Category Archives: Editorials/Opinions

STAFF EDITORIAL: Know your social media rights and remember responsibilities

In today’s world where access to technology reigns supreme, there is no doubt that we are in the age of social media.  Platforms such as Snapchat or Twitter are outlets where we can connect with friends and discuss our ideas.

This has led to new questions being asked about First Amendment rights and what you are allowed to talk about and share on social media. So, what exactly are your rights on social media?

Technically, as long as it follows whatever guidelines laid out in the terms of service by the creators of a social media app, it’s generally OK. However, even though your post may be allowed, it may not save you from repercussions from other groups.

It is important to remember that any public post you make can be seen by anyone from teachers to the police.

Social media apps also manage posts in order to protect people from threats. If someone posted a picture on their Snapchat story with a caption reading, “don’t come to school tomorrow,” the platform will report it to the authorities once they see it. Twitter and Facebook will also hand out bans if someone has a threatening post or offensive profile pictures.

If thinking before you post is too difficult for you and you are on social media, at least make your account private and accept only people who are close to you. Don’t be surprised, though, if someone from your tight group reports you for posting something inappropriate or cyber bullying someone else, either.

Know what the laws are before you post as well. For example, it is a felony to even threaten to bring a gun on a school campus. Even if you were just crying wolf, you will still be in major trouble.

In all honesty, it is not hard to keep yourself safe on social media. It only takes one thing: common sense. If you think that it’s a good idea to post a picture of you holding a weapon and threatening your school, you don’t need to be on social media.

Remember, anything you post publicly can be seen by anybody, including police officers, teachers, officials, and other students.

You have the right to speak your mind on social media. Your school cannot punish you just because it doesn’t agree. However, that doesn’t necessarily protect you from the repercussions that may occur as a result of what you said.


Bored over break? Check out these suggestions

H-E-B students have two extra days in this year’s Thanksgiving break. Looking for something to do with that extra time? Check out these options.

  • Attend the Downtown Fort Worth Christmas tree lighting at Sundance Square at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18.
  • Watch Stranger Things.
  • Read a book or two, such as The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini. (If you’ve finished The Kite Runner, there is also a movie you can check out too.)
  • Hang out with family and friends, relax, and catch up on your schoolwork. (Obviously you are going to try to have a lot of fun over the break, however it is important to stay on top of your homework, especially since it’s a week long break. You don’t even have to spend a lot of time studying; An hour a day can never hurt. And if you aren’t assigned homework, your teachers will appreciate it if they don’t have to spend a day to review material you may have forgotten over the break.)
  • Watch Breaking Bad in bed all day.
  • Recreate past family photos.
  • Eat out with friends at Abuelo’s.
  • Be kind to service workers in various restaurants and retail.
  • Go to Fort Worth and go to the zoo, and to Sundance Square.
  • Shop for Christmas presents.
  • Pre-purchase Christmas décor.
  • Go Black Friday shopping.
  • Have a family pie-making contest.
  • Make leaf drawings.
  • Help at a canned food drive.
  • Have a contest to see who can make the biggest leaf pile.

-30- columns

Back in the days of typewriters, newspaper reporters would end their stories with the -30- mark. Here, two Blueprint staffers mark the ends of their high school journalism careers with an L.D. Bell tradition: the “-30- column.”

Editor thankful for making ‘best decision’ to join staff

by Sami Dugdale

Being part of the Bell Blueprint was probably oneIMG_5641 of the best decisions I have made in my entire high school career.

This paper has allowed me to further my skills as a writer, photographer, and journalist, as well as teach me how to be a good and productive leader.

I am so grateful for the friends I’ve made in these past two years and I can’t wait to see the awesome work they’re going to do next year when I’m gone. (I’m making them mail a copy of the paper to me.)

I’d also like to give a big shout out to Mrs. Weiss, our newspaper teacher, mentor and the reason why I get to do what I love every day. Thank you so much for the opportunities you have given me and for the encouragement you give us all to pursue what we are passionate about.


New friends, new skills come with newspaper

by Christian Pineda

IMG_5633Being a part of the Bell Blueprint was an amazing experience for me. Although this was my first year being a part of this program, I still learned a lot.

This program furthered my skills as a writer and also a photographer.

I’ve made new friends this past year from being in this program that I’m so grateful for. Everyone in this class is awesome and will do amazing things next year when I’m gone.

I would like to give a shout to Mrs. Weiss. She let me be a part of this amazing program and taught me lots of things I can use for the rest of my life.



EDITORIAL: Take advantage of college prep options

Staying on top of your college planning is one of the most important things you can do as a student, especially if you are a junior or a senior.

You should take advantage of some of the opportunities offered in HEB, whether it be taking an SAT prep course or taking the college readiness class. Not only will these types of things prepare you for applying to college, they also show colleges that you care about your education.

By taking an SAT prep course, you better prepare yourself to score high on the SAT test. Colleges use the SAT as a sort of entrance exam that helps them decide which students they want on their campus. Benefits from taking the test may include scholarships. So why not help yourself the best you can?

