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   The second hour eighth grade current issues students recently discussed Internet stings conducted by the Diamond Police Department against sex offenders from out-of-state. Four opinion papers from that class received 100 percent, with two of them, written by Amanda Brashear and Jacque Lasiter, supporting the DPD's actions, and the other two, by Michelle Nickolaisen and Lydia O'Donnell, questioning them.


By Jacque Lasiter

   Diamond Police officers are bringing sex offenders to Diamond. Should they?

   Bringing the sex offenders to Diamond gives the police the ability to capture them and get them put in jail. The offender actually attempted to do something and endangered a child. Men like this do not deserve to be out and about.

   Why bring them to Diamond? Bring them here, in the public where they plan to meet the 13-year-old girls, where they planned to have sex with them. The Diamond Police need to catch these sex offenders in the act.

   If they hadn't brought them here, then where else would these men have gone? The Diamond Police officers are more experienced at their jobs and we should not be criticizing them. They know more than we do and we should be grateful to them for getting these pervs off the streets and into jail where they belong.


By Amanda Brashear

   The police in Diamond should keep doing the internet stings. There are sex offenders all around this world and the more we put in jail, the less there will be on the streets.

   There are people who are saying that the police should not bring the sex offenders in to Diamond or for that matter, do internet stings because they are not benefiting Diamond.

   These people are self-absorbed. Diamond isn't the only town in this world and if there was a city that was catching sex offenders from Diamond, we would be grateful to it.

   If every police office did this just in the four-state area, then the number of sex offenders would drop greatly.

   The Diamond Police Department should keep looking on the internet for sex offenders. Who knows, they might be saving thousands of lives.


By Michelle Nickolaisen

   Cops shouldn't be allowed to drag sex offenders into Diamond. They are endangering the public with these people being in town.

   Sex offenders are enough of a danger without getting their attention. When you take a sex offender and tell him to go to a school, on the first day of school, there is a problem. That person could have walked off with any one of the students enrolling, that child possibly never to be seen again or to be seen again, but traumatized beyond belief.

   Yes, sex offenders should be caught. Yes, it's important for them to be punished. However, they do not not need to be lured to Diamond, where they could easily do tons of damage. It's a small town, easy to go through, kidnap a child and keep driving.

   In conclusion, police should not be allowed to lure sex offenders to Diamond.


By Lydia O'Donnell

   Pardon me here, but are the Diamond Police at a level of terminal boredom to which they have to try to bring down the crime rate in Michigan? Michigan, not Missouri, where the taxpayers' money is supposed to be going, but Michigan.

   There would be no problem with this, except that their paycheck comes from Missouri and Missouri is where their service is supposed to be used. Sure, the state begin with the same letter, but they aren't exactly the same place. Diamond has realized that, right?

   The police also literally lured this guy down here. Lured, but not lured to the point where it would be illegal. The man that they caught had actually never been caught for anything before and was charged for some attempteds. This guy will be charged in Missouri courts, the money of the taxpayers will feed him and clothe him until his trial. Since these charges will be this man's first offense, he will most likely get probation and all this Missouri money will be wasted on a Michigan citizen.

   The state budget is stressed tight right now and education is being cut instead of stuff like this. Amazing.

   Where the police caught this not even yet offender is offensive. They caught him in front of the school while there were students there. Some of these students were even young teenage girls, the type that this guy might have preyed upon.

   When the police lured the guy down here, with an officer posing as a teenage girl, there wasn't a picture of that girl given to him. How was it that they expected him to pick out the vcitim that they had set up for him?

   This guy could have abducted and raped a Diamond student and it would have been the police's fault. After all, they had just lured the guy down here and given him a terrific opportunity to take his pick of young teenage girls.

   THe worst thing about this case is, it probably won't end up being isolated and how many more men like this will the Diamond Police lead down to Diamond before something goes wrong and the wrong girl ends up being abducted?


Students in Mr. Randy Turner's Sixth Grade Current Issues class did a twist on a traditional back-to-school assignment last fall. Instead of writing about what they did over summer vacation, the students wrote about what they wished they would have done during summer vacation. Sheena Chung's paper made the Writers' Wall of Fame.


By Sheena Chung

What I wanted to do for the summer was to visit my aunts, uncles, and my cousins or as they are known in the Vietnamese custom, my brothers and sisters.

They live in Asia in the country of Vietnam and in the city named Hue. I have been wanting to visit them since I was little. I have never ever in my life seen what they look like in picture or in person. Also, I have never ever heard them talk in person or on the telephone.

That is my wished for vacation...to visit my relatives in Hue, Vietnam, in Asia so I can meet relatives I have never met.

Students in the seventh grade current issues class examined the controversy over a court's decision this summer to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from schools because of the use of the words "Under God" in its text. Three students, Courtney Sweet, Sarah Sweet, and Stephanie Taylor, made the Writers' Wall of Fame.


By Courtney Sweet

Kids should be able to say the Pledge of Allegiance with "under God." If they don't want to, then they should just skip "under God," even though that is not right. Or if they don't even want to say it at all, don't make them. Just excuse the kids who don't want to say it.

If you ban the Pledge of Allegiance, you would probably even have a bigger uproar. It's a tradition that has been going on since the 1890s. You just can't stop it. It wouldn't be normal to take it away.

Even if you did, you still couldn't stop kids from saying it. They could say it in their heads. You would be violating other kids' rights who want to say it, so if you take it away you would be making a big mistake. Tell the person who is complaining just to go back where he came from. Or just kick him into Mexico or Canada. Everybody who is against under God in the Pledge should just be kicked out of the U. S.

Or we could just give them their own little school so they could have their own laws.


By Sarah Sweet

The Pledge of Allegiance should stay the same. The pledge was made to show our patriotism, but in 1953, "under God" was added to show we're one country under God, not a split country like Germany was.

Some people say that we are a one-religion country for having "under God" in our pledge, but in other countries they have sayings that have to do with religion. If Americans who lived in another country had a problem with that, they would be punished or not heard by judges or officials.

So most people are lucky that we will respect their opinions and listen to their voices. If some people can't respect the thought that saying "under God' is more of a tradition than showing we are a one-religion country, then they should respect our First Amendment saying that we have a right of free religion and speech.

