‘Intellectual bullying’ widespread at Lincoln

By Alex Paskill and Kayla Rae

 

Over the years, Lincoln has earned a reputation as one of top high schools in Oregon.  Much of that reputation has been built on the opportunity to graduate with an international baccalaureate diploma.

But an investigation by The Cardinal Times indicates that along with the IB diploma can come stress, pressure and even bullying, which has snuck its ways in the halls.

The stress that students endure, no doubt, can be attributed to much more than the IB program or even academics. Some facets of a student’s life that are subject to pressure and bullying are well known, such as their social life.  

However, with the increasing amounts of successful students going through Lincoln and the IB program, academic success and social life have merged into a singular standard for Lincoln students, according to students who partook in an anonymous survey by the Cardinal Times. The Cardinal Times has decided call this “academic bullying.”

Julia Ziegler, sophomore, has noticed the ideal of students at Lincoln not only being cool, but also being extremely intelligent; something much different than the portrayal found in many Hollywood dramatizations of high school.

In fact, she said, Lincoln seems to be the opposite of those films.

“The environment at Lincoln is so competitive. Being an IB student is the expected level that you should be at to be considered smart,” said Ziegler.

That, in turn, can lead to a situation for some students that becomes more about competition than learning.

It is hard to diagnose where this competition came from; however, some students believe it’s the fault of the IB program. The installation of the program within Lincoln makes it so that anyone who wishes to be challenged can take a IB class.

“The IB diploma program is so easily accessible and anyone can take it, unlike Honors where you have to be picked,” said Ziegler.

This academic equality within the program is seen as the beauty of the IB program. Although, it is also viewed by some students as a reason for a certain type of bullying that goes on in Lincoln. The idea that anyone can take advanced classes leads students to feel as if they have to take advantage of that opportunity, whether they want to or not, according to students we interviewed.

It also differs from Advanced Placement, or AP, which is offered in many schools. There’s no such thing as an AP diploma, so most students typically take one or two AP classes, compared to the full IB schedule some Lincoln students have.

Students feel as if they must be in an IB class, or at least an accelerated class, due to the emphasis on college readiness at Lincoln. According to the survey by the Cardinal Times, which was taken by more than a hundred Lincoln students, 78.6 percent said that they felt pressured to take higher level classes, another 8.7 percent said “maybe.”

“I feel pressured to take higher level classes because college readiness is really pushed here, and in order to be prepared, you have to take these classes,” said Lindsay Unitan, a senior, reflecting on the atmosphere of Lincoln.

Another student, who asked to remain anonymous, said that they surround themselves with friends who are “really smart people, and sometimes that makes me feel mediocre.”

The pressure that students feel to achieve higher level academic success is also evident in families. Parents of high school students are likely suspects for pressuring students into classes they don’t want to take.

“I have a cousin that does all AP classes and applied to Brown University. That could be a big factor of why I want to graduate with an IB diploma,” said Ziegler.

Within the IB program, some students feel bullied for being too smart, while others outside of the program feel bullied because they aren’t smart enough.

Another anonymous student stated that they once “got a swirly because I wasn’t taking any IB classes as a freshman,” which is when someone sticks your head in a toilet and flushes.

JoAnn Wadkins, IB coordinator, said, “Lincoln has a goal to have 100 percent of our students to take at least one IB class,” but says she “get nervous when I hear about pressure.” In reality, the administration is creating a goal for all students that some may not aspire to achieve, which is a direct example of pressure, as found through the student survey.

She went on to say that “One would hope students are seeing the IB program as something they want to do. If you’re not full IB, you’re not less than, you just have different goals and passions in your life that the IB program doesn’t fit in with.”

But Wadkins also said that students who take IB classes are more likely to get into prestigious colleges.

The administration also force-feeds the IB program to students by forcing them to stay in their classrooms during valuable FLEX time to teach students the importance of the IB program and ideal values it encourages. Students often criticize the school’s efforts to place the IB program on all students.

“It’s useless, I’m not going to do IB because [the administration] locked me in a room and made me write a poster,” said Rowdy Harrelson, junior.

Sophomore Carson Coville said “I think we could be using our time more wisely in terms of homework and how much I could be studying, especially if Lincoln is gearing towards a more IB learner profile.”

