Another heroin overdose, another suicide: Is growing up in Northfield dangerous to your mental health?

depressionI’ve heard from some young people (twenty-somethings) this week that one of their friends committed suicide and other died of a heroin overdose. 

I’m not providing names of the deceased, as I’ve not talked directly with their immediate families. Please refrain from referring to them by name in the comments.

The sad events prompted one of them to ask via email:

This is now the third person I have at least been acquainted with that has died due to this drug. This news comes shortly after hearing about another of my peers passing away due to suicide. The fifth person I know since I graduated in 2005. Three of my classmates or 1% of the 2005 graduating class have also committed suicide since graduation.

Which leads me to ask the question, "Does growing up in Northfield lead you to have a higher risk of depression?" Can you run a story on what options there are in or around Northfield for at-risk youth. Honestly, something has to be done. Working with both the individual and family, addictino advocates can help you and your loved one achieve freedom from addiction.

What is being done? What more can be done?


  1. Jane Moline said:

    These are two separate subjects. They should not be mudddled together.

    March 17, 2011
  2. Phil Poyner said:

    According to the Northfield News There have been seven deaths linked to opiates in the last several years. The majority of the deaths occurred from July 2007 to August 2008. All the victims were in their early to mid 20s.

    March 17, 2011
  3. Curt Benson said:

    Griff, I’m with Jane on this one, the two topics shouldn’t be muddled together.

    I do understand where the emailer from the class of 2005 is coming from–because I have a child from that class. I’m aware of the five deaths–three suicides, one heroin overdose and one who died from cancer. That is an extraordinary amount of tragedy.

    March 17, 2011
  4. Griff Wigley said:


    Yes, it does help to talk specific treatments for specific problems, eg, chemical abuse, depression, bullying, vandalism, violence, eating disorders, etc. and to what extent we as a society/town can do to help address them.

    But it seems valid to me to discuss these problems from an overall mental health or psychological/emotional well-being of young people.

    Why would that be problematic?

    March 17, 2011
  5. Jane Moline said:

    Because someone who has a child who is mentally ill does not want their problem lumped with a different problem. There is enough societal and personal prejudice and misunderstanding without claimiing they are the same. Itis something like claiming that a child dying of cancer is the same as another child dying of a heroin overdose. You trivalize the illness and the kinds of possible social and medical responses. Such insensitivity is insulting.

    March 18, 2011
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    Jane, when I’ve gone to therapists for my emotional/relationship troubles, those same therapists worked with people who had problems with chemical abuse, depression, bullying, vandalism, violence, eating disorders, etc.

    It’s a great equalizer, just sitting in the waiting room with fellow human beings. We all have emotional shit to deal with and sometimes we get stuck and need help getting unstuck.

    Few people would say to a therapist, “You work with people with depression and addiction problems, too? Sorry, I can’t handle that. I’m not one of those types.”

    Maybe the title of my blog post could be worded better?

    March 18, 2011
  7. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Jane- Addiction iu only a sympton of an emotional/mental problem. Yes it requires further treatment, however if the actual problem had been addressed before addictive substances were used to self medicate, addiction may have not resulted.

    Depression and suicidal tendancies, lack of hope, a feeling of unimportance or betrayal in the young, can be treated or prevented. It’s when these things are not recognized, remedied or prevented, that real hard to address suicidal addiction can rear it’s ugly head.

    In many ways the two topics are inextrcably intertwined.

    March 18, 2011
  8. Jane Moline said:

    I am not stupid or unable to understand complexities. The treatment of addiction and the treatment of depression are different. The resources necessary are different. And two sets of very loving parents who did their best to intervene, prevent and help their children are broken-hearted over two different problems that are COMPLETELY different. In spite of all of the attempts to treat their children and prevent their deaths, both sets of parents (and siblings) are going through devasting loss because all of their efforts were ended.

    We will never successfully treat either of these serious problems if we lump them together. Shame on you, Griff.

