6The Warrior • OpinionsNovember 2, 2023Breaking Amazon’s MonopolyWould Pay Off for Consumersby Marceline Meador ‘24The goal of any company isgrowth, which is a principle thatis the basis of capitalism. Whathappens, though, when just a fewcompanies take up all the roomand do not leave space for anyothers? Massive corporations thatplay a part in our everyday livesare ever-expanding, pushing outtheir competitors, stomping outsmaller businesses, and furtherintegrating themselves into everyaspect of our lives. While somewould argue that their greaterreach allows for greater conveniencesfor the average consumer,the detrimental effects of monopolyactivity on our socio-politicaland economic landscape are direin comparison.The Federal Trade Commission(FTC) has come to the conclusionthat one such corporation,Amazon, has violated the lawsput in place to prevent such unfairpractices, known commonly asAntitrust Laws, and has followedthrough with a lawsuit againstAmazon on such grounds. TheFTC, as well as 17 state attorneys,maintains that Amazon hasunfairly stifled its competition inorder to generate and wield monopolypower. Monopoly powerpotentially allows a company tounfairly gouge prices, cut workerpay, underpay sellers, and massivelyscale back quality. Beingthat Amazon is in certain placesa consumer’s only affordable optionwhen it comes to purchasinggoods, this has proven to causedetrimental effects on fair competition,innovation, and affordability.The development of thislawsuit creates the likelihood oftwo possible rulings, each withits own unique repercussions andprecedent. The first possibilitySchool Phone Policy Not as Bad as You Thinkby Katie Ng ‘25In the 2022-23 school year,MCPS created guidelines supportingputting personal mobiledevices, including phones, awayduring instructional time. Atthe high school level, personalmobile devices were permittedbefore and after school, duringlunch, and principals had the discretionto determine if devicescould be permitted during classand in between classes. However,these guidelines were not stronglyenforced at Sherwood.This school year, Sherwoodis cracking down on phone usagewith its new policy and moreteachers are regulating phone usage.But although the new phonepolicy is generally unpopularamong students, it has the potentialto be beneficial by promotingproductivity in class, student connection,and mental health.First, the school limitingphone usage could help studentsfocus on their academics. If studentsmust put away their phones,it would force them to do theiris a ruling in favor of Amazon,which would be absolutely detrimentalto the average consumer,competition within the U.S. economy,and the affordability of everydayproducts. Not to mentionthat such a ruling would set theprecedent that Amazon’s currentactivities do not violate antitrustlaws and that corporate activitysuch as price gouging, stiflingcompetition, exclusionary conduct,and degradation of serviceis legal and permissible in theUnited States. This would createan open season for Amazon tonot only continue but ramp up itsmonopoly activity. Furthermore,this would affect the overall U.S.economy detrimentally, as less affordabilityand worker pay on thepart of the largest online retailerin the entire country means moremoney flow into Amazon, but asignificantly smaller flow of capitalback into the economy.The other, more positive outcomeof this lawsuit would bea ruling in favor of the 17 StateAGs and the FTC. Such a rulingclasswork. And when studentscomplete assignments in school,they feel relieved to have oneor two fewer subjects of homeworkto worry about after school.Therefore, staying off of phonesduring the school day to get workdone gives students a greaterchance to relax and get sleep afterschool. In addition, the school’snew phone policy will teach studentshow to not multitask. Thisis important because “a growingbody of research has found thatit’s far less efficient to try to dotwo (or more!) things at once thanto focus on just one task at a time.Multitasking can interfere withworking memory, cause studentsto do worse in school, and couldpossibly even create potentiallylong-term memory problems,”according to a Stanford Universityarticle. Learning to turn thephone off and put it away promotesbetter work habits and success.It may also bring students together.Teachers have noticed thatat the end of class, when they areMandel Ngan/Pool via APAmazon CEO Jeff Bezos remotely testifies during a House Judiciarysubcommittee on antitrust practices on Capitol Hill on July 29, 2020.would set a positive and oppositeprecedent, one that states activitiessuch as dominating competitionin a great many industriesas opposed to one is classified asmonopoly activity under federallaw. This would also result in apotential dissolution of the Amazoncorporation, mirroring that ofthe historic Standard Oil dissolutionunder the Sherman AntitrustAct in 1911.Amazon’s detrimental activitiescannot be allowed to continue,and a ruling in favor of theFTC would prevent future corporateentities from engaging inactivities such as price gouging,major online retailer pay cuts, intentionaldegradation of quality,and the stifling of competition.This could affect other large corporationssuch as Google, Meta,and Aliexpress from attemptingto engage in their own brand ofmonopoly activity in other industriessuch as data collection,social networking, and advertising,in an overall positive turn ofevents for the average consumer.finished teaching instruction, studentssit quietly on their phonesuntil the bell rings rather thantalk to each other. The new phonepolicy may encourage teachers topush their students to start conversationswith their classmatesand get to know them and theirinterests. Classroom discussionscould improve and become moremeaningful as well. The studentswho would not otherwise participatemight start tuning in moreand possibly talk.Lastly, some students’ mentalhealth could benefit from havingto put phones away for classinstruction. It is no surprise thatthere are many negative interactionson social media platformsincluding cyberbullying, trolling,and nasty comments. “Socialmedia can affect adolescents’self-view and interpersonal relationshipsthrough