An update in technology is also seen by some as just another way for some to feel as though they are not smart enough. Synergy, Lincoln’s online grading system, offers an easy way to monitor grades, but also includes a feature that ranks students within their class, from best grades to worst. This “ranking,” which can be viewed by all students at the end of the semester, could make those not in the top percentiles feel as though they are less intelligent than their friends who are.

Henry Hooper, a second-year business and CCE teacher at Lincoln, is aware of the academic bullying that takes place. He believes many students try to get the “perfect scores” which affects many students’ stress.

“The academic bullying comes down to an inordinate amount of students that have perfect scores,” said Hooper. “When you have 20 valedictorians, anyone who isn’t a valedictorian is immediately 21 in class.”

There also appears to be a racial element to the academic bullying, according to the survey.

Sophia Wilson, a mixed-raced junior at Lincoln, said that, when she “gets a bad grade and I tell my friends, they don’t seem too surprised about it. I struggle with math and have a tutor, but I happen to be the only mixed-race student in my class and I sometimes feel like an outlier and it could be because of that.”

Another anonymous student that said “African Americans are constantly suffering from the negative stereotypes targeted towards us. That we are ‘uneducated, ‘stupid’ and ‘less than.’” The survey also found that 12.5 percent of students feel bullied on academic performance because of their race, while another 12.5 percent said “maybe.”

When asked about racial breakdowns within the IB program, Wadkins said she didn’t have access to such information immediately, but would try to look into it.

Student leaders at Lincoln have acknowledged that academic bullying is common, says Lincoln’s psychologist, Jim Hanson. Hanson regards highly the efforts by Lincoln’s leadership program to prevent bullying, including intellectual bullying.

“Leadership presentations have taught ninth graders to recognize when microaggressions are happening and effective ways to intervene,” Hanson says. Microaggressions are everyday comments or actions, intentional or unintentional, that are hostile to targeted people.

The solution to academic bullying, Hanson says, is a “combination of ninth graders getting the message that bullying is never okay and upperclassmen reinforcing that idea.”

Five years of planning finally put to action

For the last five years, members of the LGBTQ+ community have been in action of getting a gender neutral bathroom at Lincoln. After a long period of planning, the bathroom is scheduled to open November 22, the Friday before Thanksgiving Break starts.

“Kids will be able to use it starting the following week because it’ll open at the end of the day”says Leah Burian, leader of the gender neutral bathroom project. The project is run through the GSA Club at Lincoln, which is the Gender Sexuality Alliance. It meets on Tuesdays at lunch in room 146 and all are welcome.

A panel and discussion was held Wednesday, October 26 on the upcoming opening of the bathroom. “It was a courageous conversation about the gender neutral bathroom. Parents can come for the thirty minute presentation,” said Burian.

The bathroom will be located in Junior hall in replacement of the women’s bathroom. Nothing in the interior is going to be changed, just the sign on the outside. This bathroom will allow use for any student of any gender.

The right to protest meets the right to an opinion

The Lincoln walkout raised various opinions on the topic, some positive and some negative. Although, many Lincoln students agree on one thing: our school came together as a whole on that day. No matter how proud the marchers felt, there’s always going to be the Negative Nancy – and they made sure to get their voices heard.

Across Portland, the news of the walkout surged from newspaper to block to broadcasting stations. Soon enough, a majority of the city was informed about the protest. Some journalists from local news companies walked with us in order to get full coverage of the story. Some of the more popular articles focused on the walkout were done by Oregon Live and KGW.

These article included many photos taken that day, and a description of the who, what, where, when and why. It also includes many quotes from Lincoln students, saying what life is like in the dilapidated school building. Descriptions of the school explained it was unsanitary, unsafe and inefficient; all reasonable examples for why students were pushing the bond.

A popular saying is that “There’s always two sides to a story,” and that holds true for this vast protest. Oregon Live allows comments to be posted to their articles – names and photos included. Six hundred and ninety comments and all very opinionated.

The night of the walkout, photos spread through Instagram and Twitter about negative comments about students who participated in the protest and Lincoln as a school in general. Some of the stronger comments include “Rich yuppies… they should get their mommies and daddies in the district to foot the bill…” and “Caption: I don’t have a brain but I have a loudspeaker and that’s even better. Look at mommy and daddy. I’m on TeeVee! Can I have that Miata convertible now?”