    March 18, 2011
  9. William Siemers said:

    While I agree the two problems are quite different, I see no reason for the “Shame on you” language…

    March 18, 2011
  10. Laura Clements said:

    It is really sad to see public commentary like this so soon after the deaths of these young men – one of whom has not even been yet laid to rest. Indeed, friends and family have not yet likely had time to fully feel the impact of their losses.

    As a local blog where most readers know to whom this post refers, waiting until the wounds have healed would have been a more compassionate approach.

    March 18, 2011
  11. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Laura- I would not intend for any pain to be caused by anything I post here or anywhere else. This circumstance these families are dealing with has been occuring here in Northfield, affecting families and friends, for several years.
    Having lost family and a few friends to both causes and combinations or both also, I understand your feelings in the matter.

    However the email Griff started this with is a question that needs answering. Remedies will never be sought by the community at large unless they are engaged in the grief, understand the loss, and develope a desire to participate in the lives of ALL the youth in our town.

    We are the village. And while we brag about our sports stars and honor rolls, we fail raising others miserably. I would like to see that change.

    March 18, 2011
  12. Griff Wigley said:

    To the people who have submitted anonymous comments, we don’t allow them here. You must include your real first and last name. If you think that there’s an important reason that your name should not be included, please contact me.

    March 19, 2011
  13. Barb Kuhlman said:

    If I read Griff’s original post correctly, a young person asked Griff to have this conversation. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong or bad about having the conversation and having it now. Obviously, the topic needs to be handled with exquisite sensitivity, as family members of both those who died are no doubt in an enormous amount of pain, as any parent would be.

    I also don’t believe there is anything wrong with talking about the deaths of young people from either cause (suicide or drug abuse) in the same conversation. The young person who asked Griff to start the conversation asked, “Does growing up in Northfield lead to a higher risk of depression,” and asks what is being done and what more can be done. There may be a link between overdose deaths and suicides, as chemical abuse can be an attempt to self-medicate depression or other mental health problems. It also would be impossible to tell whether an overdose was intentional or accidental. I don’t see anywhere in what Griff wrote a suggestion that the two issues, drug abuse and suicide are the same. The conversation is about possible underlying causes of both concerns.

    Jane, in #6 you say “It’s the same as saying a child dying of cancer is the same as a another child dying of a heroin overdose. You trivialize the illness…” I thought that comparison trivialized the loss of a child to a drug overdose. In a later post you do acknowledge both families are suffering because they couldn’t save their loved ones. We can’t compare, and shouldn’t, the pain of losing a child in one way to losing a child in another way. There will be many similarities to grieving those losses and some differences.

    In response to Griff’s question to Laura about the media coverage of the “possible” drug overdose, I was appalled when I read the Northfield News story. The only relevant thing about the deceased’s legal history is that he had struggled with drug addiction, which they could have stated in a brief sentence. They are the ones who should be ashamed of their insensitivty.

    March 19, 2011
  14. Griff Wigley said:

    Jane, in your mind, is there more of social stigma involved with a heroin overdose than a suicide?

    March 19, 2011
  15. Jane Moline said:

    I think it is in poor taste and terribly offensive to use a recent death –or deaths–as a topic of conversation for a discussion group when the people involved–their relatives and loved ones–may be forced to witness the trivial, banal, insensitive, and often thoughtless discussion of those posting here (me included.)

    March 19, 2011
  16. Patrick Enders said:

    Well said, Jane.

    March 19, 2011
  17. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Jane,who is FORCING anyone to read anything anywhere?

    March 19, 2011
  18. Griff Wigley said:

    Barb, thanks so much for your well-written, insightful comment.

    March 22, 2011
  19. Kathie Galotti said:


    I think I totally get what you are saying. If it were my kid gone….I can’t even finish the sentence, the anticipated loss is so overwhelming.

