Last year I was selected to be a member of the National Honor Society. I’m very excited about this honor and thought that my parents would also be happy for me, but my dad has convinced my mom that the National Honor Society is a racist organization. I asked my principal about this, and he said my dad is completely mistaken. Can you shed any light on this for me?
Nameless: The National Honor Society is a highly reputable organization, which selects members based only on their keen desire for learning and achievement, without regard to race, ethnicity or religion. In my many years as an educator, I have never encountered even the slightest hint of racism at the National Honor Society, and I support this superb organization 100 percent.
It’s important that your parents meet with the principal to discuss their concerns about the National Honor Society so that they will have the truth about this organization and appreciate the honor you have received.
Dr. Wallace: What happens to kids who run away from home and are caught by the authorities? Are they taken to jail? Do they have a criminal record? I’m not planning to run away, but my best friend is. Her problem is that her mother’s boyfriend, who lives with them, is constantly making advances towards her and her mom refuses to believe this is happening. She is only 14 years old. — Nameless, Erie, Pa.
Nameless: I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s terrible dilemma. Too many teens are caught in similar situations and they have no idea what to do and have no one to turn to for help. They feel this is their only option, but, sadly, this is never the best choice.
While runaways are not charged with a crime (and if they are under 18, they’re returned to their parents or guardians), running away usually plunges them into far more trouble than they were before fleeing from home.
Your friend has recourses for ending the sexual advances far less drastic than running away from home. These involve alerting someone in authority — a trusted teacher or school counselor, and positive action would be taken. The school would be obligated to contact law enforcement in her behalf.
Before anything this drastic occurs, I truly hope your friend’s mother wakes up and recognizes the problem — and kicks her male friend out of the house. No child should ever have to suffer the trauma of feeling sexual pressure from a household member!
Dr. Wallace: I recently read an article in our newspaper that said that teens are more likely to use marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco during the summer months. Why do teens get into nasty habits during summer, when there are so many other neat things to do?
Susan: According to a recent YMCA survey, over 14 million young people are unsupervised outside of school. This number soars to over 42 million during the summer months. This problem will never be totally eliminated, but more supervised public programs would do wonders to dwindle these disturbing statistics.