Students passionate about the walkout soon began to take charge and started to respond to those comments and defending their opinions as well, one of those students was senior Ella van der Meulen. She went against the rash comments and replied that it was “completely unacceptable.”

“I was really angry when I first saw the comments,” she said. “As a community, I think we all came together and were all passionate about the walkout. To see older people being mean about it and putting us down for doing something we thought would be beneficial to us as a school – it made me feel really mad.”

Social Studies teacher Blair Hennessy said “I think there’s a single story of Lincoln and I know that students were really hurt by the comments. I think it was also a humbling moment for the students to fight through that and fight through those comments. There’s work to be done in a community to dispel those single stories.”

Lincoln tunnels remain a mystery until now

By Alex Paskill and Kayla Rae

 

When a school’s history dates back to 1869, there’s bound to be some legend and lore surrounding it.  But none may be more alluring to Lincoln students than the stories about “the tunnels” – an urban legend at LHS for decades.

Many seniors from years past have told stories about their experiences involving the tunnels that reportedly run under the school.  But the stories have seemed part myth, part hearsay.

But no longer.

Recently, an investigation by the Cardinal Times revealed that not only do the tunnels  exist, but they have been the source of a lot of stories, mischief and some controversy over the years.

The tunnels are as old as the school building itself, which was completed in 1953. Architects had to create a system for pipes, ventilation and access points for utilities around the school. The solution was to build a immense network of tunnels beneath the school. These elaborate tunnels connect all parts of the school, from 18th to 14th Avenue.

For decades, the access tunnels were used for maintenance. But for almost as long, many students, particularly seniors, have been sneaking down into them to engrave their name into Lincoln’s history.

This was still a tradition until recent years, when PPS was notified of students accessing the tunnels. The district took immediate action to stop it. The tunnels are filled with asbestos and lead, making them  a dangerous place.

When asked for permission to enter the tunnels, principal Peyton Chapman told two reporters for the Times: “I like my job and I don’t know anyone here who’s planning on quitting soon.”

Many Lincoln students have heard the stories of the Shanghai tunnels that lie under older parts  of downtown Portland near the Willamette River and some believe Lincoln’s tunnels are part of that system. The tunnels under LHS, however, have no connection with the passages that were used decades ago to kidnap drunk sailors.

“I think, given the Shanghai tunnels being such a big part of our city’s history, any tunnel in Portland gets a little more fisiche,” said Daniel Freimark, a 2008 Lincoln alum.

Even though Lincoln’s tunnels are not connected to the Shanghai tunnels, it is no wonder so many students for decades have been sneaking into them . Along with legends and myths connected to the tunnels, there is a undeniable curiosity that comes with it.

Long before the construction of the current Lincoln building in 1953, Tanner Creek ran through the blocks on which the school is now built. The creek wound through a lot of downtown Portland – resulting in 6-foot wide pipes being made in order to allow the creek to flow beneath the city. These pipes and the creek still exist, although they’re separate from the tunnels that Lincoln students talk about today.

“The tunnels were only built for accessing old, outdated ventilation systems,” Chapman says. “Now things are so automated that you can go to a main boiler and flip switches. Years ago, you had to actually go and repair things. It was right after World War II, so people thought you could hide down there during a nuclear bomb, but it’s not set up that way. There’s no natural light or ventilation.”

Lincoln alumna Paige Claire Mesher, Class of 2013, went into the tunnels. She recalls that “There’s nothing down there. A lot of people have this thought that it’s this cool place only some know about. All it looks like is spray painted names on walls.

“It wasn’t a select group of people who were allowed to go down there, but people who had a free period and knew the right person who had the key. I believe only seniors have gone down there – my dad did it when he went to Lincoln.”

Today, the school district has made it very clear that students should not be allowed in the tunnels under any circumstance.

“I know there’s a sign that says ‘Caution, no students or staff beyond this point,’” says Chapman. “I know there’s never been permission from our administration or any vice-principals, either.”

Of course, Lincoln students are notorious for using their resources to gain access to the tunnels; Chapman has only been down few times in her 10 years as principal.