    At the same time, I think the reason there is such a spate of ‘mental health’ issues in our young adults in Northfield does speak to a need to examine what is and what is not working in this community. I’ve watched a close friend survive two very serious drug overdose/suicide attempts–and watched her jump for months afterward every time her cell phone rings. I’ve fretted over a much less dramatic, but still very painful series of episodes with my own teen. My heart goes out to anyone who’s been seriously concerned about a son or daughter for more than a day or two, and my guess is that that’s a fair proportion of parents of teens.

    I’m a big believer in the Hillary Clinton “it takes a village” mantra. It can’t just be parents, or relatives, or schools, or churches, or youth groups, or neighbors–it has to be some critical combination of some or all of those, the exact mixture varying with the specific needs of individual kids.

    I can’t comment about church youth groups or parenting or neighbors–I only know my own neighbors and friends and overall, I think this is a community of caring parents–but I’m sure my small group of acquaintances is non-representative. Still, even in that group, some parents have gone through hell with their kids–parents who would seem to have done everything “right.”

    I would say though, that as a community, Northfield does not serve teens and young adults very well. We spend lavishly on the senior center, but can’t do anything about a skate park. We can’t keep open a movie theater, or roller skating rink, or other spot where it is ok for teens to ‘hang.’ The middle and high schools aren’t terribly friendly to kids, either. There are these brief nods–Respect Retreats, and Kindness Retreats and other “virtue of the day” retreats–but those are one brief day in the life. Day-to-day, the policies of both schools (actually, I think the middle school is seriously working on this–but the high school isn’t) are to put up barriers to parent communication and keep parents away from any serious involvement, and to let individual teachers have total freedom in how they relate to kids. “Most” are ok–but there are some very destructive bullies and insensitive clods among the staffs, and they have absolute free reign. They never see the damage they cause. Because they’re a minority, they are tolerated. That doesn’t do much for the kids they hurt, though. And neither does the community’s indifference.

    In all seriousness, if i had to attend Northfield High, I would be actively seeking out drugs to help me get through the pettiness and the bureaucratic bullshit the kids have to deal with daily. Or, a nicer way of putting it (with thanks to Griff)–it’s an adult-driven system.

    There are models for us to do better. But we’re not gonna get there by suffering silently while more young adults flounder and die.

    March 23, 2011
  20. Steph Henriksen said:

    Aren’t the police able to locate those who are selling drugs to our youth? Certain housing complexes are known to harbor these people. In fact, a reporter for NNews was working on a story before he left for another job. Where is that story?

    March 30, 2011
  21. Griff Wigley said:

    Posted to the Nfld News website 30 minutes ago:

    Death being investigated as possible drug overdose

    The death of a 42-year-old Northfield man is being investigated as a possible drug overdose. Police were called to a home in the 1700 block of Harrison Court just before 6 p.m. Monday after the homeowner and another woman reported finding the victim, Scott Thompson, deceased.

    Preliminary tests at the scene were positive for heroin, said Deputy Chief Chuck Walerius. Also found were drug paraphernalia consistent with intravenous drug use, he said.

    April 5, 2011
  22. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Because I think the NN will remove my explicit post, I will replay it here.. edited to protect the guilty, and to prevent “civil issues”,

    It’s in our apartments, trailer parks, and house lined neighborhoods. And it’s coming to a KID near YOU!

    How many more have to die before we realize that the heroin in town never left, didn’t recede. Neither has methamphetamine, marijuana, pain-killer usage, alcoholism etc etc etc.

    And it won’t as long as this lovely little town doesn’t get involved, all of us. Be aware of what others are doing and how they are acting. Pay attention. Accept the alcoholism is as much a killer as the dope, report reckless driving!

    Don’t be afraid to call the police when you see anyone or anything that seems a little off. So what if you’re wrong? Better to call and be wrong, than to not call and read someone else overdosed on dope that may have been transported by the suspicious acting person you saw.
    Or that reckless driver you saw speeding through the HWY3&19 intersection just killed a mother and her baby.

