Wednesday, April 22, 2015

J/k



Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,       

My friend and I wrote on another friend’s Facebook that she should just go and kill herself. She always finds loser guys and then they treat her badly and so she comes to us soooooooo depressed.

We listen all the time and we were just trying to lighten her up.  

We were just kidding when we put it on her Facebook and we even said “j/k.” She’s our friend and we have said this before about a lot of things and she never got mad.

She told her mom who took her phone away and took her off Facebook. Now she’s mad at us?! She knows she’s our friend!!!

Signed,
j/k

Dear j/k,


Please write her an apology letter (all of you) on hard copy paper and bring it to her home when her parents are there.  Apologize again to her in front of her parents. Do not say you were kidding. That suggests you are excusing yourselves from very dangerous language.

A twelve –year-old girl in Florida committed suicide because of that very same language. It is abhorrent to use phrases like “You should just go kill yourself” as a joke.  We’re sure you are better than that.

It has become all too common in our society to say things that are rude, nasty, mean, hateful and uncaring. Then to add insult to injury, kids follow those cruel statements with “j/k” or “just kidding” or “I’m just saying.”

It’s a sneaky and distorted way of not owning up to mean comments, suggestions and gossip. Using “j/k” and similar phrases is a form of what’s called “passive-aggressive” behavior. Sometimes teens really do say what they want to say and mean it. We’re pretty sure that’s not you.

It’s like punching someone in their face and then deciding that you aren’t really responsible for the pain. In truth, the person speaking or writing is responsible for causing emotional pain.

Teasing is a natural part of growing up. However, telling another human being that their life is unworthy, meaningless, or has no value is aggressive and troubling behavior.

When communication is done by email, text or with any social media, only the words that are actually written are received. The receiving person doesn’t have the benefit of seeing the body language or tone of voice to match your true meaning. Only 7% of your communication is your words. Those types of phrases then come across more harshly and can be taken as literally, rather than your intended “teasing.”

When you’re cruel and then say, “Can’t you take a joke” or “I didn’t really mean it,” that doesn’t stop the car wreck you caused.

You may be using pride to cover your statement so you can keep a “nice person” image.

Your friend deserves respect. Set new healthy boundaries for your friendship and try to experience how this situation might feel if it happened to you one too many times.

We are hyper-aware of the alarming self-harm and suicide rates that keep rising and happening to younger and younger girls. We know you can be a good example of leading others starting with your own healthy leadership skills.      

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri


Monday, April 13, 2015

High School Confidental



Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,       

This year I moved to Prescott and was enrolled in a high school here in August.
Where I moved from the schools were a safe environment to be in. Kids were not allowed to use language in the halls and there were rules against PDA that no one dared to break.
Rules and tight regulations against drugs were in place so they were rarely caught on campus. We were taught to respect the teachers and in turn they showed respect to us and learning was fun.

When I started school here I was horrified to hear all the language CONSTANTLY used by even the teachers. Kids will walk into class and will be obviously high. One of my old teachers even asked if a kid was high and he admitted it like it was amusing and then nothing was done.
As I walked through the halls I saw couples everywhere groping each other, making out in the corner, and even someone I know receiving (oral sex) on the bleachers. Kids talk about sex all the time and many times I saw vulgar gestures.

During lunch you walk around and see many of the couples sitting on each other or making out. It’s gross and I don't feel like it’s a safe learning environment at all.

My little sister comes home from one of the middle schools talking about how some kid told her he wanted to **** her and said that she could "tickle his pickle." This is sexual harassment and she should not have to go through that at her young age, at any age really. 

At her school there is a rock called “Graffiti Rock” where she heard kids go and have sex and do bad things. One of her teachers even knew about it and advised her not to go there. If her teacher knew about it then why isn't it stopped?

My sister and I should never have heard some of the things we heard. That is not what the "real" world is … it's gross and should not be tolerated. 

Signed,
The Newcomers



Dear Newcomers,

First and foremost: You are correct—you and your sister deserve a safe environment at school.

Sex, including oral sex and any touching, kissing, or caressing of any private parts of the bodies of your classmates over or under clothing, should not be acceptable or tolerated at any school.

We believe when sex is treated as casually as a handshake, it causes emotional damage!

Objectifying behavior in our current culture is confusing. We have the capability to think, feel, care, and love appropriately. Its healthy to want more from our relationships than uncivilized behavior.

It is evident that you are trying to receive, not only a high quality education, but positive and worthy growing experiences that will guide you to a happy and mature adult life. We suggest you set up a meeting with the principal, your parents, and if you have one, the police department’s school resource officer.

Tell them what’s going on and ask how the problem could be solved. Do the same at the middle school.

We were all born with the innate ability to be a leader. We were also born with an inherent compass to know right from wrong. You have a choice to start being the leader you were born to be by confronting the school and police with your information.

Unfortunately many adults stay in denial by looking the other way, but we are proud of you and the opportunity you have to stand up for your values. The community needs to stand up too! 

It’s not as much about where you live but what you do. Every great city starts with finding the silver lining...which is you and your leadership.

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri