Giving Teens a Voice

Huntsville/Madison TTT

Huntsville/Madison Teen Think Tank
Community Partnership For Youth

October 1998

Executive Summary

Community Partnership for Youth conducted a Teen Think Tank in late fall to learn from the teens of Huntsville.  The carefully selected sample, representing many different types of teens included (average, at-risk and high achievers).

Participants:  Age and Ethnic Background

Under 15 years




15 years old 




16 years old 




17 years old




18 years old




19 years old 










School Districts




Huntsville City Schools 




Madison County Schools




Madison City Schools


Using computers to record and tabulate their results under the guidance of Brice Marsh, Electronic Meeting System specialist, the almost 100 teens responded to two questions:  "What are the most pressing issues facing teens in our community?" and "If you were Mayor, what would you do about those issues?"

 A lot of valuable information from the teens was generated during the four repeated two-hour sessions.  When summarized, top concerns can be displayed in several ways:

Prioritization of Concerns by Degree of Agreement
Across Four Separate Session


Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4




Child abuse

Premarital sex



Child abuse

Teenage sex

Teenage pregnancy


Schools don't care about students

Sexual harrassment

Child abuse

Premarital sex




Teen pregnancy



Teen suicide

Abuse (physical and mental)







Alcohol abuse


Sexually transmitted diseases

Racism by peers




Lack of love by family

Communication with parents




Educational costs


Getting killed



Being able to afford college tuition

Teacher and principals who are unconcerned


Teen violence


Top Concerns by Frequency of Comments Across All Sessions





Sexual concerns















Racial Issues












Top Comments Included in Each Category



STD's, Teen pregnancy, pre-marital sex, teen birth control, abortion, having sex, sexual harassment, sex crimes



Weapons in school, crime, gangs, rape, suicide, kids killing kids



Help for family problems, divorced families, lack of parental concerns, parental abuse, child abuse, problems at home, parental neglect



Needing help and not being able to get it, self confidence, nobody to talk to, dealing with losses



Education cost, will I reach my goals, what happens after high school, pressure of succeeding in life, lack of opportunities


Racial/Hate Crimes

Fights, hate crimes, prejudicial, stereotyping certain students, racism by peers, people hating you



No specific comments



Schools that don't care, teachers that can't teach, inactive teachers, uniform delegation of tax for schools



Discrimination from adults, abuse and prejudice by cops, not trust 


After students listed their top concerns, they were asked to respond to a second question requiring students to suggest solutions, If I were Mayor.   While many solutions were given the most frequently cited solutions can be summarized as:


Give us somewhere safe to go / Give us more activities 



Better schools / Teachers / Curricula / Standards



Respect for kids / Listen to us / Give us a role 



Better Policing / Police relations






WE NEED Places to Hang Out

1st group

  • "I would create more places for teens to get together and socialize and have good, clean, safe fun."
  • "give teens somewhere to go"
  • "help fund a very nice teen hang out"
  • "more places for teens to hang out"
  • "increase number of hangouts for teenagers"
  • "I would open more places where teens could "hang out""
  • "give kids something to do. I mean stop kicking us out of parking lots or whatever.  that just makes us mad so we'll go do something illegal"
  • "I would provide more places for teens to go to have fun such as dance clubs, etc."
  • "Madison: give us some places we can go after school that we don't have to go all the way to Huntsville"

2nd group

  • "safe, fun places for teens to hang out and escape drugs, alcohol and violence"
  • "places for teens to go to have fun in a safe environment"
  •  "Give teens, esp. in the black community a safe place to hang out."
  •  "keep the safe places to hangout open later for people who have things to do and want somewhere to hangout late."
  • "create places for all ages that do not allow drinking and smoking."
  • "create a place where teens can go at night without risking getting beaten up"
  • "a place where teens can go with their families to meet others and talk"
  • "develop more teen only night areas"

3rd group

  • "I would help create a place that anyone can go to as a place to have fun."
  • "If I were mayor I would try to find a place where young kids could hang out and not get yelled at ..."
  • "give the teenagers a place where we can hang out and not be harrased when we're doing nothing to harm anyone else or ourselves"
  • "I'd make a place that anyone could go without having to be afraid of being around drugs, violence, or cussin, or anything like that"
  • "make hangouts for people that are not preppy and do not like rap or dance music, so they can have somewhere to go, too"

 4th group

  • "more places for teens to go"
  • "More safe hangouts open late at night when teens are out."
  • "provide many different places for teens to go after school or during the weekends"
  • "make a big place where teens could go to on the weekend to just chill"





WE NEED More visible police

  • "I would hire more police officers to better catch adult drug dealers who give kids drugs" "more law enforcement officers"
  • "make hang outs safer by having patrolling police officers there"
  • "place more unarmed police officers in schools"
  • "Teach cops to respect teens and give them a chance"
  • "Have police in Madison stop being ticket happy and actually go to places on the weekend where people are going to be drunk driving or using drugs so they can keep them off the street."
  • "Teach the cops some manners"
  • "I would tell the cops not to think of all teenagers as bad people"
  • "If I was mayor I would put more cops in schools and on the streets"




Teen Survey - HM Teen Think Tank Sessions 1-2-3-4

Combined Survey Results for selected questions. Please refer to results of individual sessions for comprehensive responses to all survey questions. Also, please note that some questions did not appear in one or more of the session surveys, usually indicated in this report as "N/A".

I am

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4











What do you generally do after school? (Check the major activity)


Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Stay at home by myself





Stay at home with other members of my family





Stay with a relative or another adult





Hang out with friends





Take care of family members





Go to work (up to 10 hours per week)





Go to work (11-20 hours per week)





Go to work (More than 20 hours per week)





Other (See text below)





Other... Session #1
1. I go to chearleading practice.And other related events.