    The warming weather will bring alot of this activity outside. That may be a bunch of drunks having a beer picnic.. or… it may be a deal waiting to happen, just happened, or a group of high-fliers. Doesn’t matter -call-! Even if it’s just a bunch of noisy drunks, at least the cops will know who to watch for driving later on.

    This isn’t the cop’s problem or the user’s. IT’S OUR PROBLEM. Burglaries of businesses and homes, car break-ins and theft, purse snatching at events, shoplifting. This also increases when dope is in session. Think it doesn’t affect you? That is probably just a “yet”. It’s going to take all of us to fix it.

    A good start is restoring hope for something better than growing up looking forward to drinking in the bars because there’s nothing else to do and honest jobs that don’t break a body down only pay $8 hr in Northfield.

    One more Thing..
    Allow people to change. Northfield has a real problem with this. “That’s so-and-so, you know, used to be such a big meth-head”. etc.
    When damaging gossip of this variety is undertaken,hope ends.
    Why bother becoming a better person of sobriety if the town you live in only sees the old sin, & never supports the miracle.

    April 5, 2011
  23. john george said:

    Michelle- IMO, truer words were never spoken, these:

    “Why bother becoming a better person of sobriety if the town you live in only sees the old sin, & never supports the miracle.”

    Thanks for speaking up.

    April 5, 2011
  24. Name withheld with approval said:

    Hi to all that are still looking at this post. I am a twenty three year old woman who has suffered from drug abuse. I will be moving to Northfield at the end of this month, and I was shocked by this blog.

    I agree 100% with Michelle Hawkins. There is so much gossip in these small towns, and drugs, and plain old nothing to do. Even if you don’t have children, is it too hard to understand that every child is your child. Every person’s life is another’s responsibility. We must all help each other.

    Of course, all communities will have drugs, all communities will have drinking but think of the surrounding towns of Northfield. The highlight of any of the summers, is the summer festivals where everyone just get wasted. That is what people look forward to, and that is what is marketed to young twenty somethings like me.

    So all of you adults have to take some responsibility. These festivals have been going on for years, and they do have meaning, but that meaning is being lost to the drinking and drugs and sex and plain old shitty behavior that has somehow been intertangled with summer festivals.

    As far as the schools and suicide. There is a ridiculous amount of pressure on young men and woman. Graduates from the 80s had jobs when they got out. There wasn’t sex on every channel, tv shows promoting drug use, and serious pressures to push the envelope just to be cool. Drugs, underage drinking, and casual sex are what the youth are told is cool. Social sites put even more pressure on them to live up to what everyone else is doing and parents are just sitting by watching or not watching this happen.

    Now, I am WELL aware parents are doing the best they can in most situations. But I can’t help but feel some frustration towards my older generations for letting the world get this bad in the first place. We have to stand up for what WE want for our lives, our childrens lives, our societies lives. If that doesn’t happen being cool will continuously kill kids whether to drugs or suicide.

    April 6, 2011
  25. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Hello, welcome to Northfield, home of The Defeat Of Jesse James Days, a three day drunkfest that has been known to result in the bushes of peoples lawns being “watered” by the participants.

    The downtown businesses benifit greatly from this celebration, and I am all for that, but the homes in the nearby area are inundated with loud rock music from the fair, drunkin speeding cars down their streets and intoxicated passerbys that don’t quietly and quickly passby.

    Drugs are rampant, carnies bath in the fast food restaurant bathrooms..and other activities.
    Puke will be on the sidewalk in inconvenient places and single shoes will be found in the grocery store parking lot.

    Many residents leave town for this weekend. Some to come back to a home that’s been burglarized.

    I’m a history buff. I live in Joseph Lee Haywood’s 147 yr old house, and adore it. I immerse myself in stories about Northfield’s past and honor all our historical buildings. With that said, I’ve always felt it dishonors Joseph’s sacrifice when we encourage and promote such raucous behavior.