However, there was one special occasion when access was granted was for a student-made video presented during an assembly that showed the film makers inside the tunnels.

“Teachers took students down there and video taped it, and it was not for professional reasons,” said Chapman.

The video was made as a comedy tribute to long-time Lincoln teacher David Bailey, portraying him as a secret Democrat. The students wandered through the tunnels, joking that Bailey was keeping an office deep beneath Lincoln. It was shown in a May Fete assembly, playing with the idea that the legendary teacher has never given up his conservative political standpoint.

The administration was never aware of the video – not hearing or viewing it until it was shown in the assembly. This lead to a full investigation after its screening, eventually limiting the tradition of seniors entering the tunnel; still, many students have gone down since on their own.

Chapman never knew who let students into the tunnels, saying, “I can only imagine it was a campus monitor or a former coach.”

On a different occasion, Freimark said he and a few other students “used the tunnels for a fundraising video in 2004. You would get in trouble if you went down there without special permission,” he said.

Until nearly 40 years ago, the doors to the tunnels didn’t even have locks. That changed when those planning the senior prank for the class of 79’ decided to use the tunnels as an entrance to the school after hours.

According to Page Mesher, Paige Claire Mesher’s father, the students behind the prank apparently had fun  intentions, planning only to rearrange some desks and furniture around the school. Four students used duct tape on the tunnel doors to prevent the doors from fully locking, although they would appear as if they were.

“Before the weekend, the four students went into the tunnels and found an out through a manhole cover near 14th and Taylor Street,” said Page Mesher, who was attending Lincoln at the time. They loosened the manhole cover from underground, so that, two days later, they could enter through the sewer system and trace their way back [into the school].

“The students came up in the tunnel. They walked through a door and they were in the school. In the principal’s office, they were changing out his desk and screwing around. They didn’t realize Lincoln had a motion detector system, which they had activated,” said Mesher.

“All the sudden, they saw flashlights out on the grass with the police running through the doors. The students exited the school towards Salmon Street. Three of the four guys were caught. Two guys got caught right away while running, one guy got caught hiding under a car.” he said.

In the end, the students weren’t allowed to walk in commencement, he said.

“The three students that were caught never gave up the name of the fourth kid. They were taken down to the police station and the fourth one got away. They never divulged from the story – they’ve kept the secret of the other kid for thirty plus years. To this day, there’s been rumors – but the kid was never caught and his name has never been known to the Lincoln staff,” Mesher recalled.

This incident led to the locking of the doors, which still remain locked today, but the allure of the tunnels remains just as strong.

Pokémon Go invades city, but not Lincoln

By Kayla Rae, Alex Paskill and Chase Turner

 

Two words to describe summer: Pokémon Go.

For the uninformed: Pokémon Go is an app released in July that quickly attracted players of all ages.

Pokémon Go can be traced back to Pokémon trading cards, which were released in 1998 and soon became popular with children and their friends. The popularity of the trading cards faded but began to make a comeback with the rise of tablets and iPhones.

The objective of the game is to walk around town, app in hand, and catch any and all Pokémon you come across. On the hunt for Pokémon, you may come across a PokéStop, where you earn free stuff.

Things you can collect are PokéBalls and potions, which are used to heal Pokémon. Once you capture a Pokémon, it’s the player’s job to use it in battle it at a Gym. At Gyms, there are king-of-the-hill type matches where teams battle each other. Once you have conquered the Gym, your Pokémon and team will represent it.

This recent development in technology comes as practically all students are coming to school with their smartphones. This will likely lead to administration having to deal with kids roaming the halls playing the game instead of attending class.

“If we find a student in the halls playing the game, the student will be dealt with like normally, with a verbal reminder to get back to class,” said Sean Mailey, Lincoln’s vice principal.

Summer break is over but the popularity of the game remains. Being in the heart of Portland, right on the edge of downtown, Lincoln is in the ideal location to find Pokémon. You can find a Pokémon or PokéStop almost anywhere. Anybody seen looking down at their phones could be a potential player.

The best place to go PokéHunting is downtown. On every block, there’s a Pokéstop to use or a Pokémon to be found, including a stop at our school. There are also Gyms in Goose Hollow, up the street on Salmon and at Providence Park.

