I've been knitting in bits and pieces all week, but tonight I'll get in a good chunk. I'll be meeting a few friends at the bookstore and we'll talk and laugh and gossip and get a reasonable amount of knitting in as well. I was very glad to have this pop up for this evening, because it's been a grueling two days, and I will welcome the companionship more than ever.
My school lost a student yesterday. One of our 8th graders went home on Tuesday, and didn't wake up on Wednesday. The cause of death isn't known yet, but speculation has been rampant, and it does appear likely that drugs were involved. My population of kids is urban, low-income, mostly "at risk" students. At great risk, obviously.
Emotions cycled and recycled all day today. The boys suck it up and don't say a word. The girls cry, and want to make cards and posters and write poems. A few girls indulge in oneupsmanship....I was closer to him than you were...I have more right to cry and carry on. The kids bring the rumors about drugs into school in the morning, and quickly the underside of the iceberg begins to show. It doesn't take long before there's a growing list of kids who know he took pills on Tuesday, who he gave pills to on Tuesday, who take pills of one sort or another on a fairly regular basis. A rather large list of kids who didn't say a word to any adult on Tuesday.
If just one person had told just one adult that this boy ingested some pills on Tuesday, would he be alive today? Well, yes, there's a good chance that he would. Our kids have bought into this code of silence. It's us against them, they think. If anything good can come out of this, it will be that some of the kids have been shocked into realizing that maybe they do need help, that maybe it really is more important to save a life than to keep a confidence.
I'm not saying anything that hasn't been shown on TV, or been the topic of newspaper headlines. No one reading this right now is unaware of the depth of problems that exist in our youth culture. Everyone knows that every kid is vulnerable...poor kids, rich kids, black kids, white kids, purple kids. So if you have kids living in your home, give them an extra hug tonight. Hold them very close, be a little sappy, remind them that loving someone means keeping them safe.
Keep them safe.