    And I find it incredibly sad that so many people get involved and riled up about the futures of historical buildings(myself included), yet when it comes to drug and alcohol prevention in a little town, they can’t be bothered. Let some one else do it. The city makes too much money off the city owned liquor store and alcohol loosens pursestrings.

    It WILL take EVERYBODY in this burg. A concerted effort, a solid promotion of sobriety, a real support of the recovering addict and alcoholic.

    I’d like to see an honest meant billboard at the gateways into Northfield;
    “If you’re using drugs and alcohol, WE’RE WATCHING YOU”

    Then it would be greatly effective if we did what the sign said.

    April 6, 2011
  26. Arlen Malecha said:

    Michelle –

    As a life-long member of Northfield and a past committee members and General Chair of the DJJD festival, I can’t help but feel you are making a mountain out of a mole hill when speaking about the DJJD weekend.

    Yes, folks come to town and enjoy themselves in the entertainment tent. Yes, some folks will over induldge and drink too much. Yes, a hanful of people will get into trouble with the law.

    If all you see the DJJD festival as is a “three day drunkfest” then I don’t think you are looking at the whole festival but rather zeroing in on the areas you see as a problem.

    There are many great family activities to be taken in that weekend — tractor pull, car show, raid reenactments, BINGO, carnival, rodeo, bike races, foot races, kiddie parade and the list goes on.

    You state that drugs are rampant & carnies are bathing in fast food restaurants. If you have witnessed these things then I hope that you placed a call to the police because these actions are not acceptable. If you are stating these things as having happened based on rumor or speculation then you are doing a disservice to the celebration and Northifeld.

    A very dedicated group of individuals puts in hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours each year to put on a festival for the people of Northfield and others visiting out fair town. The celebration brings thousands of people to town. People who spend money here in stores, restaurants, hotels, gas stations.

    The many positive aspects of the celebration far outway the few negative ones.

    Rather than posting negative reviews here why not get involved with the DJJD committee or attend a meeting to express your concerns.

    Thank you for your comments in regards tot he drug issues in Northfield. I think we all agree there is much to be done there. But I fail to see a direct link between the drug issues and the DJJD festival.

    April 6, 2011
  27. William Siemers said:

    Cultures all over the world have festivals that include drinking. You may think it’s a bad thing, but billions (yes I mean billions) party it up and enjoy themselves. Support for addicts and alcoholics is one thing, promoting prohibition (‘alcohol prevention’) is another. Most people can have a few drinks and not slip into a lost weekend. Recent studies have shown that people who drink moderately outlive teetotalers. Mild drugs like alcohol and marijuana have many benefits when used responsibly. Some people need to be 100% sober, others can live their lives ‘using’ responsibly. Relax…we’re all not going off the deep end because we catch a little buzz now and then.

    April 6, 2011
  28. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Arlen- please don’t read that I don’t enjoy the festival activities that are sober fun. I do. However the things I stated are things *I* witnessed personally. I worked at Taco Bell for quite some time. Yes I called the police, however in most instances the offenders were long gone by the time officers could respond to the call as their hands were full with other issues of higher priority.
    One of the years I worked there apparently it was fully acceptable for another employee to brag in front of customers that she had sold over $300 of dime bags of pot and “stuff” in the ride area. (I say fully acceptable because when I brought it to mgmt attention this person was promoted shortly thereafter. Distinctly a Northfield response!

    Highschoolers and adults alike have engaged in sexual activities in the restroom during these functions.
    I walked in on a “couple”.
    I worked at the Archer House on the desk evenings a few years ago, remember the year one of their suites was trashed to the tune of $4000 in damages? I rented the room to the couple. They even broke the toilet fixture into pieces and the grand bed was also a total loss.
    I’ve never mopped up so much puke in bathrooms and halls in my life as I did there and Taco Bell, no will I ever take on THAT responsibilty again!

    I lived in Greenvale Apartments. I and others witnessed drug use AND prostitution occuring in cars in the parking lot during DJJD last year.