Most of those people who are complaining are probably thinking we are violating their rights, but if we looked at it from that point of view then they are also violating our rights.

So it is a two-way street when we are talking about such a touchy subject. An easy solution would be a moment of silence or even letting those people who do not want to say the pledge to say something else or nothing at all.


By Stephanie Taylor

Should we keep "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance?

Some people say that we should. I agree. Under God has been in it for as long as I can remember. For 50 years, it hasn't been a problem. Now it is due to a conflict with religion.

America is known for freedom of religion. If the people want to say "under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance, they should have a right to. If they don't want to then they shouldn't have to. If people are offended by it, then you could make some compromises. For instance, if there is a problem in a classroom, then instead of saying the pledge as a class you could just take a moment of silence so the kids could do what they want to do.

How about prayer in school, is it right? For example, we prayed for Dr. Smith. When people complain about prayer in school, they should put themselves in others' shoes as if something bad has happened in their town. They probably wouldn't care for prayer in school. If they don't want to pray, then they can just ignore others when they say prayers.

In the U. S., we have freedom of speech. Isn't that the same as freedom of prayer? We can say what we believe is right. People say things that are not true or that hurt someone. They let people get by with that. So why can't we say prayers or "under God?" It's the same. It's even better. What's wrong with it. Nothing. It should be your decision whether or not to pray or to say "under God."

People just can't see others' points of view. They don't care what others think and they are usually the ones who complain. If they want to say that's wrong, we can say it's right and stand up for it. It's not something to just ignore. It's something that is ...religion and that's what so great about America.

We have the right to say what we want when we want to, the freedom to our own religion and no one can stop that. When we say "under God," it's true. We live under God.




(Note; The following essay received first place in the spring 2002 Diamond Middle School Student Council Writing Contest.)

   In today's world, teenagers have a lot to deal with. Every day we have to endure life with manic mothers, bratty brothers, boyfriends, girlfriends, crushes, teachers, homework the list seems to never end. As if this weren't enough, we each have our own personal worries. The genius worries he won't be valedictorian; the head cheerleader worries her hair is the wrong shade of artificial blonde; the writer worries her work stinks. Sometimes I wonder how we survive. But there is one problem that is more serious than the small ones and makes even the bigger problems seem trivial. We see it everyday, almost everywhere we go. It's the biggest problem facing teenagers today- rudeness.

Most teenagers don't want to admit that insolence is virtually everywhere. It's at school while were trampling each other in the hallway and gossiping about a person we don't even know. It's at home when were fighting with our brother over the remote control and getting yelled at by our parents for borrowing something without asking. For some people it's a part of their lifestyle to pick; for others, it's their lifestyle being picked on. Rudeness is a daily thing that teenagers face, no matter what side they're on.

   Being mean is something that we've all been guilty of, whether we admit it or not. We think that we're only teasing, but we don't see how much whatever we said or did hurt the other person. When we get teased ourselves, though, it's a different story. Then it's cruel and the other person is just being downright mean. That's why teenagers have such a difficult time facing the problem of rudeness- they can dish it, but they can't take it.

   Much of the pain caused by the problem of rudeness is internal pain that only the one feeling it knows about. One guilty of being cruel could later feel the regret of saying what they said or doing what they did. Of course, the person at the receiving end of the impoliteness also goes through grief, wondering what they did to deserve such adverse treatment. Last, but not least, is the poor teenager that has to stand back and watch the rudeness of the people around them. Whether it be a parent yelling at a coach or a friend being malicious to another friend, there's a certain feeling of hopelessness when you feel like there's nothing you can do.

   Another reason that rudeness is the biggest dilemma teenagers are struggling with is because it affects all of us, not just some. It involves the ones that are being rude, who may go on to being mean to people simply because they arent aware of the offensiveness of their actions. It includes the ones being the object of rudeness, who could either choose to be rude back to their offenders or just take it silently. Rudeness is a painful thing, because it hurts everyone involved and involves each and every one of us.

   Many of my fellow teenagers have forgotten about common courtesy- you know, those manners in the form of little phrases that our parents taught us when we were two, that we learned to say in between mouthfuls of dirt. Expressions like please, thank you, I'm sorry, excuse me. It's like we've forgotten how to use them. Fights and ended friendships result from a lack of good manners, because no one wants to be friends with a person that's mean all the time. If we'd start being nicer to each other, rudeness wouldn't be one of the biggest problems that teenagers today are up against.

   If teenagers are rude, in the end they are only hurting themselves. They're losing the respect of teachers when they're rude in the classroom. They're turning their classmates and other friends into enemies when they speak or act in a cruel way. They're losing the trust of their parents when they're rude at home. Rude teenagers are losing the support of the people that are most important in their lives when they act disrespectfully.

   Rudeness has begun to take over our lives. Its so common now that impoliteness is a daily thing and that's not how it should be. We're supposed to be compassionate with one another, not cruel. There are no excuses for being mean to other people. Until we all learn that, though, the biggest problem challenging teenagers today will be the colossal issue of habitual rudeness.




(Note: The following short story received first place in the recent Diamond Middle School Student Council Writing Contest.)

   A late October night was the first time Laurie actually talked to him. She had caught smiles and glances from him for about two weeks now, but Laurie never thought she would talk to him. I mean, this is Justin LaMark were talking about. Tall, cute, popular basketball player who happens to be a junior! And Laurie is just in eighth grade! Laurie was flattered and all, but she swore off guys after the incident a year ago. Whoever would have thought she'd give him a chance. Not Laurie, for sure. But it happened.

   Laurie was helping out at the local spookhouse the school support club puts on every year and so was Justin that night. As Laurie walked across the sidewalk in front of the spookhouse toward her mother she passed Justin who quietly, but smoothly, said, "Are you too good to talk to me or something?"

   Laurie cracked a smile and shook her head no. "Here we go, just smile and nod and maybe he'll lose interest," she thought. But there was something different about Justin that drew her to him. Laurie and Justin got to talking and soon Laurie knew more about him than she ever thought she would.

   As they talked, Laurie's mother watched intently as her young daughter held a conversation with an almost legal adult. That night when Laurie lay in bed she recalled her conversation with Justin and couldn't figure out what was so different and alluring about him. Still, she told herself that all the guys were the same, all only after one thing.

   Two weeks passed before Laurie saw Justin again. It was homecoming night for football season. The crowd was excited and people were everywhere. Laurie was feeling guilty about wanting to see Justin, especially since she was in the place she was. "How can I want to see a guy so bad when I'm in the place where a guy did this to me," she thought disgustedly. Anyway she wouldn't think about that now, the game had started. Fourth quarter was almost over when Justin came up behind Laurie and lightly grabbed her waist. "Hey, sweetie, what's up?"

   "Not much," replied Laurie, a little uneasy at the way he touched her. Soon the conversation exploded again from there. When the game was over, Justin asked Laurie for her number. Laurie hesitated and thoughts came rushing into her mind of things she didn't want to think about. "Well, there's this other guy kinda," Laurie lied. But then she looked up into his face and caught hold of his brown eyes. "Well, why not. It's just talking," she replied. Justin's face lit up as he programmed her number into his cell phone.

   Once again as Laurie lay in bed she thought about tonight and felt sick and guilty all at once. She was excited that Justin cared enough to ask for her number, but she couldn't believe she let her guard down, especially at the place where she swore off guys for life. "Oh well, he probably won't even call," Laurie thought as she drifted off to sleep.

   Justin called Laurie every night and soon Laurie felt like she could maybe trust him a little, just maybe. But she wouldn't let Justin ever know this. Oh, no, because no matter how good some guys might seem, they all have that bad, sick side to them. Laurie knew from experience. They continued talking for about two months when Justin started talking about his feelings for Laurie. At first, Laurie didnt know what to think. So many thoughts went through her mind about him, relationships and that awful night at the football field a year ago.

   One day, Justin was talking about his feelings for Laurie again and how he wanted to be with her and to have her for his girlfriend. Laurie never really answered Justin when he spoke of such far out ideas and wishes. But today was different. Laurie just had to tell Justin why she couldn't be with him. It was so weird because Laurie had never told anyone what she was about to tell Justin, except for her mother, father and lawyer. Laurie blurted out, "I can't be with you because I don't trust any guys! All guys have a dark, sick, heartless side to them and I dont want something like that in my life!"

   Justin got very quiet. "Why can't you trust any guys? And what makes you think I'm like all guys?"

   Laurie was in shock, partly because she had just revealed a small portion of her true, unstable past and becauase Justin asked a question that Laurie had never thought about. Why did she think Justin was like all other guys? So far, he had proven to be gentle and true. But then again so had David and Mikeal. "I can't trust guys because I've just had a past experience that...um...I was taken advantage of by some guys." Laurie couldn't believe what had just come out of her mouth. She had kept a secret for a year from her own brother and best friend and some guy whom she had known for only a short while was now aware that she had been raped. Laurie let go of everything and told Justin the whole story from beginning to end. About how she knew both the boys for years, how it happened around the same time just the year before in the place where she gave Justin her number, how they kept everything from everyone, how she couldn't eat or sleep for weeks and how it made her believe that all guys were liars and evil, but just showed it in different ways. Justin listened intently and when Laurie was finished, he told her that her feelings were understandable, but she was wrong about all guys being evil and liars. He said he wasn't and he said he would wait however long Laurie wanted to wait to talk to him or to maybe even be with him. This relieved Laurie and now she didn't feel bad or stupid for revealing part of herself to this guy. She felt happy that she had told him. It even brought them a little closer.

   Months went on and they continued to talk. Laurie had finally found a guy that she could trust completely and was very content with her life. Soon people began to hear throughout the junior high school and high school that there might be a "Justin and Laurie." People began coming up to Laurie and telling her that Justin wasn't a good guy and how she could do better. People were telling Laurie of all Justin's faults, but Laurie didn't care because she felt that she shared her biggest fault with him about a month ago and Justin accepted her for who she really was, stable or unstable.

   Still, today people tell Laurie she is just wasting her time talking to him and how he isn't a good guy, bot to Laurie, Justin was her second chance at life. Justin got Laurie to open up, to trust and really live life again, just by being herself. Laurie will always love Justin, faults and all, just as he loved Laurie.

2001-2002 Wall of Fame Papers
Efforts to keep the Pledge of Allegiance from being said at a school in Madison, Wisconsin recently were discussed by the seventh and eighth grade current issues classes. Some of the A papers are reprinted below:

By Lydia O'Donnell
The Pledge of Allegiance should be said in public schools. The people who disagree with the Pledge of Allegiance saying "under God" in it because it might offend somebody who doesn't believe in God are doing something for those people instead of doing something for themselves.
Those people are pretty much bringing the Pledge of Allegiance problem on themselves. For instance, in Madison, Wisconsin, they had a whole school board meeting about whether they should say the Pledge of Allegiance or not. At first, they voted that they shouldn't be able to say it three to two and they had a big uproar and the votes changed in favor of the pledge four to one.
The Pledge of Allegiance did not originally have the "under God" in it, which is what so many people have a problem with. First, why couldn't they have left the Pledge the way it was? If they hadn't changed the pledge, we probably wouldn't have this problem today. For example, they changed that without even getting Bellamy's (the person who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance) permission to change it. They could always change it back to the way it originally was. But then there would be a big, humongous uproar in favor of the way the Pledge is now.
Some people say that the under God part in the Pledge is like saying something like our God is better than your God kind of thing. Second, they think it may end up offending somebody. That is not what the Pledge says it all and it should be able to be said in all public schools.