2. cheerleading practice

3. sports and organizational meetings

4. After school practice ie ROTC, Soccer, Track

5. i get tutored, work, or stay with family at my house

6. I go to band practice or other extra-curricular activities

7. after school activities

Other... Session #2
1. doing volunteer stuff with United Way, Girl Scouts, or other meetings, sometimes I babysit.  then i do homework

2. School related activities and other individual activities

3. band practice 2 times a week

4. Usually, I tutor, volunteer, or conduct school-affiliated club meetings after-school.

5. i not in school

Other...Session #3
1. volleyball, or basketball practice

2. I go to swimming practice 2 hours every day.

3. after school i have colorguard, dance( ballet tap exc.) school club meetings and volunteering

4. homework

5. i skateboard im in a punk band where i sing and play guitar and i hang out with my friends

  Other... Session #4
1. do my home work talk on the phone

2. extracurricular activities as well as service projects

then i go home and other members of my family are there with me usually

3. I participate in sports and clubs after school.

4. I stay at school doing different activities like band and softball.

5. Do homework, ride 4-wheeler, hang-out

6. homework, practice, go to ensemble and group rehearsals and meetings

7. cheerleading, dance, and church

8. I go to dance class after school two days a week and the others I stay at home


7.  Do you think there are enough activities for teenagers in your community?


Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4












8.  What extra-curricular activities ARE you currently involved in? (Check the 3 most important to you.)






Organized team sports (basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, softball, soccer, etc.)





Friday dances





Music (including school band, personal music lessons, personal pleasure, or other musical group)





Arts and crafts





School Plays (Drama) 





School Club(s)





Volunteer work (church, hospital, nursing home, assist elderly or needy individuals, other)





Homework support classes (including tutoring, mentoring, and/or seeking personal assistance)





Teen talk sessions (To discuss issues with other teenagers)





A safe place in my neighborhood to meet with friends





Recreational activities (swimming, biking, hiking, skateboarding, shooting hoops, etc.)










Other choices - Session 1
1. friendships

2. boy scouts and jrotc rifle team

3. you need places where kids can sit around, smoke cigareettes and listen to music.  nothing else just a place to chill.  just a big room with couches and a bad ass stereo


5. spend time with friends

Other choices - Session 2
1. cheer on an co-ed all-star team with students from other schools in Madison county

2. school clubs (lit mag, honors societies, enviornmental)

3. I involved with a service club at my school, (BOX). We do different things around the community and also resemble a fraternity.

4. I spend time with my boyfriend and get into long conversations that are about these subjects we have dicussed today.  I am also working on going to the Presidential Classroom in Washington D.C. for a week

5. chores

Other choices - Session 3
1. church

2. going home and taking a nap

3. school football games (attending)

4. ballet tap moderate jazz

5. karatee

6. church on Wed. nights

7. r.o.t.c.

Other choices - Session 4
1. scouts, track

2. i write for the huntsville times teen page to try to discuss teen issues through journalism

also,i write for my school newspaper with the same intent

3. JRotc Drill team and Color Guard

4. newspaper and yearbook staff for school.

5. church and dance

6. Dance classes


9.  What extra-curricular activities would you LIKE to be involved in? (Check the 3 most important to you.)






Organized team sports (basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, softball, soccer, etc.)





Friday dances





Music (including school band, personal music lessons, personal pleasure, or other musical group)





Arts and crafts





School Plays (Drama) 





School Club(s)





Volunteer work (church, hospital, nursing home, assist elderly or needy individuals, other)





Homework support classes (including tutoring, mentoring, and/or seeking personal assistance)





Teen talk sessions (To discuss issues with other teenagers)





A safe place in my neighborhood to meet with friends





Recreational activities (swimming, biking, hiking, skateboarding, shooting hoops, etc.)










Other... Session 1

Other... Session 3
1. helping younger children of the community

2. church

Other... Session 4
1. i would like to be involved with more service org.

i would also very much like to be involved with a group that could help make things better for the youth in huntsville. i know in my heart that the only way things will get better is through faith in would  be wonderful if there were some type of group that could talk about this with others

2. More than just a place in my community, a place for the entire city so I can meet people from different schools


11.  What do you fear or worry about the most during your daily routine?

Session 1
1. being killed by my ex-boyfriend

2. one of my friends are very sick and i'm afraid he may pass away will i'm at school

3. being on time

4. all the things i really need to be doing besides what i am doing

5. that i wont have enough time in the day to do all the things i need to get done. and go to school and go to work

6. nothing really

7. will i be getting into trouble with the school for something i didn't do . they say its just because of the people i hang out with

8. we had a bomv threat the other day in school

9. car breaking down

10. whether or not i will be able to accomplish everything that i have planed for that day

11. am i going to get in trouble to day?  should i skip school?

12. Physics

13. i fear something bad happening(car wreck, raped, something happening to loved one), I worry about test, homework, etc.

14. that something really important will go wrong or something bad at school will happen; fight

15. finding time to do everything i need to do

16. english or math

17. that something will happen to me or that something will happen to my loved ones

Session 2
1. Nothing really bothers me about my daily routine.

One concern would be ticking someone off that i do not know for a reason that is unclear to me and end up in a fight about it.

2. Being caught up in a bad situation.

3. that my grades aren't going to be good enough to get me through undergraduate and into columbia law and become an attorney in nyc, which is my dream.