Although, since we’re at school for more than seven hours, there is less than an hour of  down time to play — and not get in trouble.

“Surprising, we haven’t really seen anybody play much so far,” said Mailey.

While many would agree the game has peaked in middle of summer, there are plenty of students who will still surely be playing.

Questions, Answered

By Annaliese Dunn and Kayla Rae

High school. Some of you reading this may have one, two, maybe three years of experience. Although, there’s quite a few new faces around Lincoln.

This period can be confusing, and there’s a difference in opinions on whether high school is the best or the worst four years of one’s life. For all the new students at Lincoln, we want to create a place where you can go for advice from real students.

We know changing schools can be a struggle. Consequently, we created an advice column for all Lincoln students to use when you don’t want to ask a peer or counselor.

This column is written by two Lincoln students, Annaliese Dunn (senior) and Kayla Rae (sophomore). In the future, this is going to be Q and A for anyone who needs the help. You can submit questions to thecardinaltimespdx@gmail.com or through our Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, @cardinaltimes.

Don’t worry about asking a question that you don’t think we’re fit to answer; we’re more than willing to have a more qualified student to answer your question.

Since school is just picking up and you new students are just learning the routine of Lincoln, we thought it would be adequate to create ten tips for incoming freshmen:

 

Dress code: The dress code at Lincoln is relaxed. PPS has recently changed their expectations on dress code into something that is meant to not target girls and their clothing choices. The students here are used to pretty much anything, so don’t be embarrassed to express yourself with wacky clothes. If you feel comfortable in your outfit, then we’d say go ahead. Flex: Freshman are technically not allowed to leave campus during flex. Flex is mostly used to finish the homework you didn’t do for your next classes. Teachers are there to help you with homework and assignments. If you’re going to use flex to take a test, make sure you get to that class as soon as possible.
Full IB vs. Partial IB: This is a difficult choice many students contemplate. While it might seem far away, even when forecasting for sophomore year you should take this into account. Getting the IB diploma is difficult task. It requires a somewhat rigid schedule, and many students who do full IB take nothing but IB classes their junior and senior year. If you are up for challenge, we say go for it. If you want a more flexible schedule, then we suggest partial, as you can still test IB but you have no requirements to fulfill. It is good to begin thinking about freshman year, but at this point nothing has to be set in stone. Eating off campus: Not scary at all. Nearby places where you can eat and make it back to school in a comfortable amount of time include: Starbucks, Bellagios, Kinara, “East side,” “West Side,” (convenience stores on those two sides of Lincoln) and the burrito cart at S.W. 12th and Yamhill. Though, fair warning, it is extremely easy to spend too much money on snacks and coffee.
Lunch seating: There are certain places where freshmen can and cannot eat lunch. Places you can go: turf field, cafeteria, bleachers, anywhere behind the school, on the ground in main hall or in front of the auditorium. No-go areas: junior and senior hall, the patio or upstairs. Absolutely DO NOT bring a lawn chair to school until you are a junior or senior. Clubs: There is a club for everyone at Lincoln. Clubs are a great place to make new friends with similar interests as you. Although many of you will think it’s a fun idea to skip Club Fair, we don’t recommend it. You should sign up for as many clubs as you want, and then pick and choose which ones you want to attend on what day. Meetings typically occur a few times a month during lunch and flex, so they’re not major commitments.
Upperclassmen: Upperclassmen were not created to scare you. You’ve dealt with students older than you throughout your entire life, so there’s no reason to be sacred now. With time comes superiority, so you should expect a few friendly taunts and jokes, but nothing you should take offensively. When you’re an upperclassman, you’ll want to tease the freshman as well. Homework: Your middle school teachers probably told you at least one hundred times that the homework in high school is going to be a lot worse: it’s not. Although, in order to have minimal homework, you have to stay productive during class and flex. Don’t skip out on homework either because it helps you understand what you’re learning in class.
Sports: There are so many athletics at Lincoln, some which are major commitments. A lot of sports require you to tryout, and from there you’ll be placed on Varsity, Junior Varsity or Junior Varsity 2; some of these sports are no-cut. Other athletics only require you to register to play. Different sports require a different amount of commitment. There are many different teams out there, so try to find one that works around your schedule, because they’re fun and you’ll make great friends. Also, try and go to as many sporting events as you can to support our school and hang with your friends. Grades: Some people will tell you freshman year is super easy and that it doesn’t matter. Freshman grades do matter. Your final grades at the end of each semester, including freshman year, will accumulate into your Grade Point Average. Take freshman year seriously because it’s just as important as junior or senior year on your transcript.

