Category: News

Johnny Depp Sues Amber Heard: A Look Into the Defamation Trial

By Kevin Barry and Eli Glenn

News & Managing Editor, and Staff Writer

Source: The Teal Mago

The “Johnny Depp Vs. Amber Heard” trial has been bizarre to say the least. Amber Heard and Johnny Depp got married in 2015, and then shortly after in 2016, they separated. What followed was Heard accusing Depp of domestic abuse in an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post. After those accusations, Depp was cut from the franchises of Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts. After these allegations came out, they quickly tarnished his reputation.

In 2019, Depp filed a lawsuit on the grounds of defamation of character. Heard had taken away two of his biggest franchises and Depp wasn’t going to let that slide. Although he filed the lawsuits in 2019, the trials did not commence until last month.

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Howard County To Open High School #13

By Kevin Barry

News & Managing Editor

We’re about a year and a half away from the grand opening of Howard County’s 13th high school, so let’s go over everything we know about it so far. 

The new school is set to open off of Mission Road in Jessup, Maryland by the start of the 2023-2024 school year. Construction began in April of 2020.

The school will be designed to have the largest capacity in the county at 1,658. Since HCPSS purchased the property back in September of 2019, the county has set aside a budget of 135.4 million dollars for the construction of High School number 13. The property was initially acquired to allow “…for the new placement of a new high school as well as a future Elementary School.”

According to hcpss.org, there has been no further mention of the Elementary School at this date.

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Hammond Students Walk Out In Protest of Anti-Queer Legislation

By Uma Ribeiro, Kevin Barry, Lydia Jensen, and Leaana Khan

Editor-in-Chief, News & Managing Editor, Editorials Editor, and A&E Editor

Pictured above: Hammond students gathered on the stadium stands for the walkout while SAGA members deliver speeches

On Friday, March 11th, student members of Hammond’s Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) club led a school walkout in order to protest the anti-queer youth attacks occurring in Florida and Texas, including the “Don’t Say Gay” bill passed in Florida and Texas Governor Greg Abbott publicly stating that trans-affirming healthcare for minors is “child abuse”.  

Many staff and students decked out in rainbow clothing, showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community, and there was a huge turnout, with the majority of the school walking out to learn more about the injustices being protested. 

Several speeches were given by SAGA club members, informing students and staff of what is occurring in these states as well as ways they can take action toward seeing these injustices come to an end. 

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Mask Mandate Lifted in Howard County Schools: Hammond Community Comments

By Uma Ribeiro, Kevin Barry, Lydia Jensen, and Leaana Khan 

Editor-in-Chief, News & Managing Editor, Editorials Editor, and A&E Editor 

Pictured above: One of the new posters on display throughout Hammond following the lift of the mask mandate last Tuesday. 

On February 24th, the HCPSS Board of Education voted to make mask-wearing optional. The option to no longer wear a face mask was made effective on Tuesday, March 1st, with the majority of board members including Christina Delmont-Small, Yun Lu, Peter J Banyas (the Student Member of the Board), Antonia Watts, Chao Wu, and Vicky Cutroneo voting to pass the motion and board members Jennifer Mallo and Jolene Mosley voting against the option to remove face coverings within schools. 

Students can now choose to wear or not wear masks in schools and on their school buses while masks remain required in the health room. The indoor mask mandate was lifted throughout Howard County on February 1st, though “Howard County Government buildings and facilities, and public transit, including the RTA, will still require masks. Businesses and organizations may still require masking at their own discretion.” The mask mandate for government buildings was then lifted a few weeks later.

Such decisions, including the decision to lift the mask mandate in schools, were based on Covid rates and vaccination rates within the county. 

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Opinion: Why Doesn’t HCPSS Have a Virus Plan?

By Ryan Moshasha

Staff Writer

Pictured Above: In lieu of a virus plan, HCPSS continues to push health checks

Months ago, we learned about the reports of a new type of COVID variant sprouting in parts of South Africa. The virus was named the “Omicron Variant,” with cases already arriving in the USA, including the state of Maryland.

As reported by wbaltv.com, on December 3rd, 2021, Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed 88.5% of virus cases are related to the Omicron variant. These cases created many new questions and left people asking: Will there be another lockdown?

The problem we are facing as a county is a lack of preparation in the wake of this news.

Currently, it seems Howard County has no plan to return to virtual learning, despite the rising number of cases. How many students in Howard County have to get the virus before the school system realizes that we need to have a plan if these outbreaks continue? 

