On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Don't be mean or stupid

The one bad thing about drawing and painting every day is that I don't read as much, truly a loss for me. But I just finished an insightful book, ODD GIRL OUT, by Rachel Simmons, that taught me a lot. In addition to earning 10 continuing education units after reading it, the book helped me understand what the teen girls I see in Juvenile Hall and in my own office have been complaining about -- the bullying behavior of their peers. I honestly don't recall this happening 100 years ago when I was a teen but I know it's occurring now and at younger ages. Covert aggressive acts seem to be starting at about nine years of age and the girls are truly, truly mean. I also hear about overt aggression. Being kicked in the face to the point of needing emergency room care -- for no reason that either the victim or her aggressor could identify -- is one story I recall. Fighting and meanness and hurtful attacks, both physical and emotional, seem to come with the territory these days and it saddens me.

Speaking of teens, the Every 15 Minutes program was held in our local high school today. Every 15 minutes an adolescent dies in the United States from an accident involving a teen driving under the influence of alcohol. This program requires months of preparation and coordination from several community resources. It begins outdoors with the entire school population seeing a staged crash scene. The 9-1-1 call is broadcast. Police arrive. Paramedics are called. One kid is put in a body bag and handed over to the coroner's office. One of the injured is taken by ambulance to the hospital and another is helicoptered to the closest trauma center. Parents are called at work and notified of their kids' deaths and conditions. They rush to the ER. The young driver fails the sobriety test in front of the student gathering, is arrested and taken to jail. He is arraigned in a real court by a real judge. All day the Grim Reaper visits classrooms, arriving every 15 minutes to pull another victim out of class. A police chaplain reads the obituaries. There were three direct accident victims today and 17 others from the classrooms. None of them went home tonight. Sequestered out of town, their one task is to write a letter from the grave to their parents. The parents, in turn, write letters to their dead children. At tomorrow's assembly some of the letters will be read. This is the most graphic portrayal of death by teens driving under the influence that I know of. I hope it helps.


  1. Wow-that program is really thorough and sounds as though it would be very effective. I think something like that would have been very powerful and helpful at the high school where I taught, as underaged drinking seemed to be very acceptable and even humorous to both students and parents. It was really frightening. I would love to see a program of that type implemented in this area.

  2. I remember how adamant the author of Reviving Ophelia was about how the lives of girls were different than when we were teens. It sounds like it is worse. WHY? Is it neurological degredation due to poor nutrition? pollution? It seems so systemic.
    I hope the 911 program is effective for you all. The captain of the Drill Team was killed when her boyfriend drove drunk at Homecoming when my daughter was a sophomore. Lots of people sobered up after that one.


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