Jewish Journal

When Good Kids Do Bad Things

by Beit T'shuvah

April 18, 2013 | 1:58 pm

By M. Alexander

It is no longer the dropouts and the burnouts that we have to worry about—on every high school campus, there will always be the reckless stoners who sit on the hill and avoid class.  But these students represent just a small fraction of each school.

The kids who have a 4.0 GPA, the kids who take 5 AP classes each year, the kids who volunteer their weekends to serve food at soup kitchens—these are the students who often take wrong turns.  At a local high school, 25 students just got suspended for smoking weed on a school trip in which the students were building houses for the Habitat for Humanity.  What did all of these students have in common?  They were all in ASB, an organization of student leadership.  They were the “good kids.”

I have talked to numerous parents who think that they don’t have to worry about their child.  They say, “My kid gets straight A’s, they’re off to a good university, they got a 2200 on their SAT.  I don’t have to worry about them.  Maybe if they were getting C’s, I would be concerned.”  This is a dangerous parental mindset.  It is often exactly these kids that need the most attention.  They are often watched less closely, precisely because of the fact that, externally, everything looks to be in order.  But left to their own devices, they are still teenagers and they still have the same needs as the stoners, the burnouts, and the dropouts.

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