By Leanne Ross

The Pledge of Allegiance should still be said even though it contains the phrase "under God."
Whether or not the Pledge of Allegiance should be said is a question being asked at schools throughout the nation. For example, people from a school in Madison, Wisconsin, just had a meeting discussing whether or not the Pledge of Allegiance should be said at their school. Instead, they are going to have the first verse of The Star Spangled Banner due to the fact that the law states that one of those two has to be heard at school.
Saying the Pledge of Allegiance is respectful. When we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we are showing our respect for the country. We are taking on the duty of being loyal to our country. Some people say that we are stupid by pledging our allegiance to a piece of cloth. Well, when we pledge our allegiance to our flag, we are also pledging allegiance to what the flag stands for...our country. That is why it is respectful to say the Pledge of Allegiance.
Plus, there are several exceptional reasons for the phrase "under God," to be said in the Pledge of Allegiance. The phrase was first inserted during the "Red Scare." This phraase helps to show that we are a united nationa and that Christianity is our lead religion. Also, it helps to prove that we are a unified country that is brave, pure and strong.
However, there are many people who disagree. They think that it is forcing people to choose a Christian religion over all other religions by making the statement "under God." Other people think that it is foolish to repeat a pledge due to it being a tradition.
These people are wrong. It is not forcing them to choose Christianity over all other religions. It is just showing that Christianity is our lead religion. Plus, there are many other religions that believe in God. Also, it isn't foolish to say the Pledge of Allegiance. We don't say it due to it being a tradition, we say it to show our respect and loyalty to our country.
In conclusion, the Pledge of Allegiance should still be said, even though it contains the phrase "under God."

By Liz Arnold

The Pledge of Allegiance should be allowed in schools. It is showing our patriotism for our great country. Just because it says "under God," that is no reason for it to be taken out of schools.
However, the opposing side, including the ACLU, says that the Pledge of Allegiance is making students feel uncomfortable saying "under God" if they do not believe in God.
And yet, it still remains that saying the Pledge of Allegiance is not pressuring anybody to believe in something they don't want to. If the person is an atheist, he could simply not say the Pledge of Allegiance or he could skip those two words that seem to bother them so much. Therefore, the people who do believe in some sort of god could say the Pledge of Allegiance and feel that they are supporting their country.
The greatest thing about our country is that we are free. And one of our freedoms is that we are allowed to worship who we want and believe what we want. And, we are free to show our faith when and where we want. If they take that freedom away, pretty soon, our country will lose all of its freedoms.

By John Gossard
The Pledge of Allegiance should be kept in schools across America.
After all, what's so bad about supporting this country, the same country that gave us the choice of freedom of speech? It's dumb to try and take away this pledge to our great country, especially during this time of crisis. The ACLU is just taking advantage of the nation's crisis.
Consider this, the ACLU just now decided to prosecute against the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. They say that in times like this it is most important to uphold the Constitution of American citizens. I agree. They should uphold the American Constitution, but we still have rights, as stated in the Bill of Rights. And in the Bill of Rights, there is the freedom of speech. This freedom says we can express ourselves in speaking freedly. By saying the Pledge of Allegiance, we are practicing our freedom of speech, our freedom to stand up for what we believe in and our freedom to be patriots of this great nation.
Now, you make the conclusion. Should we let ourselves be pushed around by the ACLU or do we stand up for our rights. I will stand up for mine.

By Adam Marney
The Pledge of Allegiance should have "under God" in it. No one said anything about it until now and the Pledge of Allegiance covers every religion.
The people who said that "under God" should not be in the Pledge of Allegiance say that because they do not believe in God or have a different religion.
There are more Americans who believe in God than the American who do not believe in Him, therefore should leave "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance."
The people do not have to say the Pledge of Allegiance. If they don't want to say the pledge, they have no right to be in this country. They do not respect this country for what it stands for.
The people of America should leave our songs and sayings about this country alone. No one had a problem with them until now.

The village of Skokie, Ill, a suburb of Chicago, was shaken from its normal quiet existence in 1977 when Frank Collin, head of the American Nazi Party sought permission to hold a march in the city. The idea drew considerable opposition from most townspeople, especially the 40 percent who were Jewish, and who included a large number of Holocaust survivors. During the past two weeks, students in Mr. Randy Turner's Current Issues class, as part of a unit on the First Amendment, have explored both sides of the issue. Highlights included student debates and the viewing of the 1981 TV movie, "Skokie," starring the late Danny Kaye, which examined the controversy. The Skokie lesson concluded Thursday and Friday as students wrote opinion papers on the question, "Should the Nazis Be Allowed to March in Skokie, Ill? The top papers are reprinted below.

By Nicki Dame
The Nazis shouldn't be allowed to march in Skokie. They are threatening the Jews and reminding them of a bad time in their lives.
The Nazis are marching specifically in Skokie to taunt the Jews who survived the Holocaust. Even though the Nazis have the right to march there it could get violent. Either the Nazis will get violent or the Jews will.
The Nazis should be able to march, just not in Skokie. If I were the leader of the Nazis, I would march in Chicago or in a big city such as that. They've already have all the publicity they need, they shouldn't have to march in Skokie. If they want to get the Jews' attention, they should send a personal message to them.
In conclusion, the Nazis shouldn't be able to march in Skokie.

By Lauren Fetters
Should the Nazis be allowed to march in Skokie?
The Nazis should be allowed to march in Skokie because everyone deserves to be respected and to have their rights protected by the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects the rights of everyone, not just the majority. America is all about having personal freedom and it's not fair when people try to take it away from other people just because of issues from the past. Things have changed and just because things weren't fair a long time ago, doesn't mean it should be like that now.
What's wrong with America today is that most people believe the only right way, is their way. To those people, I say they need to move to a country where everyone believes what they do, because in America everyone and everyone's beliefs are equal and people need to respect that.

By Amanda McKee
No, the Nazis should not be able to march in Skokie because that town is full of Holocaust survivors and the relatives of people who were killed in the Holocaust by the Nazis. It is horrible that the Nazis would want to march in a town where the people who would be witnessing it would have all those horrible memories of murder and torture.
Although I totally believe that everyone has the right to free speech and the right to petition and assemble, under certain circumstances, the rights to free speech should be limited and they are, but not as much as they should be.
Under certain circumstances, people should not have the right to free speech or he freedom to assemble and in this case when the Nazis are purposely causing emotional harm by bringing up these horrible memories and for inciting violence. They should not be allowed to march.

By Casey Patterson
If anyone is to have justice, then the justice of all must be protected and the rights of no one are safe unless everyone's rights are protected.
If the Democrats or Jews or Canadiens are allowed to talk in America, then the Nazis must be allowed to march and give their opinions, no matter how much they are opposed.
Everyone is allowed to speak, according to the First Amendment. Now if your rights are to be protected, then the Nazis' rights must be protected, because if the group today that 99 percent of America disagrees with, tomorow it will be the group 95 percent disagrees with, until you must have 100 percent of America backing you up to even speak. Now, do you want that? If you have any common sense, you probably said no.
So, if we aren't going to allow Nazis to have a parade because it offends someone, then why do we allow Christmas parades? Jews and Muslims most likely find them offensive. Then why do we allow Christmas parades" Only because it is agreed on by that magic 95 percent of the population.
And most of all, by not allowing Nazis to march, you just give the Nazis one more form of publicity and help them grow. Now if you are opposed to the march, you're also most likely opposed to a larger Nazi empire.
So we must protect the Nazis' rights.