social comparison,”the Canadian Medical AssociationJournal (CMAJ) reported.This emphasizes how scrolling onsocial media can leave teens feelingpoorly about themselves andLax Discipline PoliciesEncourage Misbehaviorby Seph Fischer ‘25Recently, the system ofstudent accountability acrossMCPS has made a drastic shift.This new set of principles--with“restorative justice” placed firstand foremost--do not produceexpected results, as is illustratedby the September 1 fight betweenWalter Johnson and BethesdaChevy-Chase High School studentsat a Metro station after afootball game. The violence displayedby these students in thereleased video is disturbing: thefight morphs into an attack, tensof students kick and beat a singlestudent. MCPS has responded tothis troubling incident througha series of vague policies, likerequiring a school ID to attendfootball games (despite the factthat the fight occurred off schoolproperty), which don’t actuallyresolve the base issue of misbehavingstudents, instead hamperingwell-behaved students. Thispresents the illusion that MCPSis doing something substantial tocombat these incidents.These incidents aren’t isolated.A violent brawl betweenGaithersburg and Northwest highschools erupted in September oflast year, too. During the 2021-2022 school year, MCPS’ Safetyand Security At a Glance reportednearly 500 instances of deliberateattacks, as well as 800 instancesof fighting. Though the numberof attacks are similar to the 2019-2020 school year, the numberof fights has increased by 150.Whatever the intention of MCPS’restorative justice programs, thedata doesn’t support their effectiveness.When students are notshown correct disciplinary action,they naturally push things furtherand further until all-out brawlsoccur at football games.In 2019, the Maryland statethe need to take a break. Teensdo not always need to know whatother people are doing. They needto be aware of who they are followingand how they are spendingtheir time.These phone habits theschool wants to address arose andhave stuck with students sincethe coronavirus pandemic, whenlegislature passed House Bill725, mandating “restorative justice”models in the punishmentsystems of all the state’s schooldistricts. MCPS embraced thischange, stating that, “MontgomeryCounty Public Schools hasworked diligently to incorporaterestorative justice [...] in all of ourschools to better serve the needsof our students.” Restorative justiceprograms promote restraineddiscipline to resolve conflicthealthily and encourage change.However, based on the high--andin some cases increasing--levelsof school violence in recent years,this system isn’t working if theaim is to change student behavior.MCPS hasn’t published full dataon school violence incidents priorto the 2019-2020 school year,so it’s impossible to tell exactlywhat effect restorative justice hashad since implementation.Some may argue that MCPS’recent policy implementationsdon’t negatively affect those whofollow the rules. This new form ofjustice only makes life better forall students, they might say. Evenif one ignores the psychologicalimpact of attending a schoolin which this behavior is left tohappen without any clear consequences,this is simply untrue.While Sherwood and MCPS as awhole has loosened many restrictionsand punishments on misbehavingstudents, it has tightenedthem for those who are generallygood students. Instead of punishingthose who use bathrooms forillicit purposes, Sherwood securityhas begun locking some ofthem altogether during lunch. Forthe advancement of our schoolsand the betterment of education,it is very imperative that Sherwoodand MCPS return to policieswhich punish rulebreakersand allow well-behaved studentsto rise.GETTY IMAGESstudents were stuck in their ownhomes and isolated from eachother. We need to return to a senseof normalcy in which classroomsare places for learning. Overall,the new phone policy may be imperfect,but it may help studentsbecome the best versions of themselvesand improve the learningenvironment at this school.
The Warrior • Pulse 7November 2, 2023The PulseWith the start of November, seniors arein the middle (or the end, if they’re lucky) ofcollege applications. After a busy period of completing applicationforms and writing college essays, seniors are closerthan ever to the next chapter of their lives.Which best describes how you’redoing with getting collegeapplications done on time?Do you plan to attend a four-yearcollege or university next school year?What do you find most stressfulabout the college applicationprocess, and why?How many colleges have youapplied to?“Having to navigate Common App hasbeen challenging, because there are somany waivers that you need to sign andagree with, but you aren’t even sure whatthe terms and conditions are explaining.”- Danielle Sun“The essays - the programs and schools Iam applying to are very competitive, andthus, require multiple writings, includingsupplemental essays, short answerquestions, a personal statement, etc.”- Davina Canagarajah“Writing the really hard supplements.Sometimes I feel completely stuck and amunsure where to go with my writingespecially when schools require multipleessays of that sort.”- Andrew PapaliaWhat is most exciting for you at this pointabout applying to colleges and universities?“Just the thought that I’m moving forward and have thepotential to go to school at these higher institutions issomething new and exciting. It’s also really satisfyingknowing that I’m done with a college application.”- Zainab Hussain“The amount of websites you have to use;and how it’s kind of expected that you knoweverything about college applications evenif no one in your family has applied tocollege recently.”- Ava YatesIf you do not plan to go to 4-year college,what is the reason for your decision?“Getting the results of my acceptance/rejection lettersfrom the schools, being done with the collegeapplication process, and having a fresh start at collegeafter my high school graduation.”- Hannah Jeong“The most exciting part is to imagine myself in thesecolleges and to try and figure out if I would be a goodstudent at this new place.”- Owen MascottSurvey of 103 seniors conducted October 2-10Compiled by Cliff Vacin ‘25