I am sitting in my classroom this morning reading A to Z as I always do before my kids come in and I find it very disheartening to see teachers label their students as "bad" or not worth their time. Granted these exact words have not been used but this has been the spirit of some posts lately and I know that many of us use this as a tool to vent and we need to be able to have a place to vent but please remember that our students are still growing whether they are 5 or 15 or 20 years old and need our understanding and guidance. I will admit that I lived an ideal life and teach in an ideal school but we never know what baggage these kids come to us with. Even the "good" kids have baggage. Thirty one years ago today my best friend in the world should have been waking up to celebrate her 16th birthday but she did not wake up at all. The night before she had swallowed 30 Darvocet pills in an effort to rid herself of her problems which seemed great at the time but are now trivial compared to the price that she paid. She was really not old enough to realize what she was doing and it was over the fact that 3 girls at her Catholic school had spread some vicious rumors about her. Her teachers knew that she was upset but she was such a "good" kid that they thought she would get over it. If the "good" kids have baggage, I can only imagine what the "bad" kids carry around--some may not have eaten last night so that a younger brother or sister could and some may be selling drugs because it is the only means of support they have. Students act out because they need a role model to show them to be different. Those who teach at "rough" schools, know that you and your students are in my daily prayers. I ask everyone to reach out to a student today so that Kim's life counted for something. She was only on Earth for a short 16 years but she lives on in my heart everyday and is the reason that I treat ALL of my students with care and respect and because of that they usually show me care and respect in return.