By Tyler Youngblood

Nazis should not be able to march in the town of Skokie. Yes, they do have rights, but so what? They are a hate group. They hate Jews and yes, they have the freedom to do that, but if they go into that town with half of the population Jewish, then they are not going to just sit there and pull down the curtains because last time they did that, they had the Holocaust and millions of Jews died.
Others were put in concentration camps with numbers tattooed on their arms so that they can't forget what happened.
The people in Skokie will fight back like they said in the movie. They will bring baseball bats, anything to stop the Nazis from coming into their town. They will kill for what they believe in. I would, because if I were in the Holocaust and I were still alive and I heard Nazis were coming, I would get all of my friends and we would stand there ready for them to come into town.

By Cole Shipman

Nazis should be allowed to march in Skokie. It's freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, all protected under the First Amendment.
The First Amendment doesn't only protect the popular, but the unpopular, also. You can't have civil liberties by denying them to the unpopular.
The Jews don't hvae to come and watch. They can stay home and ignore the Nazis. If they can't hear or see it, they won't get offended by it. It's a simple concept. It's not that hard to do!
It only would have lasted 20 minutes. It's not like it's going to kill anybody.
The Nazis had no intention of hurting anybody so the Skokie Council had no right to say that they can't come in.
I don't agree with the Nazis, but I do agree with the First Amendment and everything it protects.

By Liz Arnold

The Nazis should not be allowed to march in Skokie, Ill. While they do have the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, they do not have the right to pose a threat of violence and intimidate the Jewish population in Skokie.
Some people are relating this situation to Martin Luther King Jr.'s march. This is a completely different situation. Martin Luther King Jr.'s march was for a good cause, equal rights for black Americans. The Nazis think they are being deprived of their rights, but that is not true. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that Americans or anyone else have the right to threaten and intimidate anyone.
There are undoubtedly survivors of the Holocaust in Skokie, Ill., who should not have to relive the horrible memories just because they want to show that they have more power.
So, in conclusion, the American Nazi Party should not be allowed to march.

By John Gossard
Should the Nazis march in Skokie? The answer is no. What other way is there to put it? There is none, except to explain why. Nazis marching in Skokie for publicity is causing more than just the nation watching them, but there is representation of hatred and death. The Nazis marching in full uniform and wearing swastikas in front of thousands of Jews only makes Holocaust survivors' memories come back.
For the people of Skokie, this is only a violation of why they came here from Germany after the Holocaust, to be free of persecution because of religion and their race. And the Nazis are pleading the First Amendment. They say the First Amendment gives them the right to march. The First Amendment gives people the freedom of speech, not the freedom to spread hatred.
Their lawyer called this a heckler's veto, trying to stop someone that you disagree with. But there aren't just hecklers, these are followers of people who killed over 6 million Jews during World War II.
These people who call themselves Americans don't deserve to march in Skokie and shouldn't.

The terrorist attack on New York City and Washington, D. C. affected all Americans. Eighth grade students in Mr. Randy Turner's current issues class at Diamond Middle School tackled the subject, offering various viewpoints to consider. Five students received A grades for their papers and their papers are reprinted here on our electronic Wall of Fame.

By Liz Arnold
A horrible tragedy has been brought upon our great country. This past week has seen the worst act of terrorism ever brought on our country. It is the worst thing to happen to our country since Pearl Harbor, which occurred Dec. 7, 1941.
About 4,000 people are missing or dead. President Bush said that whoever has caused this tragedy will be found and dealt with. He is right. Whoever has caused this many innocent people to die should be dealt with harshly.
The positive side to this is that Americans are pulling together to help those who are injured and comforting the families of those who died in the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. This proves that Americans will not stand for terrorism and they will pull together to stop it.

By Amanda McKee
The destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon or a portion of the Pentagon is outrageous. To think people are deluded enough to plan such a horrible terrorist act. It is so horrible that all those people on the four jets that crashed, two into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the final plane that crashed just outside of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, died.
Pride is felt toward the male passengers on Flight 93 for their great bravery in such a terrible situation. That they had so much courage to stand up to the hijackers who took over the plane lets us know who some of the heroes of this terrorist act are. Those men pulled together to save the lives of the people in Air Force One or some other American landmark. But since the real target may have been George Bush, our president, the person we need to guide us to safety, I am thankful that they were thinking of the big picture. I just wish that this would have never happened and that whoever is responsible is harshly punished.

By Kayla Bass
The terrorist attack in New York on Tuesday was terrible. The people who hijacked the plane and crashed it into the twin towers and the Pentagon were stupid. They should have at least let all the people who were on the plane get off instead of killing a lot of innocent people who didn't do anything.
President Bush did a good job taking care of what happened, but he should tried to give a better speech than he did. He kind of stuttered a little bit while giving his speech on TV. The president thinks that Osama bin Laden was behind the bombing and if he did it then we should go over and talk to him. We shouldn't try to go over and bomb them just because they bombed us. We shouldn't handle things the way other people handle them. If we go over and bomb Osama bin Laden, we will kill a lot of innocent people over there and that would be wrong.
President Bush should try to keep this from going into a war and try to keep our country safe. If we go into a war, it's just going to stir up things a lot more and then a lot more innocent people will die and more Americans will be dead than right now. We will have a lot worse crisis than we do now.

By Lauren Fetters
The United States hasn't been attacked on its own ground for 60 years and as soon as President George W. Bush has enough proof of who attacked us and who helped with the attacking, we will bomb all the countries in the Middle East. That's not what needs to be done. If we attack and bomb all of those countries, millions of innocent people will be killed, just like the 4,700 killed on our land. It's not right what the terrorists did to those 4,700 people who were in the Trade Towers or in the Pentagon, but that doesn't mean we should make them suffer, also. We need to punish whoever did this to us and to let the world know that we won't take anything from anyone, but we shouldn't kill everyone we disagree with to prove that point. That's not what we are about because we, as Americans, are supposed to take consideration of everyone as individuals, and by bombing all these countries and killing millions of people, we aren't acting as true Americans.
Worldwide violence isn't the answer to this, but I'm not sure what is.

