AFH Photo//Aijanah Sanford
The following letter was a culminating project for Boston Latin School ELA 10 students in their unit on “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”by Mark Twain. They were asked to write a letter to the editor arguing for or against the book being required reading in U.S. public high schools.

A single word. That is all that is needed to break the silence on an unpleasant topic. That is why high schools should not ban “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”by Mark Twain. The N-word is the sole reason that some schools ban Huck Finn and others use an edited version which replaces the word with slave. We believe that this is misguided, because including the word creates a teaching moment where the students can have a discussion about the weight the word carries and the degree of racism that the word slave cannot reach. It carries the oppression of African-Americans, because inferiority was linked with skin color and not with slavery itself. This allowed slavery to be more widely accepted in the “land of the free,” as dark-skinned people were considered less than human. That word alone will give students a chance to talk about an important topic that they would rather avoid and stay silent on. Discussions about difficult subjects such as this one will help students form their own morals and opinions on what is considered racist. In an English class, you would examine the humanity in stories, so how could you analyze human nature without talking about the full extent of its atrocities? Everyone feels uncomfortable at times, so let this be one of those times that we can talk about our dark past, and begin our path towards our bright future.






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AFH Photo//My Vu
The life I have now started in 8th grade when I thought this odd absence of emotion was a survival technique my body decided to pick up. At the time I thought the apocalypse was coming at any moment. And it did: the clouds in my head darkened and brought in heavy rain, some of it leaks through my eyes. Then the tectonic plates made earthquakes that split right through my heart. Then the volcanoes erupted in my brain and burned down all my thoughts. Now I'm standing here watching my world fall apart and not knowing how to save it. Sometimes I try to forget it but this sight is just so hard to miss when I wake up and see it in the mirror.

***

"Hey, how are you" they ask
The race my brain was once in is now racing even faster as it tries to forget a random memory and make a flipagram out of the worst ones and trying to decide whether I should say good again, or actually answer this time. Then my brain takes a sip of humor juice and answers "nah I'm dead inside." What they confuse for humor is what I call a true story, I'm constantly conflicted and the depression jokes are real life but I slide in a smile so they forget about it like I try to every day. I have trouble with basic math but I can think of one memory and remake them into a thousand different scenarios all without the same outcome. I can go from happy to sad all based off of how my playlist decided to shuffle. 

***

I hate you and everything you stand for, i hate that you have to remind yourself you’re ok, i hate that you lie to yourself and say everything is alright,  i hate the way you look in the mirror, into your own eyes and through all the darkness you find even the slightest light of hope and hold onto it. I hate that you’d rather take the pain from other people instead of getting rid of your pains. I hate that you put yourself below everyone you meet and you’re so willing to risk so much for people that dont care about you. I hate that you are so nice to people. I hate that you go back to the people that did you wrong because you see the good in them no matter how much bad they show. I hate that no matter how hard life gets you stand and fight life back even harder, giving your all into a lost cause. I hate that you let the good people walk out so easily but keep the bad people close and allow them to derail you and change you into something you don't want to become. I hate that rather than coming out and admitting that you are having trouble, you hide behind the humor and the weirdness and hope nobody sees through it. I hate you because I am your hate, for that we will always be bound to each other, so while you think you may be spreading me to everyone else you’re directing to yourself.



