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for Grades 9-12

July 22, 2024
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For Grades 9-12 , week of June 03, 2024

1. JURY REACHES VERDICT

Former President Donald Trump spoke out after being convicted in his hush money trial in New York, criticizing the judge, the witness, and the justice system. He claimed the verdict was rigged and aimed to appeal. Trump portrayed himself as a martyr and vowed to fight back, insisting he's willing to do whatever it takes to save the country. Despite the conviction, Trump's speech resembled his campaign rallies, attacking President Joe Biden and raising doubts about the trial's fairness. He called his former fixer who testified against him at the trial a "sleazebag" and criticized the judge. Trump's campaign announced a surge in fundraising following the verdict. Despite the legal challenges ahead, Trump remains focused on his political ambitions, including debates with Biden and the Republican National Convention. Write a summary of the court case and how the conviction could affect the upcoming presidential election, where Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee.

2. P.T.S.D. IN COLLEGE STUDENTS

A recent study shows that diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among college students have more than doubled from 2017 to 2022. Factors such as campus shootings, social unrest, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic are believed to have contributed to this rise. Additionally, diagnoses of acute stress disorder, a similar condition, also increased sharply. PTSD, introduced as an official diagnosis in 1980, has evolved over the years to encompass a wider range of traumatic experiences. However, it still requires exposure to a traumatic event as defined by certain criteria. The disruptions caused by the pandemic may have left college students emotionally vulnerable, making them less resilient to traumatic events. (Changes to the diagnostic manual may have also contributed to the increase in PTSD diagnoses, but they do not fully explain the sharp rise observed in recent years.) Use research to understand more about PTSD and the effect it can have on a person. Then, design a flyer or other visual campaign that would help raise awareness for PTSD for students and share resources they can go to if they feel they need help.

3. PERFUME INDUSTRY UNDER FIRE

An investigation by the BBC found that children are being used to pick jasmine, which is an ingredient in perfumes made by Lancôme and Aerin Beauty. These companies claim they don't allow child labor, but evidence suggests otherwise. Many luxury brands, which include these perfume companies, are cutting costs, leading to low pay for workers. This pushes families to involve their children in jasmine picking to earn more money. Children as young as 12 were found working in jasmine fields, despite it being illegal. The perfume companies set tight budgets for suppliers, leading to pressure on wages, ultimately affecting the pickers. Despite claims of ethical sourcing, there's a disconnect between marketing promises and reality. The perfume companies lack proper oversight of their supply chains, relying on third-party audits, which are insufficient. Write an opinion article that shares how you feel these companies should address the allegations of using child labor to create their products and what they should do to amend their practices.

4. JUSTICE STANDS FIRM

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. of the Supreme Court recently explained why he decided not to step aside from cases related to the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, despite controversy over flags seen flying at his house. He wrote letters to Democrats saying his wife was the one who flew the offending flags and that his wife's expression of views didn't require his recusal. However, legal experts had mixed feelings about his explanation. Some felt it lacked depth, while others saw it as a step toward transparency. Justice Alito's decision highlights broader concerns about ethics in the court, as public trust has declined due to previous controversies. The issue of recusal has been a point of contention, with some justices offering brief explanations while others remain silent. This isn't new; Justice William H. Rehnquist faced similar scrutiny in the 1970s over his participation in a case he had previously criticized. The debate over recusal underscores the delicate balance between judicial impartiality and public perception. Read more about the flag controversy from at least two different sources. Then, write an opinion article about whether you think Alito should recuse himself, using research to back up your claims.

5. THE HISTORY OF PRIDE

Pride Month, which celebrates LGBTQ+ culture and rights, began last weekend with events worldwide. However, in the U.S., this year's celebrations coincide with the enactment of numerous state laws targeting LGBTQ+ rights, especially those of transgender youth. These laws contrast with the historical significance of Pride, which commemorates the 1969 Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in LGBTQ+ history. That year, a deadly raid on New York’s Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, sparked a series of protests and the national movement for gay rights. While Pride events around the world celebrate progress, challenges persist, with many countries still enforcing anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Amid these challenges, ensuring the safety of Pride events remains crucial. As a result, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued an advisory last month that terrorist organizations could target Pride events, and the State Department renewed a security warning for Americans, especially LGBTQ+ people, overseas. Research the history of Pride, including the riots that started at the Stonewall Inn. Then, write an article that explains the history of Pride and how it is celebrated today.