Week of March 20


Sarah Emery

Kirsten Peterson and Madison Woehlke (10) burn peanuts to determine the amount of calories in them for Mike Thebeau’s sixth hour Principles of Biomedical class, Nov. 15.


Know: Superintendent Eric Knost has been visiting schools explaining how Prop T would improve S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) labs and innovative learning within Rockwood Schools if Prop T passes, April 4.

Inform: Prop T is a $95.5 million bond issue that aims to address needs created by increased enrollment and build upon S.T.E.M. and innovative learning. The bond issue will need a four-sevenths (57.15 percent) approval to pass. S.T.E.M. labs will be created in high schools to provide students with the opportunity to use technology to solve real-world problems and studies, according to Knost. Students will have the opportunity to learn and grow while using advanced equipment to improve their S.T.E.M. skills. Furthermore, Prop T will provide students with early innovative learning opportunities by introducing this approach at the elementary and middle levels. Knost explained that younger students will get the head-start opportunity to work with 3D printers and early computer programming.

Care: If Prop T passes, April 4, patrons will see extensive changes in not only the district facilities but in the way students will learn. Not only do students who obtain S.T.E.M. degrees have a higher income, but studies show that S.T.E.M. occupations are growing at a rate of 17%, whereas other occupations are only growing at 9.8%, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. With S.T.E.M. occupations on a rise, Prop T would help prepare RSD students for these future careers.


Know: President Donald Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, the conservative appeals court judge from Colorado, to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s spot as a Supreme Court Justice, Jan. 31. Gorsuch was recently questioned and spoke at his confirmation hearing, March 20-22.

Inform: Confirmation-committee Democrats grilled him for days over Trump concerns and previous court decisions. Democratic critics at the confirmation hearing confronted Gorsuch on his past decision in 2008 to rule against an autistic student who believed he was denied the right to a sufficient education. Gorsuch backed himself with many of his ethical decisions and thoughts on issues such as Trump’s Muslim ban. The odds of the Republican-dominant Senate confirming him are high.

Care: The committee vote is to be held, April 3. With the majority of the Senate currently consisting of Republicans, Gorsuch will only need eight Democratic votes in order for him to become confirmed. According to Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican leader, Gorsuch would be confirmed before the lawmakers’ recess in April. Trump sought a nominee whose beliefs–( he believes)–align with his own (as presidents do), and opponents are concerned his vote in the Supreme Court could become biased or swayed to support the President’s beliefs. Supreme Court decisions can only be reversed by subsequent Supreme Court decisions or a Constitutional Amendment, so those precedents are far-reaching and long-lasting. In 2007, the Court ruled on behalf of Deborah Morse, a Juneau, Alaska high school principal, in a case where Joseph Frederick a student sued the district for violating his First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Even though he didn’t attend school that day, school wasn’t in session, he wasn’t on school property and he wasn’t under the influence, his “bong hits for Jesus banner” got him suspended from school. The Court upheld his suspension: “The ‘special characteristics of the school environment,’ and the governmental interest in stopping student drug abuse … allow schools to restrict student expression that they reasonably regard as promoting illegal drug use.” This decision is just one example of many the Supreme Court Justices hear. If Gorsuch is to be confirmed, he will have a vote on cases similar to Morse v. Frederick that will impact the citizen’s First Amendment rights in the future.


Know: North Korea test fired a missile, March 22.

Inform: The recent missile exploded seconds after the launch in North Korea near Kalma. The United States has been watching North Korea’s nuclear activity closely to ensure the United State’s safety. U.S. officials believe that North Korea’s nuclear missiles have a maximum range of 1,500 miles but are threatened by them because they can be fired quickly and are difficult to detect.

Care: Kim Jong Un has made it clear that North Korea’s overall goal is to create a nuclear device small enough to combine with a long-range missile to send to the United States. Due to current missile threats towards the United States and Japan, Trump and Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, have been conversing about the situation. The Guardian reports that Trump wants Japan to trust in the U.S. as the U.S. will stand with Japan 100 percent against North Korea, according to Abe. If the United States were to declare war on North Korea, the United States’ military would be sent alongside Japan to intervene against North Korea.