Monday, October 31, 2016

News Briefs 10.31.16

The Bathroom Controversy Continues

            There are often breaking news stories that make headlines for a short while, but ultimately fall through the cracks over time.  This is one of these stories.
            On October 28th, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from Gloucester County school board that wants to prevent a transgender male, Gavin Grimm, from using the boys’ bathroom.  In August, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked Grimm’s ability to use the boy’s bathroom.  This decision has extended this order until the court decides the case.  This case is further complicated by the fact that the Supreme Court still remains short-handed after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and is susceptible to an even split.
            This court centers on regulations regarding Title IX, the 1972 federal civil rights law, which prevents schools from discriminating against students on the basis of sex.  These regulations state that schools can have separate bathrooms and locker rooms for different genders.  In January 2015, the department extended these regulations, requiring that schools treat students in accordance to their gender identities, not their biological sexes.
            While Grimm won his case in federal appeals court, the court also said it would defer to the interpretation of the Education Department.  Gloucester County officials argued that the court’s ruling goes against the precedent that restrooms should be separated based on sex.
            The article discusses Gavin Grimm’s coming out story and where he is in his transitioning process.  I don’t think either of those things is relevant to whether or not he should be able to exercise his rights to use the bathroom he feels the most comfortable in.
            I have a secret for everyone who doesn't support the transition of bathrooms being aligned with gender: transgender individuals have been using the bathrooms that match their gender identity for years.  In fact, Gavin had been using the boys’ bathroom until the school got involved.  Even outside of school, he is able to use the boys’ restroom with no problem.
            I don’t think we gain anything from holding onto old standards, especially if they are harmful to students.

Read the original article here!
- Michelle Cherian


Leaving the Hospital With An Unexpected Baby

            How often do women leave the hospital with an unexpected baby? 

            That's a question I had to ask after coming across this shocking story.

           Georgia resident, Stephanie Jaegers went into the hospital believing she had kidney stones, because she was suffering from severe stomach pains. However, when she was evaluated, she was asked how far along she was in her pregnancy? Mrs. Jaegers gave the technician an "evil look" and told him that she was on her menstrual cycle.

            She was in deep shock when she entered an emergency operation with the doctor ordering an ultrasound. "I was pretty much in shock," Jaegers told CNN. 

           Her husband, Michael Jaegers was just as perplexed after becoming a new father unexpectedly, but definitely welcomes their new blessing. He says, "I went from googling "kidney stone treatments" to a panic attack over the fact that not only were we pregnant, but the baby was coming within the hour," Michael Jaegers wrote on Facebook. "Most parents have a good 9+ months to plan for such a blessing, we had 30 minutes' notice."
            Not only were the Jaegers in shock of a having new baby, but their baby was also breech. Thankfully, an hour later, their fourth child, Shaun Jude Jaegers was born at a healthy 7 lbs. 3 oz. 

            Mrs. Jaegers says, "At that point all the fear went away, and you're thinking this is how it was meant to be. This is right."

             After reading this story and finding out that they had three kids, I and I'm sure countless others ask, "How could you not know she was pregnant?" Mr. Jaegers had an answer, "We were asking the same question. We've been called stupid and dumb and ignorant, but until it happens to you, you can't really grasp it," he said. "She knows the symptoms; she knows the signs. There were zero. It was a miracle."

              After a shocking and perplexing hospital visit, a miracle and blessing was born. It was extremely gratifying and refreshing to read a story with a positive ending.

     For more, read here!

Kayla Nathaniel


The Utilitarian Question: Some or All?

The other day I was relaxing on the couch, drinking some tea while reading a book when suddenly my phone was vibrating nonstop. I tried to ignore it but I couldn't resist, so when I looked through my notifications I saw the usual: my best friend decided to tag me in some videos with cute, adorable and heartwarming dogs. There were also 50 messages from WhatsApp, all from my family and friends in Turkey. 

That's when I read this article on the refugee crisis going on in the Middle East. It talks about the Hajj family, Syrian refugees now living in Canada, thanks to the support and care of nonprofit, sponsored organizations. No, really, it's great. They were given a chance at a better life, where their kids can go to school instead of working labor-intensive jobs that pay as little as a dollar a day. They were the lucky ones among thousands of others refugees, but they had to leave family and friends behind.

Thanks to the rise of free services like Facebook and WhatsApp, it's easier today to communicate with others across the globe than it ever has been. That's why, one can imagine, many of the refugees given a second chance through foreign aid are faced with a new, more modern dilemma: How can I help my family and friends across the globe when I have been given this second chance to live in a first world country?

It's a tough question, it is. These refugees are given attentive care, with lots of financial and emotional support for a year or two, thanks to kind-hearted sponsors who pay for these families to have a better life. Do these refugees, then, have the right to request their sponsors (who are paying tens of thousands of dollars just to support them) to bring their families over? The Hajj family was embarrassed, and felt shame at having to make such a request. Eventually, however, they did, and the sponsors realized that the Hajj family had spent months worrying about this. Many sponsors began to realize that the Hajj family are not alone in their worrying. Many of the refugees coming to countries like America or Canada miss their family and friends, keeping contact with them through messaging services --sending voice recordings of one another -- just to hear the voices they miss so much.

Sponsors, then, are beginning to face a bigger question: If we save one family, should we prioritize their loved ones over other random families the UN handpicks for us? Thousands of kind-hearted people pooled their money together just to support this one family. Should they be obligated to split the resources for a second family? Should they be obligated to pool even more money for another family? It's a tough question. 

Ultimately, one of the answers is no, that they can continue supporting families like the Hajj's, and hope that once they are ready to start financially support themselves, they can bring their families on their own.

The thing is, nobody wants to help refugees out much. The United States alone only took 10,000 refugees the other year, a declining amount. Many people are unaware of the refugee crisis going on in the Middle East. There needs to be more awareness about these difficulties; only then can we truly have a discussion about this.

Onur A. Ayaz

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