenges in an academic setting. While this side is a different perspective than the student’s classmates interact with that person, the information deduced by the teachers often shows how the student is overall.

The student nomination system is just as flawed as the teacher nomination system, and thus is not a solution to the Homecoming Court nomination patterns.

Instead, Homestead should employ a two step nomination system similar to Monta Vista’s system where students vote for nominees which are reviewed by teachers who then narrow down the top 15 nominations by students to the top 10 which will become the Homecoming Court.

-Isabella Muscettola

Letter to the editor: response to “An easy hack”

Dear Editor,

I am in total agreement with the article “An easy hack,” in terms of the issue it mentions about student voting security. It never occurred to me that all a student needs to vote in a school-based election is their (or someone else’s) ID number. I for one have not voted in the recent elections for Homecoming King and Queen, or the name of the new Mustang statue.

However, I am now questioning whether any of my close friends who know my ID number, or and of the club officers who I gave my ID number to used my ID number in those election.s It may certainly be unlikely, but just the thought of someone being able to do so worries me.

When a student hypothetically uses another student’s ID number to vote in an election. they would not only tinker with the voting system, but also deprive other students of their right to vote. This would also give an inaccurate representation of the actual opinions of the student voters, as one student can easily determine how another student votes.

To prevent the unethical events that may occur from a lack of voting security, I do believe that our school should boost its voting security system.

Just like how schoollooop and Naviance have their own, unique usernames and passwords for every student, the portal to login to vote in elections should also have these extra precautions.

Despite the inconvenience and troublesome shortcomings that the extra security precautions may present, it is vital to our school community that every student have equal representation in elections, as well as an equal opportunity to vote.

-Kannon Salvucci (12)

Letter to the editor: response to “Revising school start time”

Dear Editor,

After reading the article “Revising school start time” in the latest edition of The Epitaph, I have a few concerns regarding the logistics of this plan, and I feel that it will be detrimental to students.

As the article touches on, one concern with the plan to push back school start times is adjusting students’ after school schedules. However, I believe that this issue does not have a practice solution.

Even with the current starting time for school, several students begin their extracurricular activities right after school do not get home until very late. If the starting time for school is pushed back, these activities will be pushed back as well and simply force students to begin homework even later. Some activities currently begin very late, and pushing these back is simply unreasonable and more taxing on students.

One reason why students are not getting much sleep is because of the difficult workload they are receiving from rigorous classes. Pushing back the starting time of school does not change the fact that students still have a mountain of homework to complete. Because of this, I feel that the only solution to allowing students to get more sleep is reducing the workload from school instead of changing start times.

-Anonymous Student

Letter to the editor: response to “Tutorial enforcement to be tightened”

Dear Editor,

I recently read the article titled “Tutorial enforcement to be tightened” in the second issue of The Epitaph. I have to say, I was a bit surprised when I first read this article because I never expected the school to go Big Brother and start tracking student’s movements. But then I realized that the school does have the right to do that since our parents gave them that right when they chose to send us to this school.

I know that there may be some privacy concerns and fear of abuse of this information, but I honestly think that the new system does not violate our right to privacy. We are attending a public school, which means we are on public property, so the school can track all the students as much as they want as long as they are on school campus.

Also, the most that the school knows is where a student is during tutorial, and I don’t know how that information can be abused.

My only concern is whether the new system is worth the cost. The new ID scanning system doesn’t sound very cheap, and there is no guarantee that it will increase the effectiveness of tutorial.

But I am an open-minded person and am willing to give this a chance, for the better of our school.

– Daniel Bao (12)

Letter to the editor: response to “Racing to the past”

Dear Editor,

In your recent publication, Aayush Singh covered the upcoming Fisher case and talked about affirmative action.

I agree with Mr. Singh’s opinion in full. In addition, I would like to further explain why affirmative action is fatally flawed.

Affirmative action has not worked and will not work by any measure for a very simple reason. Race is a characteristic, not an achievement. Perhaps the fundamental difficulty in using race to give a “plus factor” to a certain applicant is that race fails to correlate with any means of superiority or achievement. I hold, fundamentally, that a black, an Asian, a Native American, a Hispanic, and a Caucasian all have the same potentiality to succeed and self-actualize. They all have the same level of intelligence and character, and the same potential for merit. One who argues otherwise embodies the highest ideals of racism, bigotry, and ignorance.

An applicant should be evaluated on achievements, not characteristics. Any deviation from this standard puts us back into the era of Jim Crow, and institutionalizes racism. This has no place in the 21st century.

Some say racism was used to “remedy past wrongs.” They point to an achievement gap among races as evidence. The trouble with this argument is that the ones with fire-hoses, dogs, and white tanks in Birmingham in the 1960’s are not the ones applying to colleges right now. Additionally, Asian-Americans, who are among those suffering from affirmative action the most, have also been “historically” discriminated against. Treating people differently based on the color of their skin guarantees an achievement gap.

Once the “historical remedy” argument was busted, supporters of affirmative action argued that it is used to promote “diversity.” However, even they are aware that by any measure affirmative action, even in that sense, as failed. African-Americans and Hispanics are underrepresented in higher education and the job market. But the way to solve a racial problem isn’t more racism. Instead, I would like to propose an alternative solution.

To counter under-representation, we should embrace the idea of devolution – transferring money and power back to the educators in the states, without strings attached. It is ignorant for Washington bureaucrats to believe that they know better – that they know more about education than the teacher who wakes up at 6 AM to grade papers, and who stays until 6 PM to help the struggling student. Education should best be left to the educators. When federal grants-in-aid are available, I agree with Mr. Singh in that they should be unconditionally targeted to low-income areas.

To my peers: wake up. Do not think that systemic racism is something reliced to the history books, the documentaries, and the occasional movie. This is happening today, and may affect your life. So the next time you hear somebody saying: “Affirmative action is good”, make sure to differ.

-Anonymous Student