Curfews have been all over the news, from Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the fatal shooting of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown, to the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, where city councilors want stricter enforcement of time restrictions. “Teen curfews are set and given to assure the safety of the adolescents,” says Jacky Hang, 17, from Boston Commun Leadership Academy. Jason Cuervas, 18, believes curfews are OK for some areas of Boston. “Curfews should only be enforced in the rough parts of the city,” says Cuervas, who goes to school in East Boston. Fifteen-year-old Katlyne Davis, from Mattapan, already has early evening curfews on weekdays and weekends – but she says she ignores them. “Most times, no, not even most times, all the time, I never follow it,” Davis says. Lowell is trying to crack down on those under 17 who are out after 11 pm. Says Lissa Seiti, 16, from Lowell Catholic High School: “I guess I would have to get arrested then.”
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I am a 17-year-old Haitian-American. One thing I have learned in my short time on this earth is that people have their own perspectives on how they see the world. On January 12, 2010, a devastating event occurred. I was home with my siblings when a family friend gave us the news that an earthquake had struck Haiti. Over 200, 000 people were declared dead. It was by far the toughest thing I’ve had to comprehend. This changed my life and my view of the world forever. At that time, I didn’t have a worry in the world outside of school, but now I know the importance of family, culture, and most of all, God. Because of that day, I have grown a lot because I realized that humans in general are all the same, whether poor, rich, black, white. That day, people from all races, age groups, and religions lost their lives -- but also came together for the people of Haiti. This has affected me both negatively and positively. It left an open wound that will always be a part of me. It was like the end of the world. So many people I knew passed away. The buildings collapsed onto adults, kids, and animals with no mercy. But it also showed me how precious life truly is. We each have to make our mark on this world, and my goal is to spread peace and happiness every place I go. My motto is: Love is for now, not for tomorrow.
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Caitlyn Undag, 15, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, rides public transportation daily and does not like the recent rise in MBTA fares. “It was already high enough,” she says during the summer. “Teens and adults are already struggling to earn money and raising the prices won’t help them.” On July 1, fares rose by 10 cents, to $1.60 for buses and $2.10 for subways. In the summer, teens free school day passes stopped working – as they will on weekends when school resumes and fares are half price. Teens might have to retreat from certain activities as they did in summer. Undag says the transport costs stopped her from going to her usual tea-house destinations this summer. Coliea Turner, 16, from the O’Bryant, rode the T often this summer and says a lot of her money went toward fees. “By the end of the week, I am broke,” Turner says. Turner says she did not go to the downtown movie theatre like she used to. “Due to the bus fares, it’s taking away my money from buying the movie ticket itself,” Turner says. Kianah Moss, 15, meanwhile, thinks that the T prices are reasonable. “They only raised the prices by 10 cents,” says Moss, who goes to the O’Bryant. “So if I could pay $2 for the train, I could pay $2.10.”
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I’m Goth. I’m also part of JROTC, Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. At first glance, that might seem like an unlikely pairing. But upon closer inspection, there’s more in common than meets the eye. I became Goth in sixth grade. I was attracted to the movement because I was getting bullied and it was a way to carve my own identity. Today, it means I wear dark clothing, I listen to heavy metal, and I stand out from others. I joined JROTC in ninth grade. At first, it was mandatory. But then I decided to stick with it. I liked that I was with people who would accept me for who I am. I liked being part of the marksmanship team. And, oddly enough, I enjoy wearing the camo uniform. When I first applied for this summer job, I was skeptical that I would get it. When I walked into the Boston Globe for my interview, I was in full Goth gear: black pants and black-and- white skeleton hoodie. We were told via email not to dress professionally but to come the way you do all time. That’s what I did and I honestly thought I would not get the job. Then, a couple of weeks later, I read my email and I found that I got the job. That made me happy because it means that they looked passed the fact that I am different and decided to give me a chance. At work, people were cool with me. I’m now back in school, have returned to JROTC, and remain Goth. While both are wildly different – Goth is rebellious and JROTC is ultra-conforming – each subculture has its own values and its own uniform, of sorts. They are more alike than you’d think.
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Abby Davila, 17, says she got her belly button and tongue piercings at 16 by a close friend without the permission of her mother. She feels as though teens should be able to get piercings without parental OKs as a way of expressing themselves, and professionals are just too expensive. Davila did not think about the dangers that come along with unprofessional piercings and says she faced many complications. Her mother later found out about the piercings and had to bring her to the hospital due to an infection. “The piercings definitely weren’t worth getting sick or getting in trouble with my mother,” says Davila, from English High School. “If going back in time were possible, I would have my mother bring me to a professional.” Piercings are a trendy way to bedazzle the body. Whether you’re talking about nose rings or belly button and eyebrow piercings, they’re totally cute. But the question is: Are they safe? There are a lot of risks that come with having a piercing -- especially if not done by a professional or at a sanitary shop. According to kidshealth.org, these include abscesses, infections, uncontrolled bleeding, and even hepatitis. Keisha Fertil, 17, says she got her lip pierced by a professional with the permission of her mother and did not face any problems after taking great care of it. “My experience at a professional shop was amazing,” says Fertil, from Charlestown High School. “Everything was extremely clean, they told me about the risk of getting a piercing, and even gave me a free care kit to clean my piercings.” Nya Ross, 17, from New Mission High School, does not want any piercings at all because she thinks they’re overrated and risky -- regardless of where you get them done. “I don’t see why I need to spend over $50 on a piece of jewelry that won’t significant change anything about me and can potentially get me sick,” says Ross. “It’s not worth the stress.”
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