    I worked at the grocery store, I pointed out the shoes, blouse, and hat in the parking lot,to the courtesy man for picking up.

    Yes DJJD is a wonderful thing. Think how much more grand and wonderful it would be if it was a DRY event like First Night!
    I have no issues with people having a drink to enjoy the celebration, I have issues with the 6TH drink.
    (and the music last year was grossly loud.)

    When I replied above, I assumed someone would come to the defense of DJJD.
    I mean no offense, Arlen, it’s a great boon to Downtown. A Downtown that I love.
    It’s just that it would be so much more enjoyable to so many more people and their families, if there was a Zero Tolerance Policy against intoxication of any kind and it was reported/enforced in every case.
    This CAN be done.
    Disney Parks sell alcohol. Their Zero Tolerance Policy is well enforced, and more fun is had by all as a result.

    April 6, 2011
  29. Michelle Hawkins said:

    William, I am not advocating for prohibition! I agree there is a difference between use and abuse. Some can drink, some can’t, you’re right. In a town where high school kids ache to be old enough to go to bars because there’s nothing else for is a concern.
    Medicinal marijuana? Sure, decriminalize it and sell it packaged and regulated. No problem, quite frankly I’d rather see peop0le smoke pot than drink themselves to death! But until it is legal to use that substance, it is in the commercial hands of the drug dealers and criminal element, the same element that brings heroin to town.
    You may think “Nah we get ours from a friend,and all he does is smoke, wouldn’t touch that other stuff”
    The reality is drugs of all types are controlled and distributed by criminals. Somewhere in the supply train very unsavory people are being supported by pot’s purchase.

    Is that what Northfield aspires too? Support of dope distribution so they can have their “harmless” smoke?

    I am not a prohibitionist, William. I’m a realist. We’re burying people. And it hurts.

    April 6, 2011
  30. Kathie Galotti said:

    At the beginning of this thread, Griff, you asked (among other questions) “What more can be done?” and I’ve been giving that question a lot of thought these past weeks.

    Adolescents and young adults in our community have resources, to be sure–you’ve mentioned the Key, which I agree really offers a unique service to kids. Church groups, I’m assuming, offer another important opportunity, as do sports teams, high school clubs (like the chess club profiled on a recent thread), theater, musical groups. Even some employers really go that extra mile–here’s a shout-out to Paul and Pei Yang, who employ my son in the kitchen of Mandarin–and not only have put up with him, have taught him the value of hard work, of being responsible, keeping commitments, and about honor and teamwork. All that, and they pay him and FEED him every night he works (and boy, that kid can EAT). Kudos to all of them.

    The thing is, though, there are still lots of kids who fall into cracks. Kids who aren’t connecting with their parents (for whatever reason), who don’t go to church, who don’t have the athletic or musical or theatrical talent to make connections to an all-important coach, director, employer…..what about them?

    One place where I would like to start, or rather expand, is with the Academy program at the high school. First of all, it’s already in existence, and it seems to be showing real honest-to-god, no spin results. Failure rates of 9th graders, historically at around 25% in one or more classes, shrunk to under 10% the first year.

    Much of this is I think due to some factors that could be broadened, rather straightforwardly, to all kids at the high school. And without a lot of spending, either.

    The Academy’s success rests, I believe, on factors developmental psychologists have documented for years as affecting educational and other outcomes.

    1. Excellent communication between home and school (not just announcements–real, two-way involvement)

    2. Shared goals of staff and family members. (Note here: “shared” means that the staff can’t just announce goals and assume parents share them–they actually have to talk and build a two-way system of trust).

    3. Modelling genuine respect for kids. The Academy teachers really invest in the kids they teach. My guess is that some of the swaggering/belittling/bullying that goes on in other classrooms doesn’t go on there. My guess is that the kids are not publicly shamed for a bad grade, or thrown out of a class for getting a “poor” grade of B, or berated by a teacher having a bad day who can’t emotionally control themselves. Other kids at the high school and middle school, sadly, are.