HEB has “test prep academies” that run through the Pat May Center that teach you test strategies and give you a general overview of the test as well. Also, you get your own official prep book that will help you even after you are finished with the class. (There is more info available on the classes offered in the counseling office)

If you do not want to spend personal time doing even more studying or just want to be even more prepared, there is still an option for you. Bell offers a college readiness class that prepares a student to be successful on entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT.

This class is essentially like the free version of the SAT prep course. Students receive instruction on critical reading and writing, including grammar, editing, and thesis development for English, and intensive practice and preparation for mathematic concepts. If you would like to partake in one of these classes, swing by your counselor’s office.

There are other ways to prepare you for your college education. There is no doubt that one can find help that is not within the district. However, these options aren’t just convenient, they are arguably the most helpful resources you will find.

Your future doesn’t begin on graduation day. What you do now can have a big impact on your success in college and beyond.

RAIDER READS: Book reviews and recommendations

By Emily Bennett

I’m Supposed To Protect You From All This

By Nadja Spiegleman

This memoir shows a renewing relationship between a mother and daughter. She, Nadja Spiegleman, used to believe her mother was a fairy. But, as Spiegleman grew up from her adolescence, she realizes a shift in their relationship. This is a beautiful story between a mother and daughter separating and then finding one another again. This novel really expresses the mother-daughter dynamic.

Recommendations: Dragon Behind The Glass, How Poetry Saved my Life, The Measure of a Man

You Are Having A Good Time

By Amie Barrodale

Barrodale’s debut collection is what she would call a character studies of social behaviors. These tales show the readers the way relationships are created and fall apart, exploring the questions as to why people drink so much to why there are things we let just slip through our fingers.

Recommendations: You May See a Stranger, Ball, Why They Run the Way They Do

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

By J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

Based off the original series that we all know and love, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series. While Harry had a difficult life, we realize sometimes the past repeats itself when his son, Albus, must struggle with the weight of the family legacy.

Recommendations: The Mortal Instruments, The Muse of Nightmares, Unearthed

A Hundred Thousand Worlds

By Bob Proehl

We start this novel off with Valerie Torrey and when she took off six years ago with her son. Torrey left Los Angeles, her leading role on a cult sci-fi TV show, and her co-star husband. Now her son, Alex, is 9 and she has to go on a mission to reunite him with his estranged father.

Recommendations: The Hike, Lincoln in the Bardo, Girl on the Train

Wisecracks show provides lots of laughs

By Andrew Critser

The Wisecracks improv group gave an outstanding performance in their back to school special on Friday, Sept. 16.img_1308

It was an amazing show that kept us, the audience, laughing the entire time. The group of 11 with a mix of seniors, juniors, and sophomores gave an hour-long improv performance. The people involved showed a very cunning ability to think quickly on their feet.

There were several skits that made up the show, all of them kept us laughing. There were skits such as Bafutu, where three members of the group created a human prediction machine, predicting the future of several people from the audience. Another was Sit Kneel Stand, again three members of the group, but this time they pretended to operate a store, where one has to sit, one has to stand, and one has to kneel.

All in all it was an amazing show and I can’t wait for their next performance, their Halloween show, on Oct. 24 in the black box theater.

photos by Emily Bennett

STAFF EDITORIAL: New cell phone policy gives students chance to show responsibility

With the 2016 school year coming to an end, many big changes are among us, one being a change in the code of conduct regarding phones.

After a strict no cell phone policy, Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD and L.D. Bell are adapting to the 21st century and administering a trial period for phone use during designated times.

Cell phone use is now allowed during lunch and passing periods as well as in class when the teacher deems appropriate.

As exciting as this change is, nothing is permanent yet. This phone policy remains a trial run for these last six weeks of school to allow a better understanding of how the students in our district will handle this.

Students should use this trial period to show they can be responsible with their cell phones, using them for social purposes during appropriate “free time” and making sure they are using them for educational reasons during class.

With all the information they provide, cell phones can be important to the educational process. Even on a social level, phones are essential to people’s relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers. People of all ages need to be disciplined and mature with their phones, using them at appropriate times. Through responsible phone use, students will show district and campus administrators that they are capable of making good decisions and can still learn, even with their phones on during the school day.

One day at a time, L.D. Bell is catching up with the times and making necessary changes with the students in mind.

Q&A: Steps Toward a Strong College Recommendation

By Sami Dugdale

At the beginning of senior year, hundreds of aspiring students begin to take the next step into adulthood by applying for their colleges of choice. While the process has several key factors, one of the most important is a strong teacher recommendation letter.

Now, students have several questions on the process of getting a recommendation letter and I thought, who better to ask then the king of recommendation letters himself, Michael Schille, TOK and English teacher. So I sat down with him and asked the most common questions students have asked about the process:

“What is the best way to go about asking a teacher if they’ll write a recommendation letter for you”?

