Yesterday, I wrote an article about "blame" .. and said I had no
answers for the death of 15 year old Maddie Kiefer. None of us really
do. But some of the comments that have been made are just flat wrong.
Firstly, let's talk about WFB High School, and/or Principal Henkle. Dear people. High Schools, principals, guidance counselors only play a small role in "raising" a child beyond their education. While the kids are within the 4 walls, certainly, the schools are responsible for making a valiant attempt at keeping the schools drug free. However, they are NOT the police. They are NOT parents. Drug education is important, but honestly it is the smallest piece of the puzzle when getting teens to not experiment with substances. The other pieces? Parents, peers, culture, and police.
If there are peers surrounding a teen doing drugs, and accessible dealers, a billion hours of the best drug education money can buy may still fail.
Please read this carefully: There are two types of people. Those who
have been touched by substance abuse, and those who have not.
Honestly, I might have done the same kibitzing three years ago. But after going through, admittedly on the periphery, having an extended family member with a child with severe substance abuse issues, I have a vastly different understanding than I did before.
Imagine every single day, you had an out of control child. Every single week is filled with small victories, and often large defeats. You absolutely cannot watch the child 24/7. It's just impossible. You have a job to go to, groceries to buy, events to attend. You can't treat a teenager like a 2 year old, carrying them from room to room. Just the fact that they go to school, means they are out of your direct control for 9 hours a day.
In the end, those with substance abuse issues are simply unstoppable in the long term, until they choose a different path.
You can delay their access to drugs, but you simply cannot stop them without shackling them to a pole. You can try to minimize their contacts with the outside world, but can't eliminate them. You can try to minimize their access to money, but they will do what it takes to get their fix, whether that be through breaking in to cars, or selling themselves in the most base manner imaginable.
It is a slow motion tragedy.
I will write this for the third time: Maddie was loved, and after her
family tried 100 things to help her, they tried 100 more.
All their victories were temporary, and were followed by defeats.
Before you think you know how you could have done better; stop. Stop because you don't know, and stop because the Kiefer family just lost their 15 year old daughter and are mad with grief. -- Just stop.
Finally .. to the Journal Sentinel: Printing an email addressed to "Friends and Family" because you argued it was in the "public domain" is INFURIATING. I received it as well, did not pass it along, and treated it like the private missive it was meant to be.
I've been in contact with the author, and know she asked for privacy and compassion, yet the JS ran with it anyhow, adding an "extra level of stress and violation" that the family didn't need. Way to serve the public interest and sell newspapers.
NOTE: I will be writing about this story throughout
the week, including an article from the mother of one drug addicted
child. Please check back, or consider signing up to have this blog
emailed to you when published. (Click here to sign up.)
Make sure you read other items:
- Searching for answers..
- Another Sad WFB Overdose
- Are you in the WFB Crime Zone?
- The Real Property Tax Report
- WFB Police Annual Report
- WFB Crime Alert & Kaehler
- Fargoans .. way tougher
- WFB Election Update III
- Buckley for WFB Trustee?
- Help out WFB - Shop Here!
- Drugs & Whitefish Bay
- Here's an idea: WFB Wi-Fi
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