    So, in short, I’d like to see more Academies throughout NHS. (I think that NMS is sort of moving toward this model a bit more proactively–that’s good, because they need to, too.)

    In three elementary schools that my kids have attended now (Longfellow, back in the day, BW, and Sibley), I’ve always felt fairly secure that, on the whole, most of the staff genuinely cared about my kids and the other kids. I lost that feeling when my son went to middle school, and NHS has, if anything, been worse (which is not to say there aren’t people in both buildings that care, it’s just that there are definitely some that don’t, and they’re allowed to roam freely and damage kids freely). I don’t think it’s bad people, I think it’s bad practices that have been allowed to get out of hand. Plus, at NHS, a total disrespect/avoidance/opposition to any sort of parental involvement.

    That would be what I would change first.

    April 16, 2011
  31. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks for your thoughtful, detailed comment, Kathie.

    More information about the Northfield High School 9th grade academy:

    The 9th grade academy is designed to provide a small learning community for a selected group of 9th grade students to bridge the transition from middle school to high school. Our goal is to provide a structured and supportive environment where every student is expected to succeed. Please see the documents in the folder below for more specific information about the academy.

    April 22, 2011
  32. Griff Wigley said:

    Painful story in today’s Strib: Suicides stir two families to action

    After two teen girls from the Marshall area killed themselves, their loved ones talk of the signs missed and struggles of middle school life.

    April 22, 2011
  33. Griff Wigley said:

    Two different perspectives re: bullying from the relatives of the girls.

    1. It wasn’t bullying:

    Deruyck and Paige’s mom, Tricia Behnke, said they don’t believe any one thing drove the girls to commit suicide. Instead, they said, they believe it was a combination of things.

    “Let’s face it, there’s drama everywhere in middle school … and it’s stuff that wouldn’t make a difference a week from now,” Behnke said. “The way they talk to each other is unbelievable.”

    “I’m not blaming anyone,” Deruyck said. “I never would blame this on bullying. Every kid goes through a little torment in school.”

    2. It was bullying:

    Moravetz’s uncle Brett Behnke said the family wants to get a message out to parents, teachers, coaches and others in the community. They want them to talk to kids about firing off messages and texts without thinking. “Look at your kids’ Facebook. Watch their texts,” he said.

    “It was kids being mean to each other,” said Haylee Fentress’ mother, Tracy Fentress. “The things that they say back and forth to each other are instant, and it’s horrible what they say to each other,” she said. “I wish there was no such thing as Facebook, and I wish I would have never let my children on it.”

    And to teenage girls, small things can mean the world, Behnke said. “At that age, you can’t see past tomorrow,” and showing weakness would only make things worse, she said. “Sensitive girls with big hearts can only take so much.”

    April 22, 2011
  34. Griff Wigley said:

    A few weeks ago, I asked some local psychologists and family therapists to comment on this blog post. They declined but have since invited me to attend a monthly gathering of their colleagues where we’ll be talking about this issue. I meet with them the first week of May.

    April 22, 2011
  35. john george said:

    This reminds me of the old saying about sticks and stones. It should read thus:
    “Sticks and stones may break my bones,
    But words can actually kill me.”

    April 22, 2011
  36. Michelle Hawkins said:

    Thank you Griff, for taking the time to attend that meeting. Any ideas you learn there that can be shared with the community would be appreciated. Even and especially things people without children at home can do! We may not be a kid’s parent but we ARE the village. We are every bit as responsible for the adults Northfield can produce.

    Some of us care deeply.

    To hear you will go to the meetings is heart touching.

    April 22, 2011
  37. Charlene Hamblin said:

    Wow, Kathy – *very* well said; THANK YOU! Yes, Griff; the Northfield Rotary deserves an *enormous* ‘Thank You” for supporting the Union of Youth/Key!

    April 27, 2011