Monthly Archives: December 2011


Award-winning filmmaker Lee Hirsch’s character-driven documentary delves into the daily torments and heartaches of children and families affected by the shocking bullying crisis in American schools.

The Bully Project, a year in the life of America’s bullying crisis

The Film is coming…….

The Bully Project film is a new feature-length documentary that follows “a year in the life” of America’s bullying crisis, and offers an intimate look at how bullying has touched the lives of five kids and their families. About the Film

The Movement is spreading…….

With the film at its center, The Bully Project is a grassroots movement to educate and empower kids, parents, teachers and all school staff, to build stronger communities where empathy and respect rule. We are building an alliance to turn the tide on bullying. Are you with us? About the Movement

Parents held responsible for underage drinking

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – Parents of teens: If you think a drinking disaster at your kid’s party can’t happen at your house, not with your kid, because he’s a good kid, it’s time to wake up and smell the whiskey bottle tossed on your lawn.

Because of the high risk of underage drinking and driving this time of year, many parents open their homes to partying teens as a way to keep them off the roads. What some may not know is that liability laws can leave Mom and Dad vulnerable to lawsuits, fines and even jail time if underage drinking is found to be going on under their roof.

Parents can get in trouble even if they didn’t know about the drinking.

That’s what a Menlo Park, Calif., father says he is up against.

Bill Burnett, a Stanford University professor, was arrested the night after

Thanksgiving over a basement party thrown by his 17-year-old son to celebrate a big high school football win.

Burnett said he and his wife had forbidden alcohol at the party and were upstairs at the time police received a call about possible drinking by minors. In fact, he said, he had twice made his way to the basement to check on the merry-making.

He spent a night in jail and was booked on 44 counts of suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Each misdemeanor count carries up to a $2,500 fine and nearly a year in jail.

Burnett questioned the deterrent value of laws that hold parents legally responsible even if they didn’t know there was alcohol at the party.

“In this case I think arresting a parent isn’t going to prevent kids from drinking,” he said on the “Today” show.

Eight states have specific “social host” laws that say parents can get in trouble if underage guests are drinking, even if no one gets hurt, according to the National Institutes of Health. (Some of those states allow parents to serve alcohol to their own children in some situations.)

Sixteen other states have laws that hold Mom and Dad legally responsible for underage drinking under certain circumstances – for example, if a teen who drank at their home got into a car accident, NIH said. In other states, parents can get in trouble under more general liability laws.

Stephen Wallace, a senior adviser at Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD, which used to be called Students Against Drunk Driving, said that with an increased awareness of the dangers of underage drinking, law enforcement authorities are increasingly relying on social host liability laws to go after parents.

While he acknowledged that teens are adept at finding ways to drink on the sly, he said he is all for anything that gets at the problem of underage drinking. He said he finds it troubling that the Burnetts said they saw no alcohol consumed at their party.

“Parents need to say to kids, ‘You shouldn’t be drinking at all and you certainly can’t do it here because we can be put in jail,’” Wallace said.

According to SADD research co-sponsored by the insurance company Liberty Mutual, more teens are saying that their parents allow them to go to parties where alcohol is being served – 41 percent in 2011, compared with 36 percent two years ago. Also, 57 percent of high school students whose parents allow them to drink at home said they prefer to drink elsewhere with their friends, Wallace said.

At some parties, the parents themselves supply the booze. In other cases, the kids bring it, sometimes with the hosts’ knowledge.

“Some parents feel helpless,” said David Singer of Demarest, N.J., who has 17-year-old twin daughters and a 20-year-old son in college. “Some parents feel they need to look the other way in order to help their kids fit in with the cool crowd. And some parents believe, ‘It’s better under my roof than who-knows-where.’”

Like Burnett, Singer said he doesn’t condone drinking by his underage kids under any circumstances. And yet he found a whiskey bottle in the yard after a party thrown by his son.

Burnett acknowledged he made a mistake but said he doesn’t believe police crackdowns like the one at his house do much good.

“All of this is probably going to go underground and result in a more dangerous situation for kids,” he told the online news network Patch. “I really don’t think it’s up to the police to help me parent.”

What about teens who take drugs to self medicate for depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc?

I am unclear if you are asking about youth who use prescribed medication and take it as it is regulated or if you are asking about youth who are using what they find to self medicate.

This article on “Good Drugs Gone Bad” might interest you.

When people speak of drug abuse, one immediately thinks of drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. However, people rarely think of the common drugs found in their homes and medicine cabinets. These pharmaceuticals typically are used for medicinal or “good” purposes; however we are starting to see an alarming trend of abuse of this medicine. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, nearly 7 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. That’s more than the total number abusing cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and other drugs – and the number has increased 80% in the past 6 years.
Last month ABC’s 20/20 aired a special they called “Children of the Plains,” that portrayed the Lakota Indian reservation as a place that only dealt with crime, unemployment, alcoholism, overcrowded trailers and crumbling schools.

On Monday, young Native American students from Rosebud, South Dakota released a short video that challenged the claims made by “Children of the plains.”

“I know what you probably think of us…we saw the special too. Maybe you saw a picture, or read an article. But we want you to know, we’re more than that…We have so much more than poverty.”

“The stories are manipulative to the point of tears—literally,” wrote Rob Schmidt on Indian Country about the show. “A boy cries because his mother is an alcoholic. A girl cries because she tried to commit suicide. The school principal, an old lady in a motorized chair, cries because her work is so difficult.”

Schmidt argues the ABC documentary was little more than poverty porn because it didn’t offer any historical context or the causes of poverty for many Native American reservations.

“Are the Lakota responsible for their own plight, or is someone—the government or big business—causing it?,” Schmidt continued.

Sawyer glossed over broken treaties, stolen land and disinvestment by the end of the show, but by then it’s too little, too late. “The ‘poverty porn’ feeling predominates,” Schmidt said.

by Jorge Rivas

Re: Teen drinking. One of the major 'causes' teen drinking, to me, is adult modelling. When adults drink alcohol, and I mean all members of society, it is portrayed as a normal adult behaviour. I think too much attention is given to teen drinking, and not the adult drinking happening alongside.

I agree with this, parents/adults can be the single greatest influence on their children and play a major role in shaping whether their child will use alcohol responsibly in the future.

Here are some tips for adults:

  • If you drink, let your child see you drink only small amounts and let them see you refuse a drink once in a while.
  • If you don’t drink, talk with your child about why you made this choice.
  • Pregnant women or women trying to get pregnant should not drink at all.
  • Treat alcohol like the dangerous drug it can be and don’t ask youth to serve you a drink or get a beer from the fridge.
  • Let your children hear you say that you don’t want a drink because you are driving. Don’t drink and drive or combine alcohol with medications.
  • Show your child healthy ways to handle stress. Don’t make comments about needing a drink to relax after a hard day.
  • Women should not drink more than one drink a day. Men should not drink more than two drinks a day.
  • Finally, count these sizes as one drink: 12 oz. beer, 1.5 oz. liquor, 5 oz. wine.

Short film directed by teen Kiri Davis

“[Racism] is not about how you look, it is about how people assign meaning to how you look.” -Robin D.G. Kelley, Historian

Race is the least important aspect in determining character, yet it is often the most significant factor in how we are perceived.

What are your thoughts?


The Choking Game is a misunderstood activity causing death and suffering for thousands of families worldwide. Have you ever tried playing it? Get the facts.