4. I fear what's going to happen at school, if my family members are ok during the day

5. Not meeting dead lines or missing something important

6. That I'll either not have enough time for everything and homework or that i'll get too stressed out to do anything.  or that i'll come home from school and my car won't be there (because of my brother) so I can't do everything I need to

7. not enough time to do everything

am i doing everything right?

8. Falling asleep during class or being so busy that i forget to do something

9. homework, grades. I often get overwhelmed withthe things I must do

10. In miy daily routing, I usually worry about my time management.  Failure is the key fear.  I am scared I will forget an important activity such as volunteering or calling people.

11. safety in whatever I'm doing

and what my family is doing

12. i fear nothing

13. Not much.

14. I fear or worry about nothing

15. having time to get everything done.

16. Somebody might be following me.

17. -- What people think of me at school, church, etc.

-- Trying my best to succeed in school.

18. getting rapped again or getting beaten

19. nothying specific

20. doing good in school

Session 3
1. That I won't get far in life because of the way the media sterotypes the high school that I attends

2. when i'm going to get my homework done, and if i'm gonna pass a class....

3. My future and my girfriend

4. nothing!!!!

5. being killed or losing friends

6. doing somthing wrong

7. being tired and running out of time to do homework or study for test

8. my friends and my homework and my cat

9. I fear that I might get jumped on by a group of girls

10. At school,  well what would happen if someone brought some kind of a tool that could hurt me or a classmate, or student.  At home, someone could break in.

11. doom

12. getting to work on time

13. nothing really

14. being interrupted by non members that are just trying to start trouble

15. how  much homework i'll have

Session 4
1. what will the next day be like

2. i worry about the people i love getting hurt

also i worry about my grades and how others feel

3. Conflicting events in my schedule. Oh the pain.

4. I worry most about being abel to fit all my interests and activities in the time I have while also trying to not neglect my studies.

5. I worry a lot about grades and being accepted for who I really am, not who I pretend to be.

6. Who looking for me and if i'm going to make to college to play b-ball.

7. If at school - bad grades, fights

At home - doin somethin wrong

8. how to do all my homework and go to work

9. hurting someone's feelings

10. Getting in trouble in school

11. completing all my tasks

12. stressing out and dieng and society

13. that it's going to be all i ever do and i'll fall into a routine and never get out and go insane become a hermit and then i sit up and get my car keys and drive around wasting gas looking for something to do

14. School, my grades, and getting into the college I want to go to.

15. messing up

16. I worry about how I'm going to all of the things I need to do in sucha short time frame.

17. I'm afraid that I haven't finished everything that I need to I'm always forgetting something.

12.  Do you feel safe at school?












No (if not, please explain below)





No... Session 1
1. we had a bomb threat one day

2. there have been a lot of shootings lately in the publlic school systems here and in other parts of the country

3. everyone has their days. some days you have nothing to worry about, and then some days if a fight breaks out, you never know what will happen

4. i do sometimes but other times i don't b/c people will stand in groups and not let me by until they stare at you for a couple of minutes

No...  Session 3
1. i don't feel safe around the faculty they just look for something to get you in trouble for

2. sometimes

3. violence

4. u dont know whats about to happen , u have to look around to make sure your safe

No... Session 4
1. i worry about rape and fights escalating to murder

2. Some people look and act like they are about to go crazy. Teachers don't know what is goin down.

3. there is to much vilance

4. because i have been beaten up and thretened by several people and the school authorities will not do a thing about it....they say "ok i'll look into it" and they do jack...because it still goes on

5. i have heard of to much bad activities such as smoking and fights to fell safe


13.  Please describe 2 or 3 steps that, if taken, would be effective in reducing drug use by teenagers.

Session 1
1. Better drug awareness

2. education, education

3. giving kids something else to do

4. teen awareness

5. harsh sentences

volunteer servicce at drug rehab

6. strict penalties and police officers in schools

7. get the dealers off the streets

8. let them talk about it freely

9. more p;aces to hang ort

10. higher penalty

destroy availability

11. make it legal.  people won't do it as much if they were allowed to.  allow people like a couple pounds of pot or year, but not too much.  legally limit their use.  but don't eliminate it

12. Education


 Taking time to help out students

13. make unacceptable and parental support and action

14. metal detectors or frequent checks

15. give them more places to hang out and more things to do

16. locker searches

 car searches

 known consequences

17. reduce flow of drugs

 raise cost of drugs

18. more awareness and more things to do

Session 3
1. Well you have to crack down on the source in which the drugs are coming from, that will reduce the amount of drugs in our community

2. more drug tests!! a lot of adults don't know for sure who does and doesn't do it.  the tests have to be sparatic, so people won't know when not to do them

higher penalties.

3. Stiffer penelties,  busts more often

4. more after school activities with agreeable people;

management classes so alcohol and drugs aren't used to deal with things

5. giving periodical drug tests;   observe students' actions

6. don't talk about it to kids when they are young that way they might not know drugs are around them most teens go looking for drugs they aren't pressured

7. #1  outlaw drugs all together

 #2  Keep drugs for medical uses only

 #3  Add things for alternatives of drugs

8. keep them busy and they won't have to use drugs for fun

have someone they can talk to so that don't have to use drugs as a way out

9. more programs and effective, voluntary rehab

10. more drug education in schools

11. I think that they should have drug tests, and metal detectors.

12. higher penalty and daily beatings

13. -catch them while they are doin it and get them ina rehab to stop doing drugs

14. teach them right at home

15. i dont care

16. out law it

 have cops everywhere to stop it

17. don't give them a hard more understanding

Session 4
1. #1expel them

 #2 tell them what could happen and what the consequences could be

2. more alternatives instead of drugs

 more faith in God

 more involvment in other things

3. 1)Scare them straight.

