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Thirty-four teenagers, ages 14 to 16, were on the University of Utah campus this weekend talking about home security systems, injuries sustained in automobile accidents, buildings constructed from Styrofoam and third-generation cell reproduction.

These teenagers were not causing harm to anyone but were students who had taken part in the university's MESA/MEP summer program. All of the students were from ethnic backgrounds and not one wore a blue or red bandanna. The news media received invitations from Kate Rhodes and Abby Van Slice, directors of the program, but did not show.So what is the message being sent to these creative and innovative students? Clearly, unless your pants hang to your knees, unless you hang in the streets after midnight, unless you know how to throw down signs, you are not important enough to report on.

It's time to get a reality check. There are children of color who are spending their summer being productive, setting goals, contributing to society and being positive role models. Kids doing something right, that should count for something. It is truly a sad day when more emphasis is put on youth in trouble than it is for youth not in trouble.

What would it be like to interview a child of color who could be articulate when explaining neutron properties? What would it be like to interview a child of color who respected authorities and enjoyed being interested in learning?

Emma E. Houston

Salt Lake City