You must first ask them directly and sincerely. If you ask a teacher in front of the whole class, you’re kind of putting them in an awkward situation. Private meetings are best. Also, set an appointment to meet them before or after school. If a student is worthy of a recommendation letter, the conversation needs to be private and unrushed.

“Around what time of the year should students begin to ask their teachers to write a letter for them?”

You have a huge window. If you wait until the last minute, there’s a strong possibility that the teacher won’t write it for you. Junior year is the best time to let a teacher know that you are interested in having them write a letter for you. Senior year is okay but ask by September or October at the latest.

“Does it matter what year the teacher taught you?”

Your senior teachers should not be included unless you had them the year before. Chances are that the teacher doesn’t know you well enough yet to write a personal recommendation letter. It’s best to ask teachers from your junior year.

“What qualities does a teacher look for when writing a positive recommendation letter?”

Character, effort, and hard work are all very important qualities. The student must be open-minded when it comes to criticism because it leads to humility, which leads to growth. I must be able to see that the student has overcome struggles both in and out of class. Also, evidence of overall mental capability such as creativity, verbal or written expression, and analytical ability.

“What should be included in a letter of recommendation?”

Anecdote evidence is very important because it provides first hand evidence of the way the student interacts with others and pursues their goals. I also try to include at least two positive qualities as well as one negative. The negative, however, usually leads to a positive conclusion about the students’ character. It helps express the idea that nobody is perfect.

When pep rally fun becomes dangerous

“Go, Raiders, Go!” The shouting and excitement at school events show the school spirit. It also shows the support of the students and teachers.

The only problem is that the students at Bell are limited in how they can show that excitement at pep rallies or games. Certain items like toilet paper, confetti, and baby powder have been banned to protect students’ safety.

Now the ban extends to balloons. An announcement was made in second period classes about balloons now being banned in the school building for pep rallies, birthdays, graduations, and even prom invitations. There will be consequences if a teacher sees a student with a balloon.

What most students don’t know is that a staff member was hurt because of the latex found in balloons. At one of the pep rallies, the teacher had a severe  allergic reaction to the latex in balloons that were used.

The teacher is fine now, but the seriousness of the allergy caused administrators to change the rules for pep rallies.

As much as the students want to have fun at pep rallies, safety will always come first. We applaud the student body for respecting those safety concerns and showing their school spirit in ways that did not negatively impact any members of the Bell “family.” By following the new rules, students showed that their school spirit runs deep.

Blueprint staff

EDITORIAL: Stereotypes about teenagers do not represent us accurately

Adolescents and teenagers are widely viewed as lazy and technologically dependent because of theatrical portrayals of the “stereotypical teen” in movies and on television shows.  In songs, the singer’s foolish teenage years in which they did not know anything are often referenced.  Some books portray us as being whiny, do-nothings who are relationship obsessed and not considerate of our actions and the consequences that they bring.  We are considered a joke and unworthy of true consideration until some point through college or life when we somehow become human to the rest of the world.

I am sure everyone has heard at least once that our generation does not know how good we have it, and that is true to an extent.  Technology seems infinite now.  We have access to the world at our fingertips, which some choose to utilize and some choose to not.  Teenagers today have all these opportunities and possibilities because of all the help we are receiving from people who want to help the next generation.  That’s all fine and dandy, but what about the fact that the help isn’t enough for all of us?  What about the really smart kids that are being judged through the same system as the kids who are not on their educational level, and yet are considered equivalent?

This problem seems to have no answer and that might be the worst part of all because what if there never is a solution.  All the jokes and conspiracy theories about how the system is fixed might be hyperbolized for humor/dramatic affect, but it has to have some basis, right?  Some form of starting point?  If the older generations don’t have a cure, how are we expected to?

Teens today have to go through so much so as to be noticed and recognized as the missing link to society because we are told that if you are not special then you will not make it in the future.  There is a quote by Margaret Mead that states, “Always remember that you are absolutely unique.  Just like everyone else.”  The ridiculous stories on the news about the rowdy, “typical” teens miss an entire aspect of who we are.  We cannot be grouped into one category or another; no one is that shallow, although we are pegged that way because of where we are at in life.  It is age discrimination.

Community service activities nowadays, are practically mandatory for college acceptance or school programs like Student Council, National Honor Society, and so on.  We have school obligations and familial obligations and job obligations and the pressure is so intense that not a lot of teenagers can take it.  And that is understandable, because it is a lot of work.  But still students donate time, time that could be spent selfishly, on things such as community service.  Our overall generosity helps the community and school in several ways and helps prepare those who come after us, helps set examples.

We are the future and we are treated like children.  So much is expected of us, expectations are set so high because of the insane competition among ourselves for holding that #1 position, whatever it may be in.  We have seen blood and gore in movies, we’ve become desensitized to war because of the news and theatrical portrayals, we deal with gang violence, pregnancy, disease, corruption, obligations, and we are portrayed as insignificant and petty because we are young.  For some that may be true, but for others-for most-we have lived on a crazy locomotive that makes no pit stops and doesn’t slow down for bumps in the road.  We are young, yes, but we are not naïve.