 2)Have more crack downs on users and sellers.

3)Make extrememly stricter laws, such as 10 years in a federal pennetentury for every gram of marijuana.

4. There should be more education about the affects on their lives and more support groups for those who feel that there is no other way out.

5. educate people at a younger age about what drugs do to you;

have rehabilitated abusers come to the school and tell their story.  Have them tell what they went through with addiction.

6. get younger faster police because the ones that we have now are to slow

get more police

7. take offenders to mental hospitals or rest homes where people have o.d on drugs and let them see not what could happen but what they will become

8. Checkin

9. stricter laws, locker searches and car searches

10. penalising dealers

11. find out who is selling to teens and bust them.

 take drugs off the street

 help teach teens about the dangers about drugs

12. better counselors

 don't dramatize drugs, use straight facts to convince

 legalize marijuana

13. something else to do    better morals/caring taught at a young age and on through

14. #1. teach them all the correct affects about specific drugs....and use teachers who know from experience and haev stories to tell

 #2. have teens who have had experiences talk to them

 #3. and have much stricter laws to punish people envolved in drugs

15. Make it harder to get drugs into the schools.

16. stricter laws.

 More awarness to teens.

 Class that can show the major concequences

17. could legalize some, or fine.

18. (1) more education on drugs

 (2) stricter penalties

19. I just think that if there was more activities that were fun and open to all individuals then I think that there would be less drug use.


14.  Please describe 2 or 3 steps that, if taken, would be effective in reducing the number of teen pregnancies.

Session 1
1. teen awareness

2. peer education

3. teach in school at an earlier age about pregnancy

4. condoms in bathrooms

5. free condoms

more info about consequences

6. free condoms.  try to make them realize what's it really like to be pregnant. and it's not fair to the teens parents to take care of it

7. Education

Provide condoms

8. teach students to abstain from sex and that it is not "cool" to sexually active, nor is it attractive

9. no sex instead of safe sex and better statistics

10. educate teens on the effects of teen pregnancy

11. teach NO sex

 teach how hard it is

 show what you miss out on

12. enforce the use of condoms very heavily

Session 3
1. Offer teen sex education in all schools and offer birth control to any teenager that feels that she needs it

2. prayer back in schools, more people would have morals, less pregnant people!  (check the works)

3. codoms in school

4. exert the pain on them that they would recieve if they were having a child

5. earlier sex education,  better knowledge and use of condoms

6. more sex ed

availability of sex protection

7. hand out condoms;  offer sexual education classes

8. birth control

9. #1  Have TV commercials stating that teenage sex is bad.

10. have positive programs where teens can get together with close friend and have fun but not sex

11. better sex education, better availabiility of protection and birth control, better values at home

12. sex education

13. one don't sell condoms to them, make them more knowledged about how you get pregnant.

14. distribute condoms at school

15. condoms,

16. dont have sex

17. there's not much you can do. I mean, if kids want t odo it, then it's there choice

18. i'm not sure

Session 4
1. #1tell them the consquences

 #2tell them how hard it would be

2. more religious reinforcement

 more sex ed

3. teach more awareness

 give out birth control


 it's their own choice. No matter what you do.

4. We should not only make their options known to them about how to prevent it, but again have groups to deal with the presures that lead kids into these situations.

5. 1. educate people on pregnancy.

2. Give teen girls some one to talk to and care for them (big sister groups, etc.) so they don't think they need someone to love them.

 3. Have them watch the Miracle of Life video.

6. hand out condoms or put them in the restrooms at school for 25 cents

thats all you need to do

7. Protection

8. give out birth control

9. watch out for certain people and what they're doing and make parents watch their children more

10. birth control


11. sexual education

12. hand out condoms and give more anonamous examinations for birth control

13. 1. encourge the use of condoms and pass them out if nessicary and explain the emotional troubles that coem with it

2. leave abortion and adoption up to the mother only....and encourage pro-choice

14. Teachers need to really talk to people about the affects of sex at such a young age.

15. show preventive ways

 Give places that a person can go to seek help.

Show what the hard times of life are like when teen pregnacey happens and all the oppurtunities a person misses.

16. it's choice..there's really nothing you can do.

17. 1. more information on what it's like to have a child

 2. more available information on birth control

18. I don't know if there really is any way to reduce the number of teen really is a teenangers choice and if sex is what they choose to do then there really isn't anything that you can do about it-I just think that encouraging abstinence is the best way to go.


15.  What do you think schools should do to prevent students from skipping school?

Session 1
1. Have more interesting classes.

2. allow smoking,off-campus lunch

3. make school interesting and fun and also give smoke breaks, i know alot of people who leave fust to smoke

4. more openness at school

5. make class more interesting and stricter parents

6. allow smoke breaks at school

7. make more excitine

more time for lunch

8. smoking breaks!!!!!!  imeanit

9. Make school more intersting

10. off campus lunches.  most students just want to leave for about 30 minutes or so

11. give them at least one break during the day

(other than lunch)

12. don't worry about it, if the kid skips and fails-they deserve it, otherwise, more power to 'em

13. make classes more interesting

Session 3
1. They should have more police officers and better security officers in the schools. At Johnson there are two that doesn't do their job the way they should

2. make it more fun

3. put people in in houses

4. nothing, if a student wants to skip his/hers education its their choice

5. tighten up on security

6. make it funner

7. Add stricter rules for skipping.

8. when they come to school they must personally sign in

when they live school a parent must be there to sign out and have some type of identification

9. make curriculum more based around individual need,safer, and more interesting

10. make it a law

11. Hi-tech security.

12. not forcing them to go hey lets face it not every one functions the same were all differrent and some people dont belong in shcool if they mess up its there fault

13. nothing

14. more security

15. dont care

16. have teachers at every hall way

17. put security in places they are needed

Session 4
1. explain the importancy of an education to the students

2. teens will do this no matter what you tell them..all you can do id try to motivate

3. Bust em everytime.

4. Becoming more strict is not the complete answer, because it may cause teens to rebel more.  Their reason for skipping should be found out and delt with in a kind matter.

