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Students can band together to stop high school bullying

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In our school, people are being thrown into lockers and getting yelled at and called some really mean things just because other people don't like them. Our administration tells us that this is just a part of simple high-school drama. Sometimes I wonder if this is the way all high schools are, and if they are, why isn't anyone doing something about it? — Jennifer, 15, St. Marys, Pa.

To some extent, your administration is right: What you described does happen in a lot of schools. But does it have to? No. Just because they haven't figured out how to deal with it doesn't mean it's not possible. All it takes is one person to start change. Why can't it be you? I think you should gather a group of like-minded people and together start to figure out a way to discourage this type of bad behavior. There also used to be a lot more drunken drunk driving before an organization called MADD started its incredible efforts to educate people about it. You can start a similar movement focused on stopping bullies — and you should! I know you have it in you — and gosh, the world would be a better place because of you.

My parents divorced a couple of years ago. Although I've gotten over the pain, I seem to have trouble deciding who's telling me the truth about things. Do you have any advice? — Vanessa, 16, Pleasanton, Calif.

It's not that you're having trouble, Vanessa. It's more that sometimes the truth can be very hazy — especially in emotionally charged situations. I'm sure both of your parents really believes that they're telling you the truth (even when they're both telling you different versions of the same story). It's just that their feelings are clouding what really happened. So it is the truth — the truth according to them. I don't think either of them means you any harm. It's just yet another reminder that our parents are human. Sometimes life happens quickly, and we don't take the time to talk things through and figure out what really happened. If this happens about a topic that is really VERY important to you to find out the truth about, then you should suggest that the three of you calmly talk it through. You can ask the necessary questions to get to the truth. Then compare their answers with your own knowledge of the situation. If you still feel unsure, you could get a second opinion by asking a neutral family friend or relative how he or she views the situation.

Questions may be sent directly to Atoosa Rubenstein at: dearseventeen@hearst.com. Atoosa Rubenstein, the founding editor of CosmoGirl! magazine, is the editor in chief of Seventeen magazine. © King Features Syndicate Inc.