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AFH Art//Janna Mach
The following investigation into high school sexual harassment was submitted by a team of reporters at a Boston Public high school. We have chosen to withhold the identity of the school because the writers of the piece were unable to interview students and teachers outside of their own school. We know that this is a problem prevalent within the wider Boston Public School system,  and we did not want the writers’ limitations to convey otherwise. 
For many high school students, specifically girls, sexual harassment is a problem. According to Equal Rights Advocate, “Sexual harassment can happen in three different ways: verbal (comments about your body, spreading sexual rumors, dirty jokes or stories etc), physical (grabbing, rubbing, touching, pitching in a sexual way, sexual assault), and visual (display of naked pictures or sex-related objects, obscene gestures).”  
“I feel like sometimes this person will try to abuse me one day if I let them touch me,” said Daphcar, a 10th grade student at Boston Public High. 
Many students, especially boys, believe that it’s normal to sexually harass girls. Joseph, a student at Boston Public High, demonstrated this belief. He admitted he had already committed sexual harassment. He stated, “I just want to do it because I want to, without caring about the girl’s feelings…” 
Unfortunately, according to an interview with a staff member of the school who wishes to remain anonymous, this is not a new dilemma. He said, “I witness sexual harassment every day, in the school, in the street, everywhere.” He further stated, “That happens because the female lets them do it. When a female dresses a certain way (like showing her boobs a little bit), she’s showing what she got. If you have short shorts, a little shirt and you’re walking around, someone might go and touch you. But look at how you’re walking around…if you dress properly nobody will bother you.” 
Yet, this type of language is part of the inherent problem at Boston Public High. Isn’t it a kind of way to blame the victims? Do women really needs to hide themselves so they don’t worry about being violated? Do boys, like Joseph, really think they can touch a woman just because they want to? 
“Sometimes I suffer sexual harassment. When I’m walking, boys start to talk about my rear...even if I wear wider clothes,” said Stefany, a Boston Public High student. “I feel uncomfortable with that. For this reason I stopped going to the pool and beach.”
Stopping this type of behavior is difficult. “There are boys who constantly touch girls’ hair, pull on their hair or touch places where they don’t have permission to touch. Sometimes I see girls not feeling like they have power to say ‘no,’”said Ms. B, a teacher from Boston Public High. “Also, sometimes I see relationships between a boy and a girl where the boy is not treating the girl with enough respect.”
 “I feel really scared because a lot of our students are older—17, 18, 19—so when I see a little bit of emotional abuse, I’m nervous for it to turn violent,” she added. 
“I think the school should have education about sexual harassment, so people can be aware of that,” said Lafouine, a student from Boston Public High.
The benefits of sexual harassment education has been supported by experts. “This new data on consent and sexual assault make it crystal clear that more needs to be done to educate men, women, and young people in this country,” said Dr. Leslie Kantor, Vice President of Education at Planned Parenthood. “In order to curb sexual violence, we need to teach young people how to talk about sex, including how to ask for and recognize consent.”
As you can see, sexual harassment is a critical issue that has been not fully addressed in school. Sexual harassment affects many girls and makes them feel uncomfortable. And the way a girl dresses or walks shouldn't be an excuse to commit it.  Sexual harassment can happen in many different ways. However, not many people are aware of those ways. Thus, we should try to prevent that from happening by having education about sexual harassment for girls and boys.




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AFH Photo//Delia Fleming
This woman,
Belongs to you, her heart is possessed by you
She handed you her soul, her mind, and her body
Solely with affection and fidelity.

This woman,
She hesitates, but you reassure her of your promises
You’ve restored her spirit in truth and intellects unknowingly
 Cautiously watered her roots, recovering all her losses. 

This woman,
Adores your sincerity, your love, your knowledge, your patience
She honors your integrity, as it intensified her attraction towards you even more
An attraction comparable to the moon and the oceans.

This woman,
Fell in love with your warmth, your gentle support, and romantic notions
You’ve become her fantasy in a world of dreams and false illusions
With a heart of gold you’ve accepted her guilts, her agonies, her past and
Willingly embraced all the dents, the scars and damaged heart.

This woman,
Without you she does not flourish, she does not blossom, she does not feel
Her nerves soothes with your scent blending in the aura, the charm in your smile and
The genuine tone in your voice as she heals. 

This woman, 
Wrote this for you. 



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AFH Photo//Bill Le
i’m tripping over my words but i can’t tell if i’m falling for you or just falling in general. 
my heart is pounding but i can’t tell if it wants you or it wants to want.
is it you that’s making me feel this way or is it the adrenaline pumping through my veins.
am i in love with you or am i in love with falling 



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