5. 1. Have tougher consequences.

2. Stick to those consequences, no excuses. Senior or not, even if the whole senior class leaves the same day, they skipped they should face consequences.

6. they should let the senoirs that pass the graduation exam have more freedom then the rest

7. stop putting so much pressure on them as individuals to be as smart as anyone else many leave because of embarrassment but hide it under an attitude

8. Call parents

9. nothing if a student doesn't want an education don't force it.  if they do go to class they will probably be disruptive.

10. call parents when student is abscent

11. make it fun

12. better trained counselors that aren't bogged down, don't leave the talking up to parents

13. give us some sort of long break       a later school starting time!!  more social skills!!!

14. have teachers who are fun and know alot about what they are teaching.....and they should not make required cources....leave the course choice to the kids.....the ones who do not take the good ones will be weeded out

15. Make school more fun, so people would'nt have to skip school.

16. More security and stricter punishment for those caught

17. stricter penalties

18. I think that if there were more activities during the school day then I think that students would be more willing to come to school...and I also think that if there weren't so many rules then I think students wouldn't be so stressed about going to school...if they could be themselves they would feel


16.  What should your community do to make it a better place for teenagers?

Session 1
1. Pay more attention to us,because we are people also.

2. don't prejudge us as bad

3. be more open for teens

4. less drugs

less crime

5. let us hang out downtown with cops harrassing us

6. Give teenagers more hangouts

7. see what they think

8. better places to hang out and more things to do

9. give them more places to hang out safely!

10. place to go, tolerate our eccentricities

11. have a set curfew of midnight

Session 3
1. It should make more activites availbale...i.e Southern Adventures

2. talk to us and see what we need

3. have more places for kids or teenagers to hang out

4. give us a place to go and hang out

5. there is nothing they can do if teens don't want to cooperate then they just wont

6. arrest the police

7. they should clean up and have more activities where teenagers can get together

8. more places to hang out, programs where kids and elders can talk and listen to each other

9. they should build more places for us to go

10. build community service hang-outs   where you have games you rent out and use them in that building.  Have one in every neighborhood.  We had them where i used to live.  It was very effective and everyone used it.

11. pool halls baby

12. make places fo us to go that are protected by really cool cops that arent strict and stupid

13. stop calling the poloce sayin theres a drug deal going down and your just standing there

14. build a skatepark for the love of god

15. listen to kids ideas

16. stop drugs and drug dealers from being on the streets

Session 4
1. have more areas to play sports and hang out

2. encourage everyone to be good people..make being a good person seem like the "cool" thing to do..thats the only way some of the more image-concerned people will respond

3. Keep the cops off their backs

4. There should be more activities that are open later so kids have a place to go when they are out at night.  Also, there needs to be made some way for teenagers to disprove their bad reputation.

5. They need to have better places for us to hang out together. if there were places where we could hang out, legally there would be fewer violence attacks, etc.

6. my neighborhood is'nt bad

7. Listen to us

8. the community is fine

9. have more police to patrol

10. make it safer

11. more forums for diversity discussions

programs that give knowledge and education a positive light

12. something to do clubs

13. add rec centers and skate parks and book concerts and don't discriminate loiterers unless it's privte property

14. Get the drugs off the streets.

15. Make a safe place teens can meet and help crack down on all the illegal activities that occur in a neighborhood

16. make hangout places

17. provide more place for them to go

18. start giving the teenagers more say in what they want to do.


17.  Do you have any other comments, observations or suggestions about teen activities and support in your community?

Session 1
1. my community is very open so you are able to do as you like

2. require community service to graduate

3. we need more that are FREE

4. let skaters shate around more becausr they are teens with nothing to do also

5. provide more recreational activity places for teenagers

6. My community need more teen activities

7. more teen groups like this

8. we should have more committees to help the teens in the city

9. respect teens, educate them, listen to them, and give them adequate space and they will turn out fine.

Session 2
1. I believe should be given a true fair chance and be based on the stereotypes left by previous generations. Those generations are the parents that bash us today and I do not believe that is fair. More parent and teen activites should be made as well as places for teens and parents.

2. get teens more involved

3. The more people involved the better

4. there are plenty of activities but teens just don't know about them.

5. a lot of teens DO want the things we discussed tonight, but don't have the time to help out in creating them.

6. there are many teen activities in huntsville the hard part is taking the iniciative to get involved.

7. have activitues that will brin the city together more often. the whole community will benefit more than you think


8. The community has improved in providing access for teens who wish to be involved.  However, the outreach is limited to students of privileged families.  For instance, many volunteer activities are accessible only if the teen can find his/her own ride.  Teens should be able to be involved with the community without relying on insignificant details like getting a ride.

9. there is absolutely nothing offered to any of the teens in madison other than school activities to my knowledge-if there are some offered they obviouly are not made public enough  for  me to hear about

10. i suggestion  everyone be involve in something like sports goups church activties

11. There isn't a whole lot of it.

12. No

13. There might be activities for youth in my community, but if there are, they don't tell me about it, or tey don't tell but a few select people who never tell anyone else.