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The Hammond COVID Outbreak: Students and Staff Comment on Safety at School and the County’s Response

By Uma Ribeiro, Kevin Barry, Lydia Jensen, and Leaana Khan 

Editor-in-Chief, Managing & News Editor, Editorials Editor, A&E Editor 

Pictured above: Covid testing site located in Hammond’s gymnasium

Covid Rates Rise, Community Reacts, and County Responds

Following the significant rise in Covid-19 cases at several Howard County schools, Hammond High School being one of them, the Board of Education decided to keep instruction in-person for the time being. 

Hammond saw a spike in the number of virus cases before winter break, prompting a response from Superintendent Dr. Micheal Martirano entitled “Prioritizing In-Person Learning.” 

The days leading up to winter break also saw a significant increase in absences at Hammond, not only because of illness but also because of the fear surrounding getting sick or infecting others. 

On December 15th, there were 3,712 quarantined students and 132 quarantined staff countywide. 

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COVID-19 Testing and Safety Procedures: Dr. DiPaula Comments

By Uma Ribeiro

Editor-in-chief

Pictured above: QR code to register for free COVID-19 testing at Hammond.

The Bear Press sat down with Hammond principal Dr. John DiPaula to ask some pressing questions regarding the increased rates of COVID-19 across Howard County schools, and the procedures that are following this spike in numbers. 

Per directions from the Howard County Health Department, Hammond staff and students are being encouraged to get tested for the virus tomorrow, Friday, December 17th, in the Professional Learning Room. 

The diagnostic is not a rapid test, but rather a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. Those tested would get their results over the weekend. 

“What’ll happen is everyone who is tested [tomorrow] will get the results [on] Saturday. They’ll be notified, and then the school [and] the nurse will be notified. The nurse will get access to the [results] as well as parents unless 18 years old [or older], then [the results] come to you directly,” says Dr. DiPaula. 

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Mask Mandate and In-Person Learning: Hammond Community Members Weigh-In

By Logan Forrest

Staff Writer

Pictured above: Mask mandate signs posted on Hammond’s front doors.

On Tuesday, September 14th, lawmakers voted in favor of a statewide mandate that requires masks to be worn in schools at all times, except for if outside at sports events or walking. The requirement of face-coverings in Maryland was made to protect the health and safety of teachers, school staff, students, and families.

Masks reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus, regardless of if an individual is vaccinated or not. Folks who aren’t vaccinated are especially encouraged to wear a mask in public places.

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Spirit Week 2021: Here’s What You Need to Know

Your guide to spirit week 2021.

By Kevin Barry

Staff Writer

Last year due to COVID-19 we saw spirit week in a way we’ve never seen it before, offering some new and old events such as field day, the infamous pizza wars, foodie Friday, and virtual trivia. Obviously not all of those events were able to run last year as they normally would, but now that we’re back in person, spirit week is back on full blast!

After the voting of more than 400 students, this year’s spirit week theme is Disney Plus! The goal of “pre-spirit week” was to prepare the underclassmen for the real thing, but here at Hammond spirit week is something that you don’t know the severity of until it begins. With that being said, let’s get into some of the things that you’ll need to know.

On Friday the 1st, spirit week is getting a little preview with Pajama day and then the following week is when the real celebration begins. Hammond Students voted on the possible days, resulting in the following: Monday (Decades Day), Tuesday (Wacky Tacky Day), Wednesday (Twin Day), Thursday (Theme Day), and finishing it off on Friday (Class Color Day). Class colors are as follows: seniors (Yellow), juniors (Red), sophomores (Black), freshmen (White). Pizza wars is scheduled for Monday the 1st (Same day as Decades Day) and all proceeds will go to help out the sophomore class.

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Kamloops Residential School Mass Grave

By Bella Kaguyutan 

Staff Writer

Apology issued after removal of Victoria memorial for Kamloops victims |  Vancouver Sun

Image Source: Vancouver Sun

In May of 2021 the remains of 215 indigineous children as young as 3 were discovered near a residential school in Kamloops British Columbia, Canada. These deaths were undocumented and the children were buried in unmarked graves. 

The news of a mass grave was released on May 27th by Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation Chief, Rosanne Casimir. This mass grave was discovered through the use of ground-penetrating radar. They are working with the Royal British Columbia Museum to discover the identities of these unknown children. When children attending these schools died they rarely returned home, being buried in unmarked graves. 

Across Canada many memorials have been set up in honor of the children who lost their lives while attending a residential school. One of the most notable memorials was displayed on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery. 215 pairs of little shoes were placed on the steps to symbolize each of the bodies found in the mass grave site. 

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