Hamptons Students and Teachers Clash Over Periodic Table

Hamptons students and teachers battle it out over the periodic table of elements
Hamptons students and teachers battle it out over the periodic table of elements, Photo: Ljupco, Viktor_Gladkov, laski/iStock/Thinkstock

Students returning to school after Christmas break find themselves in a battle with teachers and teaching standards in the Hamptons Union Free School District. And the students have every right to be outraged.

I am not trying to create a scenario by which there is an uprising in the local school system, but I have to side with the students in this matter.

It all started with a high-schooler who was asked, “How many elements are there in the periodic table of elements?”

When the student answered 118, her chemistry teacher responded that that the answer was incorrect because four elements (113, 115, 117 and 118) have yet to be discovered. This dismissal of the student’s response was confirmed by the authorized textbook, which supported the teacher’s assertion. That is when the students, who obviously were more in touch with current events than the teacher and the authors of the textbook, all walked out of class. What ensued can only be described as mayhem.

One local 10th grader, Kirsten, took her lipstick from her Gucci purse and wrote “Teachers Are Stupid” on the wall.

Other students took to social media and announced a full-blown boycott of all area schools, pending an apology from the Board of Education.

“When students are told lies and taught things that are not true, it could have a lasting impact on our lives,” Brian, a senior who asked to remain anonymous, explains, adding, “We refuse to return to school until they admit their falsehoods and irresponsible teaching.”

In the interest of responsible reporting, I researched the allegations being put forth by the students. And guess what? The students are right.

It has been widely publicized that, in conflict with current teachings, as of December 30, 2015, the periodic table of elements has been amended to reflect four new elements. The addition of elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 finally complete the table’s seventh row, rendering science textbooks around the world instantly out of date.

Scientists in Japan, Russia and America discovered these four new synthetic elements by slamming lighter nuclei into each other and tracking the following decay of the radioactive super heavy elements. They are the first elements to be added to the periodic table since 2011, when elements 114 and 116 were added.

U.S.-based International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the global organization that governs chemical nomenclature, terminology and measurement, verified the recent introductions.

So how should we deal with this issue in area schools? It’s only a matter of time before tensions escalate and lead to the toilet-papering of faculty cars or worse.

Nothing short of a public apology from the Board of Education and the teachers union will suffice. Until that time, it’s only appropriate that our students stay home and do not attend school. The solution is elementary.

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