14. I hope this group gets off to a good start because this is what huntsville and madison really needs.

15. I just wanted to reinforce the importance places for teens to safely hang out inexpensively.

16. Don't judge teens by the way they dress or whether they smoke... I smoke and look like a grunge person that is a low-life....I make straight a's

17. I think hazel green needs more activities for teens to participate in

18. I think more teens should get involved in the community

Session 3
1. I think that the community is doing good with the teenagers. I think they should just listen more to what they have to say

2. no

3. More varied school sports.

4. more programs like this!!!!!!!

5. make more hang out spots for us

6. no

7. not really

Session 4
1. always try to motivate and encourage all students...everyone needs love and encouragement

2. We need more teen involvement. Adults should open their minds.

3. Teen support at home needs to be uped and parents should not only expect the best from the kids but help them to acheive it.  Teens also need to be involved in the decision process of the changes for the community.

4. There are many teens involved with United Way and American Red Cross, it's just the matter of getting people who don't care, to care. But what's going on is good, there should just be more of it.

5. Need more

6. no

7. I think it's a big help and a big improvement

8. basketball



10. a care council!!

11. No.

12. Make activities that all can participate in.

13. no


18.  Would you like to help develop community activities for teenagers? (If yes, please print your name and phone number on the signup sheet before you leave today.)





Note:  For obvious reasons, the names and telephone numbers of the teenagers were omitted from this presentation.

19.  What will you tell your friends about this "Teen Think Tank" activity?

Session 2
1. I will tell my friends about how this was a great chance to get my voice heard by someone other than another teen and the wall. This think tank is a great way for other students to get their voices heard.

2. I will tell them it was a learning experience for me and that I hope it made a difference.

3. it was fun and informative, and i feel like i had a chance to voice my opinions about this town

4. I personally like this activity and would tell my friends that they should get involved with this activity if it comes back.

5. It is a very good project and hopefully something will change.   If it ever comes back they should try it.   It's fun and you meet many different people.

6. i think its cool and it's a good idea for meetings  but sharing computers isn't great and it gets tedious to wait for results

7. It was incredible, meeting with kids my age to discuss issues that are important to me.

8. That i worked on computers with several other teenager to answer questions on the problems facing Huntsville and Madison

9. it allows teens to voice their opinions. we actually have a say which is very pleasing. we are contributing to society

10. the Think Tank was very informative and helpful.  It helped me realize what issues are important to other teens in the community.  This was a very eye-opening experience and will help me to continue to accept and understand more ideas.

11. it was a great opportunity to voice my opinion and i am for once confident that everything i said will be heard and acknowledged as something with value

12. it was something to do

13. It was a fun experience, and it made me consider several issues I had previously given little thought.

14. I will tell them that it is good.

15. Of course. This was so cool!

16. They need to give you a call because they need to voice their  opinions also.

17. That it was fun and influential

18. It was fun, quite enjoyable and useful

19. it was interesting and i hope to do it again

20. It was interesting and I got to give my opinion about problems

Session 3
1. I will tell them that I honestly believe that my opinion made a difference

2. it was a fun time. It lets the people know what we need.

3. i would say that it was a good experience that you can do to show what you feel

4. It's a very good idea

5. It was interesting

6. that it was a great experience and i am glad to be a part of it

7. thumbs up

8. it was a good way to get a point across

9. It is a great experience and I strongly like it.

10. i will tell them that i am grateful i was selected to attend and it was one of the best opputunities and if i can i would love to do it again

11. that its awesome, leaders in our community are actually starting to listen to what we have to say, and some adults do care, they're not all pissants

12. I would tell them about how interesting it was and how people in our community care about us

13. it's awesome to participate in

14. (Comment deleted because of uncomplimentary reference to another think tank participant.)

15. that it was a good way to express your ideas in the subjects that matter to you the most

16. its realy cool and if they get the chance they should try it

17. it was good

18. I'll tell them that this is a good support group that will listen to your ideas and won't think they're stupid

19. that i enjoyed it because it gave teens a chance to tell how they feel about everything going on in the community

Session 4
1. it is a great program and is very fun

2. i will telll them that i feel like i have made a difference and that our voices can be just have to tell people that you want to be heard

3. It was pretty cool. You get to see what other teens have to say about these issues.

4. I will tell them the wonderful experiejnce I had and what I found out about how other teens feel about these important issues.

5. It was a great experience and really helped me get my views in the community to be heard.

6. to volunteer next time

7. it was awsome. we were heard without having to feel stupid and it was nice to have our peers hear our ideas and vote on them we have been heard i will also tell them if they did't go to stop complaining and get involved and do something about it or shut up

8. Interesting

9. it is fun and educational and can solve many of huntsville and madisons problems

10. It wasn't too bad and it was fun on the computers.

11. yes

12. that it is a productive, thought provoking, and hopefully effective activity

13. that it was fun and a good way to make a difference and learn what other teens thought

14. i'll tell them it was interesting and fun

15. That it is a great experence.

16. That it was a fun activity that got me more aware of the problems that are occuring in my community

17. it was informative and knowledgeable

18. it was very interesting and i learned a lot

19. it was fun and a good experience


20.  What do you expect will be the outcome or results of your recommendations at this teen think tank?

Session 2
1. It will show the community that we are not all mindless drug addicts like they believe and that we should be given a real voice that will be heard. This voice will be heard when  we grow older but we should be able to practice it now.

2. I guess these results will go before the heads of the community and the mayor to help make decisions that involve the youth of the city.

3. The mayors of Huntsville and Madison will finally know what teens here think and want from the we need more stuff to do.