Want more helpful tips? Visit cardinaltimes.org for a video of advice from students and staff.

Appropriation is a strong word

The difference of cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation? Understanding what you’re promoting.

Cultural appropriation is a term that rocketed in society in recent years. The adoption of elements of one culture by members of another culture makes headlines with negative judgements across the board. In reality, cultural appropriation isn’t always as bad as it seems, under certain circumstances.

Cornrows, headdresses and henna tattoos are among the few examples of cultural practices that have lost their meaning through adoption by teenage girls and pop-stars, regardless of race or culture. Occasionally, when you see these accessories in public, it’s a fashion statement. Many trendy, fashion-forward styles originate from different cultures. I see these trendy wardrobes as inspired by other cultures, not stolen or diminished.

By definition, cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture.” The definition uses no words such as “offensive” or “belittle.”

The meaning of cultural appropriation has been warped in many different ways to support the ideologies of individuals. Some define appropriation as “stealing elements of one culture for the entertainment of members of another culture.” Others define it as “using elements of one culture in admiration by members of another culture.”

The Daily Beast makes that argument in “You Can’t ‘Steal’ a Culture.” They say that the intentions of other cultural groups are admirable. “We get angry simply when whites happily imitate something that minorities do… If one is seen, and seen in an approving light, one will be imitated. This is what human beings do.” They argue that “stealing a culture” is extreme, and unintentionally implies that people are seeking to replace cultures  rather than join them.

When someone travels to another country, they may get cornrows or a henna tattoo in order to involve themselves in the culture. Although, no one bashes a tourist to commit cultural appropriation. People may argue that tourists a whole other story. They’re not. When traveling, people appreciate the culture they’re visiting. When getting a henna tattoo at the Saturday Market, people are appreciating the Indian culture the tattoos originate from.

By definition, assimilation is “the process by which a person acquires the social and psychological characteristics of a group.” Many people argue that assimilation is only okay when living in another culture’s community. When visiting another country for a short time, you’re already assimilating to the culture surrounding you. eople are forbidden from incorporating new habits into their original culture after a vacation. Adapting to one culture as a member as another is seen as cultural appropriation, when it should more logically be seen as assimilation.

Online news site The Atlantic provides, “The Dos and Don’ts of Cultural Appropriation.” This article includes anti-appropriation examples, such as blackface and the use of sacred artifacts.

Agreed, blackface is never okay. If someone is wearing clothes or accessories inspired by another culture, it’s okay as long as it’s not done offensively. Understood, people occasionally wear certain clothes to mock another culture. That’s less common than society leads on. It’s easier said than done to avoid the use of cultural elements.

Everyday, people eat Chinese food, wear hoop earrings and Halloween costumes as Egyptian mummies or Greek gods. Although, these cultural elements were already appropriated into society, and were adopted into another culture.

Jesuit Sophomore Maya Jaganathan believes cultural appropriation is okay, in some cases. “It’s mainly okay when someone is absorbing [another culture] with full knowledge and is doing so in a respectful way. It would also be acceptable by doing so with full awareness of the other culture. Absorbing other cultures to get a more diverse understanding for that society is acceptable and should even be encouraged.”

The Huffington Post also touched on “Why a Bindi Is NOT an Example of Cultural Appropriation.” They argue that many of these cultural trends aren’t as sacred as they once were in the original culture. Author and Indian Anjali Joshi argues, “We can’t accuse non-Hindus of turning the bindi into a fashion accessory with little religious meaning because, well, [Hindus] have already done that.”

Cultural appropriation has been altered in definition and promoted too frequently in society today. In order to use the term “appropriation,” people need to understand what it means to appropriate. Cultural appropriation shouldn’t always be viewed as negative, and is more likely done out of admiration and inspiration than in attempt to diminish another culture.