By Carra Shaffer
The attack on America was a wakeup call for people all over America. The terrorist attack made a lot of people look at themselves, but the ones that looked at themselves the most are the Christians.
They are scared that all of the prophecies in Revelations are going to come true. They realized that they needed to get it together because there are so many people that are not saved and if they are, they're not acting like it.
Another reason it was a wakeup call for Christians is because the Christians aren't acting like Christians. If a lot of people who called themselves Christians would have died on Tuesday, they would not have gone to heaven.
This was only one of the many wakeup calls God has given us and the biggest, so we need to wake up. George W. Bush is handling this situation very well. He is turning to God in this matter and acting like a leader.
God is moving in America and will continue.

Skokie papers make Wall of Fame

   Eighth graders in the Current Issues class have been studying the proposed Nazi march in Skokie, Ill., in 1977 and 1978. The American Nazi Party, under the leadership of Frank Collin, petitioned to march in Skokie, a Chicago suburb of 70,000, which had a population of 30,000 Jews, including a large number of Holocaust survivors. The question the eighth graders discussed and debated during the past week was: Do the Nazis have the right under the First Amendment to march in Skokie? The unit concluded Tuesday, Sept. 3, with each student writing an opinion paper on the subject. Those making "A" grades are printed below.
By Leanne Ross
   The Nazis should not be able to march in Skokie!
   Over 30 years ago, six million Jews were tortured to death by Nazis. In the town of Skokie, almost 60 percent of its population is Jewish. Several of these Jews were survivors of the Holocaust or relatives of  people who were in it. These people are not going to put up with the Nazis marching in their town. They said that they would do everything they could to stop them. If violence is going to occur during the march, then the Nazis should not be able to march.
   The only reason the Nazis are wanting to march is to mentally torture the Jews in the town of Skokie. The Nazis were responsible for the Holocaust decades ago and now are just wanting to rub it in the Jews' faces. They know that the fact that they can come into the Jews' territory scares them to death. That is why they want to march and that is also why they should not be able to march.
   Some people say that the Nazis are given the right to march by the First Amendment. However, they are not. The First Amendment says that they are able to gather and march as long as it is peacefully. If they marched in Skokie, it would not be very peaceful. So, they should not be able to march in Skokie.
   In conclusion, the Nazis should not be able to march in Skokie, Ill. It would only be trouble and torture to the people in that town.
By Michelle Nickolaisen
   The Nazis should not be able to march in Skokie. They are just attempting to march for the pure reason of causing mental distress to the Holocaust survivors.
   Nazis are a group focused on violence. They discriminate based on race and sexual orientation. They are against what the basis of America is, freedom for all.
   The neo-Nazis who were preparing a march in Skokie chose that suburb of Chicago for one reason: The majority of it is Jewish. And out of those Jewish people, the majority are Holocaust survivors. Why else would they pick Skokie out of the many other Chicago suburbs? They wanted to choose a place where they could cause extreme distress to its inhabitants.
   The argument that the First Amendment applies to Nazis, too, should be said. If we let the Nazis who have the morals of murderers and are modeling themselves after killers of over six million march, what's next? Murderers' conventions? Thieves having meetings on how to steal?
   In conclusion, the Nazis shouldn't be able to march in Skokie for all of the reasons listed above. The Nazis are against the foundations of our country.
By Stacia Martens
   The First Amendment applies to everyone in America. If neo-Nazis live in America, they should have rights as well as anyone else. Although they should just go find another town to march in instead of Skokie, which has 30,000 of 70,000 Jewish.
   Yes, the Nazis did kill six million people under Hitler, but those Nazis are not the ones wanting to march in Skokie. They are just presenting what they believe in. The Jewish population doesn't have to watch or be there during the march.
   When the Jewish Defense League argued in court about the Jewish people having emotional trauma if the Nazis marched, most people would think that the whole issue brings up emotional trauma, so what's the point?
   The American Civil Liberties Union has a point in defending the Nazis. In defending them, it is defending the First Amendment and we shouldn't throw away the First Amendment in one case. Where would we draw the line if we let it go in this case?
By James Bryant
   The Nazis don't have a right to march in Skokie. They have American rights, but they shouldn't be able to do whatever they want wherever they want. Skokie's population is 40 percent Jews and a lot of them are Holocaust survivors. The Jews who live there and are Holocaust survivors might become emotionally distressed. The Nazis don't have a right to march in Skokie.
   Even though the Nazis have rights, they don't have the right to march in full uniform, displaying the swastika in Skokie. They might cause Jews to flee Skokie. They might say the Nazis are coming back to get them and finish killing their families.
   The Nazis can march in other towns that don't have Holocaust survivors. The Holocaust survivors could become distressed and could even commit suicide. The Nazis killed six million Jews in the Holocaust and these people are coming and tryuing to march in a city that has Jews for more than one-third of its population. They may not be the Nazis who killed all of those Jews, but they are showing themselve as those Nazis, therefore they should not be allowed to make the Jews become violent. The Nazis can march in other cities that don't have Holocaust survivors.
   Why didn't the Nazis want to march in cities like New York City or Los Angeles and leave Skokie alone? They wanted to torture the Jews. They show that they can still torture them and get away with it. The Nazis could have saved time by just marching in a different city and probably more people would have attended. The Nazis who wanted to march in Skokie were people who were wanting to torture the Holocaust survivors. If the Nazis had marched in Skokie, there would have been violence.
   The Nazis ended up marching in Chicago and only 12 people attended. They shouldn't be able to try to get Americans to become Nazis because the Americans would be putting down the Jews that are around them.
   Mr. Collin made the right decision to march in Chicago, but he made a bad choice in trying to get Americans to become Nazis.