4. hopefully we can get teens involved more activities in their community.

5. Hopefully more things to do in Madison and better management of problems.

6. hopefully positive and they will make some sort of change

7. I would like to be optomistic about it, but I'm afraid that whoever reads this will do just that...and nothing else.  I would really like to see at least one tiny change in our community in regards to teens and our problems

8. The mayors will read the information as well as newspapers and began a process of develpoing a solution

9. they will be thought over and be put into use

10. Hopefully, Mayor Spencer and Mandura will study and analyze the results of the Think Tank and put some suggestions into effect.  They should realize that there are always people willing to help.

11. better rights for teens and a more stabile community and school system in the future

12. things will get done

13. I expect that our ideas will be briefly considered and then ignored.  This is in part to the several ignorant and unrealistic people participating in the session.

14. I think that they will come out fine.

15. I hope my thoughts will be of some good use to the good people who are trying to provide teens with a better future.

16. Hopefully the mayors and other officials will realize what teenagers really want and need.  Progress for the youth of the future would be nice too.

17. I think it will greatly change our city

18. I hope some of my suggestions will be carried out and something will be done

19. i hope my ideas will be considered

20. consider our opinions

Session 3
1. I think that the people in charge will understand what we are talking about and would be more active with us

2. mayor will read the good ones, or the ones most oftenly talked about, think about it, and maybe hopefully incorporate the good ideas into thhe make up of huntsville.

3. people will look and do they better to see what is need.

4. maybe they will come to use i am not sure what will happen

5. nothing, except for some politicions bragging about it

6. I hope they will be used

7. laughed at and thrown away

8. i hope they wil be used to make the world a better place

9. I think (or at least hope so) that they will be taken seriously.

10. i think they will be used to better the community

11. I think they will help the leaders understand what we see as important, and what we see as effective solutions to serious problems.  I think they will open up a new way of doing things worldwide, a new enlightenment era

12. yes

13. I would hope that they would be used

14. nothing

15. i have no idea

16. nobody will care about building a skatepark

17. I think that they will be listened to and will be respected by and will try to have some kind of influence on the people who make the rules

18. hopefully something constructive

Session 4
1. they will be sent to the mayor to decide about teens in our society today

2. i hope that they will be take seriously because i am sure everyone here has unique important ideas...everyone's imput is may need to read in to some of the ideas

3. Probably ignored. Just like all those other surveys we take in school. At least I know that some other teen has seen my ideas. That's all that matters. Adults can't stop the revolution.

4. I believe and hope that they will be looked at carefully and soemthing will be done about them, not just passed off as ideas from kids who don't know what they want.

5. I hope they will be shown to government officials, so that things can be done and improved using the good suggestions that the teens came up with.

6. i hope takin forreal

7. even if they are not heard by adults at least my pears have something to think about

8. People will consider it

9. the information will be looked over  by officials and dealt with.

10. People will consider them and compare them to others.

11. it is fun

12. given to the different people and organizations that have the financial means to make changes

13. I hope they will be considered and some changes will be made.  and this thing will spread to be a nation wide solution to some problems

14. hopefully a lot.....

15. I think it will be put to good use.

16. they will be read and considered and if it is like the past city officials will say steps are being take to achieve new goals but nothing will really happen

17. i don't know...

18. I hope they will be taken into consideration by city officials and community leaders

19. hopefully our ideas will be put to use and things will be changed.


 Questions and Choices in Original Order
(Note: The questionnaire for the survey was modified several times during the four sessions of the Teen Think Tank; therefore, this set of questions and choices does not map exactly to the combined responses as presented in this report. However, these questions have been included for clarification of some of the multiple-choice responses that have been abbreviated very much in this report.)

1.  My school is:

1.1  Bob Jones High School

1.2  Buckhorn High School

1.3  Butler High School

1.4  Grissom High School

1.5  Hazel Green High School

1.6  Huntsville High School

1.7  Johnson High School

1.8  Lee High School

1.9  Madison County High School

1.10  New Hope High School

1.11  Sparkman High School

1.12  Home School

1.13  Private School

1.14  I am currently not in school.

1.15  Other school or situation (If none of the above, please check the box and enter school or explanation.)

2.  My year in school is:

2.1  8th grade

2.2  9th grade (freshman)

2.3  10th grade (sophomore)

2.4  11th grade (junior)

2.5  12th grade (senior)

