Thursday, February 28, 2013

"I could never be a high school student today."

At the beginning of December, four local high school students (two couples) were driving home from attending a college basketball game when they got into a bad car accident, thanks an aggressive driver who had been drinking. Two of them died, and the boy and the girl who lived were seriously injured. The boy had to be told that his girlfriend and his best friend had died, and the girl had to be told that her boyfriend and her best friend had died. It was horrible. The only positive part was how the community rallied around them, holding fundraisers and benefits to raise money for their medical expenses and for scholarships in honor of the students who had died.

The girl has been posting on Twitter about her insomnia and how much she misses her boyfriend and her best friend. While most people have been very supportive, apparently a few kids have to be assholes about it -- popping up online saying it's too much, she should "get over it" and stop being an "attention whore." Isn't that awful? Then when she went to a game over the weekend, apparently some students from another school were saying rude things to her because of her missing teeth (she lost five teeth in the accident, and if you know anything about losing teeth, you know that the implant and replacement process has to be done in stages and takes forever). One of my colleagues said she heard on the radio this morning that they figured out the names of the students who were harassing her and that charges will be filed, though I couldn't find anything about that online. The girl's friends have been great, posting supportive messages on Twitter like "Better to have no teeth than no class."  I don't understand people -- if you don't like the girl's Twitter feed, don't read it! I've heard that her parents want to pull her off social media. But that's the way so many kids and even adults are these days -- they live their feelings online.

One on-line commenter said, "I could never be a high school student today," and I know what s/he means. On the one hand, I feel like having Twitter and Facebook back in school might have actually helped me in some ways. I was shy but loved to write, so maybe I would've made more friends, and done so more easily, if I could have done it partially through writing. On the other hand, to actually see people write nasty things about you in black and white, like this girl is going through, would have made me want to curl up into a little ball and die.  ;(  The only way they could do that to me when I was in school was to buy boosters (ironic name) in the back of the high school yearbook making fun of me. I always wondered who were the kids who thought I was such a joke that they actually PAID MONEY to have messages mocking me printed in the yearbook. They were cloaked messages (nothing as obvious as "Her Artichoke Heart is ugly" or anything like that) but I knew. A few years after that they actually had to discontinue the boosters section because they were getting so many messages that were so offensive they couldn't be printed. I guess some things never change....


  1. Unfortunately, that's the thing about being a high school student - you don't have a choice.

    I suffered a similar loss during the Summer after my HS graduation. I didn't hear very much support from my peers and at the time I sure could have used it. Even my HS girlfriend disappeared. I later found out it was because, as teenagers, they didn't know how to approach me or the topic. What does an 18yo know about death, particularly with beach and college approaching? With social media peers have enough distance that they don't feel like things are getting "heavy" posting a small, supportive Tweet that helps with the healing process. The "mean kids" are usually already known well beforehand and are more easily tuned out than we oldsters give credit for.

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a terrible thing to go through. It's hard enough for adults to deal with such a horrible loss, but for kids it's even worse. I like your point that on the plus side, social media can actually make it easier to offer support. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.