Fetters, Bradley win writing contests

   Lauren Fetters and Alicia Bradley were the top winners in the first Diamond Middle School Student Council Writing Contest. Fetters took first place in the short story category, with Bradley winning the essay contest. First prize winners received $15 apiece. The initial round of the contest was judged by current issues teacher Mr. Randy Turner. The winners were selected by a panel consisting of freshmen Amanda Ferguson, Anthony Shipman and Sarah Simpson, all of whom had been winners in writing contests in Mr. Turner's class during previous years.
   Others placing in the Short Story Contest were: 2. Alicia Bradley, 3. Carra Shaffer, 4. Lacey Carneal, 5. Zach Towers, 6. Nicki Dame, 7, Kasey Hockman, 8. Shane Gallagher, 9. Jodi Brown, 10. Shannon Keefer and honorable mention, Blake Broaddus, Michelle Darr, John Gossard, Colton Griffin, Crystal Harrell, Amanda McKee, Casey Patterson, Darci Price, Leanne Ross and Jessica Webb.
   Others placing in the Essay Contest were: 2. Liz Arnold, 3. Brittney Stevens, 4. Nicki Dame, 5. Amanda McKee, 6. Leanne Ross, 7. Katy Hext, 8. Lydia O'Donnell, 9. Shane Gallagher, 10. Tanner Stevens, honorable mention Maggie Bowman, Amanda Brashear, Brittany Busse, Chris Dalgleish, Michelle Darr, Caleb DeVillier, Ricki Fountain, John Gossard, Eli Hicks and Casey Patterson.
   Some of the winning entries will be featured on this page over the summer months.
Wall of Fame Papers
Sixth graders in the Current Issues class held a debate on the subject of school uniforms Nov. 19. On Nov. 20, they wrote opinion papers on the topic. Some of the ones that received A grades are featured on this page.

By Sarah Sweet
We should not have school uniforms. Kids have a right to express themselves. Also, they are protected by the First Amendment, which gives even kids the right or freedom to express themselves.
Kids may not be as civilized in some ways as they were when this amendment was written, but if they did not need uniforms when this amendment was written to protect kids from this, we should not have them today.
Also, if our parents, our grandparents and so forth do not have to wear uniforms while they are working, then kids shouldn't while they are at school, which to most kids is work.
Another reason is kids will have to get used to being made fun of. All through life, a person will be made fun of for something. One day they will have to figure out that they can't go home and cry to mommy or daddy, saying that they got made fun of. Kids have to learn to deal with these issues by themselves.

By Stephanie Taylor
School uniforms should be banned. Without uniforms, kids get the chance to express how they feel. If they feel mad, sad or gloomy, they can wear dull colors. If they are feeling happy, excited or anxious, they can wear bright colors.
Studies have shown that schools with uniforms have a lower attendance than schools without uniforms. Studies have also shown that kids with uniforms feel that they are in prison.
With school uniforms, kids will not be able to show school spirit as much. They can't wear jerseys or cheerleading outfits.
Students with uniforms are most likely to be more snobby than others.

By Becca Warthen
We should not have school uniforms. Some people say that uniforms bring up your self esteem. I say how? You can still get picked on if you were getting picked on before. It might not change their attitudes if they have attitude problems. It might just make their attitude problems worse.
What if none of the students wore their uniforms to school? That is my question. What would the school board do?
If something happeans like at Columbine in Colorado a couple of years ago how would they tell who the shooters were. "Uh, a kid with a uniform" would probably be their answer to the question.
If we ever have uniforms at our school, I would most likely start going to a different school.

By Rylee Tomlinson
Some of the problems in schools can't be solved by uniforms, but think of someone's pride. Think of how kids feel when someone picks on them or someone has just made fun of their clothes or called them names because of how not so good their clothes look or how bad their shoes look.
The schools should pay for the uniforms. If they decide to make us wear them, they should pay for them. As long as the skirts are not too short, I am okay with the idea.
Uniforms would look a lot better than the baggy pants and earrings and not-so-good shirts that kids wear today.
If a government official comes to check out Diamond and kids are fighting, wearing those bicycle chain necklaces and earrings in their nose, lip, eyebrow, tongue and other parts where they shouldn't be, well, uniforms would be a lot better than regular dress anyday. Kids today are just worried about who will think what about them.

Oct. 31
Sixth graders in the Current Issues class wrote one-page opinion papers concerning the topic of homework Oct. 31. The papers which received "A" grades are printed below:

By Courtney Sweet
The reason we shouldn't have a whole lot of homework is some kids do after-school things.
If we do have homework, it should be one subject. Or if teachers assign homework on nights when they are not supposed to, the kids should have five days to do it. Some classes shouldn't even have homework, like shop, unless the kid wants to take a project home and finish it. If kids do research, they should do it in class.
Or if they have to look up definitions, the only way they should do it at home is for extra credit. If kids get into trouble in class, then they should have homework or if they talked or goofed off in class. They shouldn't have homework if the teacher takes up all their time. If there is a sub that day for the subject then kids shouldn't have homework.
If we do have homework, it should be really fun or it should be really easy.

By Jessica Webb
People do have some good arguments about homework, but I will always keep my opinion that too much homework is bad.
We should only have 30 minutes of homework or less. The teachers must think that we're superkids or something. We can't handle all of it.
We are only 11 and 12 years old. We have seven classes and we can't do homework in all seven classes everyday. There should be in the handbook only 20 minutes of homework a day.
The teachers should get together and see how much homework they assign and see how much homework we have every day.

By Stephanie Taylor
We have too much homework. We should have about 30 minutes of homework each night. We usually have up to an hour, if not more of homework each night. Don't get me wrong, school is important. We can just talk more about the subject during class and have a little assignment instead of working on a big assignment as we usually do.
If we could cut out our extra classes and if we must talk about them, we could do it during one of our four main subjects, which would be English, social studies, science and math. We could have two hours for free time to go to our teachers and ask them questions, if we have any, about the subject we just learned. Then we could finish up our homework and if we have time left we could talk to our friends or help other teachers. Anyway, we should have less homework.

By Rylee Tomlinson
Homework, hmm, some teachers don't normally let students talk about it. We should only have 30 minutes to an hour of homework.
Students should only have homework in math and science. We should still have homework to help us learn, but not as much. Some kids come home and have to do chores and watch younger siblings.
Teachers seem to think that they are the only ones who are teaching us and tend to give us too much homework. Also, like myself, if I have too much homework in math, I get uptight and don't want to listen to anyone.
Also, kids can feel under pressure if they have too much homework. They want to get it done, but sometimes can't. Parents get frustrated with their children because sometimes they don't complete their homework, but they can't when they have three textbooks and two big stacks of worksheets.

The sixth grade Current Issues class, while learning the basics of writing, recently wrote about places that meant a lot to them. The following papers made the Wall of Fame.

By Jennifer Buening
One of my favorite places is my room in my last house. It wasn't very big, but it fit all my stuff in it. My animals were on my bed. I had an old dresser that my mom bought before I was born, which I still have and use. I had a stackable shelf with books on it.
My bed is about two feet off the ground and I had some of my animals under it because all of my animals won't fit on my bed. They would take up most of the bed.
Some days, most of them on weekends, I sat on the end of my bed closest to the window and I read for about an hour or two in the morning just as the sun was coming up. Some weekends, my sisters asked if they could sleep on my floor. Sometimes my friends came over and we listened to music and played games on my bed or we talked.
Almost every day, I woke up just to see the sun rise out of my windows. Those are some reasons why my bedroom in my old house is one of my favorite places.

By Amanda Cupp
Cripple Creek is a place in Colorado I went to on my vacation. Cripple Creek is a really cool place in my opinion. Cripple Creek is dark in some parts of town and bright near the casinos. And it's also really small . My grandparents, parents and I stayed in a 100-year-old motel that the rooms were very small, had cracking wood chests for clothes, and to top it all off, it had no TV. It was terrible!
And there were only two bathrooms with showers. My parents had to sleep in a room with a window that wouldn't stay open. So they used a bible to keep it open and at three o'clock in the morning a truck drove by to clear the roads and kept going back and forth. Besides the smallness of the rooms, the town was pretty big. After we spent a night in the old hotel, we regretted it and should have stayed in one of the newer hotels. That night, my parents and grandparents went gambling in a casino which, thank goodness, had an arcade in it. The next night we went and ate dinner at the restaurant inside the casino, which was hooked onto the hotel. They were pretty good, but they had bad water. And after dinner we all went walking down the sidewalk. It was really awesome and really cold. It was foggy on the sidewalk. The road was covered with snow to the side of it. And all of the lights were colorful and pretty.
The next morning, we were going to a restaurant to eat breakfast. It was really hard to breathe on the way down there. And it was really muddy in one part of the road because I think they were building onto something. The breakfast was disgusting and had disgusting pop so the next day we went home.

By Caitlin Carter

Children's Mercy Hospital is a great place. I have been there twice for two of my surgeries for my eyes. There is a big fountain right outside the hospital. It's beautiful. It's a huge building. It must be two or three stories high. When you go up to the surgery room,you go up to the surgery room. You go up to the second floor and the whole floor is for surgery. You go into this one room. It's like a big waiting room. There are toys and all kinds of things to do. I had to wait one hour to go into this room where they get all your information and get ready and wait for surgery there. I waited another two hours because the girl before me went two hours extra.
My preacher was up there visiting someone so he saw me and prayed with me. After that, it was time for surgery. I was so scared. I stalled and went to the bathroom, but after the surgery, I was all better I was so happy I was out, but my eyes were sensitive to light, but it's a great place.

By Lacey Carneal

When I went to my cousin Jared's house in Oklahoma, we hda a blast. I was 10 and he was 12. His younger brother, Wade, was 11. We rode horses and their four-wheeler over their 40-acre pasture, scaring their cows. That night, I was going into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Jared and Wade had left a toy spider on the bathroom floor. I screamed. They both came running in and started laughing. I was so mad at them. I had to get back at them somehow.
So that night while they were asleep, I sneaked into their room with some ice and put it in their beds. When it melted, it looked like they had wet the bed. The next morning when they woke up, they were very surprised. They had to clean up their rooms and put new sheets on their beds. They were mad at me, of course, but it served them right.
I got to ride horses with them the next day, then we went swimming at their grandma's house. We played water tag and Marco Polo. We also went down the water slide. The boys dunked me underwater. They were still made at me, but we had fun anyway. I love going to my cousins' house and playing with them. I hope I can go again, too. I am going there again soon and we hope we will have as much fun as did last time.

Sixth grade Current Issues students recently wrote papers about objects that mean a great deal to them. Two students, Lacey Carneal and Caitlin Carter, received "A" grades, so their papers are being put on the Wall of Fame. The sixth graders are doing basic writing exercises, in addition to studying current events.

By Lacey Carneal

When I was a baby, I got a blanket. It had been Mom's when she was a baby. It was made by my great-grandma. It was pink on the back, covered with little white bunny rabbits on it.
On the front, it was checked with big pink and white checks. Each white square has an embroidery of an animal. I slept with it every night. One night, I couldn't find my blanket. It wasn't in my room or anywhere else. I finally found it. My mom had been washing it. I didn't sleep all night because I didn't have my blanket.
One time when I went to my cousin Genoa's house, I forgot it so Genoa called my mom and she brought it to me. When Halloween came, I was four, so I wanted to dress like a baby, so I took my old bottle and my blanket, of course.
I took it everywhere. I went to Wal-Mart on trips, even to my cousin Gary's basketball game. When it was time for me to be tested for kindergarten, I didn't get to take my blanket. I was only four, but I got tested into kindergarten anyway. My birthday was the 2nd day of school. On the first week of school, I brought my blanket. Everyone liked it. I was proud of my blanket. I might end up taking it to college.
My mom and dad's friends' friend had a son who took his baby blanket to college. He's getting married next year. I still love my blanket. At night, it is draped over the metal part of my daybed in my room.

By Caitlin Carter
There is a picture of a very, very mysterious man. I didn't know who it was, but every time you would walk by our huge TV, you would see a picture of a man in a sailor suit. You knew the picture was old because it was in black and white. So one day, I finally asked my mom, "Mom, who is that man in the picture on top of the TV?"
She just laughed and said, "That's my father." I was so embarrassed.
"So where is he at if he is my grandfather," I asked. She told me that when she was little, he and his buddies got in the Army. She said he was towing something with a tractor and whatever it was went off on top of him and killed him.
I wish I could have met him, so that picture is all I can ever see of him. It means the world to me.