2.6  Not Applicable

3.  Mode of transportation to school. (Please select the option that represents the majority of the time.)

3.1  Walk

3.2  Ride the schoolbus

3.3  Ride with a parent

3.4  Ride with another adult (carpool, etc.)

3.5  Ride with another student

3.6  I drive my car

3.7  I drive my parents' car

3.8  Public transportation

3.9  Other (please describe)

4.  My age is:

4.1  13 to 15 years of age

4.2  16 to 18 years of age

4.3  over 18

           5.  I am:

5.1  Male

5.2  Female

6.  What do you generally do after school? (Check the major activity)

6.1  Stay at home by myself

6.2  Stay at home with other members of my family

6.3  Stay with a relative or another adult

6.4  Hang out with friends

6.5  Take care of family members

6.6  Go to work (up to 10 hours per week)

6.7  Go to work (11-20 hours per week)

6.8  Go to work (More than 20 hours per week)

6.9  Other (please describe):

7.  Do you think there are enough activities for teenagers in your community?

8.  What extra-curricular activities are you currently involved in? (Check the 3 most important to you.)

8.1  Organized team sports (basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, softball, soccer, etc.)

8.2  Friday dances

8.3  Music (including school band, personal music lessons, personal pleasure, or other musical group)

8.4  Arts and crafts

8.5  School Plays (Drama)

8.6  School Club(s)

8.7  Volunteer work (church, hospital, nursing home, assist elderly or needy individuals, other)

8.8  Homework support classes (including tutoring, mentoring, and/or seeking personal assistance)

8.9  Teen talk sessions (To discuss issues with other teenagers)

8.10  A safe place in my neighborhood to meet with friends

8.11  Recreational activities (swimming, biking, hiking, skateboarding, shooting hoops, etc.)

8.12  Other (Please enter one or more other activities)

9.  What extra-curricular activities would you LIKE to be involved in? (Check the 3 most important to you.)

9.1  Organized team sports (basketball, baseball, football, volleyball, softball, soccer, etc.)

9.2  Friday dances

9.3  Music (including school band, personal music lessons, personal pleasure, or other musical group)

9.4  Arts and crafts

9.5  School Plays (Drama)

9.6  School Club(s)

9.7  Volunteer work (church, hospital, nursing home, assist elderly or needy individuals, other)

9.8  Homework support classes (including tutoring, mentoring, and/or seeking personal assistance)

9.9  Teen talk sessions (To discuss issues with other teenagers)

9.10  A safe place in my neighborhood to meet with friends

9.11  Recreational activities (swimming, biking, hiking, skateboarding, shooting hoops, etc.)

9.12  Other (Please enter one or more other activities)

10.  If extra-curricular activities are difficult for you to participate in, check the reason(s) why:

10.1  Not interested in what is offered

10.2  No time

10.3  No transportation

10.4  Too expensive

10.5  Inconvenient time

10.6  I do not desire to participate in extra-curricular activities.

10.7  Other reason: (please explain)

11.  What do you fear or worry about the most during your daily routine?

12.  Do you feel safe at school?

12.1  Yes

12.2  No (If No, please explain why.)

13.  Please describe 2 or 3 steps that, if taken, would be effective in reducing drug use by teenagers.

14.  Please describe 2 or 3 steps that, if taken, would be effective in reducing the number of teen pregnancies.

15.  What do you think schools should do to prevent students from skipping school?

16.  What should your community do to make it a better place for teenagers?

17.  Do you have any other comments, observations or suggestions about teen activities and support in your community?

18.  Would you like to help develop community activities for teenagers? (If yes, please print your name and phone number on the signup sheet before you leave today.)





Top Picks from If I were Mayor Sessions

Each of the four teen think tanks considered a second brainstorming question: "If you were mayor of your city, what would you do to cause your city to become a better, safer place for teenagers?" After brainstorming this question for approximately 8-10 minutes, each group prioritized the resulting list of ideas. Each participant scored each idea based on a 5-point scale of priority. The 5 rating were: "VH" - Very High Priority; "HP" - High Priority; "M" - Medium priority; "LP" - Low Priority; and "VL" - Very Low Priority. The system tabulated the results electronically and produced this report in descending sequence based on cumulative priority of each item. This exercise, including brainstorming, prioritization and tabulation of the results was completed in approximately 20 minutes. In all, the 83 participants of the 4 Teen Think Tanks generated a total of 353 ideas in response to the "mayor" brainstorming question. This report reflects the top picks from each of the groups. As a point of reference, the total number of ideas generated and the number of priority ideas selected by each group are shown in the following table.


Number of participants

Ideas generated

Priority Ideas selected by group





















 Top Picks of "If I were mayor..." Session 1

Top 33 items out of 107 (mean of 4.0 or better)


hire teachers who care


listen to what the yonger generation has to say about pressing issues


give kids something to do imean stop kicking us out of parkinglots or whatever.  that just makes us mad so we'll go do something illegal


give teens somewhere to go


help fund a very nice teen hang out


 i would build more things for teens to do


more places for teens to hang out


increase number of hangouts for teenagrs


 i would open more places where teens could "hang out"


let teens have the space to make their own choices


provide opportunity for teens to be involved in gov't and community


i would give places for them to go


get violent criminals out of the city


listen to the ideas of teens and give them a chance to speak up


decrease number of dropouts


give students more places to go to find help for crisis and educational problems.


pay teachers more


give kids incentives for doing well


I would create more places for teens to get together and socialize and have good,clean,safe fun.


spend money on a place for kids to hang out


i agree with the off campus lunches


Allow local resturants to have outlets in schools and give the schools half of the profit so that students will actually eat lunch


oh make stuff gas cause we gotta go provide public to full time students.  not smelly buses that get you made fun of though


Make laws that favor teens hanging out than laws that oppose teens


spend more money on our schools because the buildings are really crappy and teachers are really underpaid


make the rest of the community aware that teens are not the only ones who commit crimes


 places for teens to go


off campus lunch to reduce the amount of skipping


food in scchool that isn't going to be recalled by the meat company


Make it known that all of the city problems are not caused by teens and adults do commit misdemeanors


spend more money per student in the public schools systems


be more aware of the teens, their not all bad


Create more off campus lunches

Top Picks from "If I were mayor..." items - Session 2

Top 42 items out of 69 (mean of 4.0 or better)


safe, fun places for teens to hang out and escape drugs, alcohol and violence


places for teens to go to have fun in a safe environment


don't underestimate teens


realize that there are responsible teens out there


clean up the neighborhoods with alot of children in them... they don't need to see all the drugs and violence that we see. I had to watch that my whole life then watch it get worse in the ghetto and country.  I was too young to experience that


give teens a stronger voice in there community


crack down on drunk drivers


Give teens, esp. in the black community a safe place to hang out.


keep the safe places to hangout open later for people who have things to do and want somwhere to hangout late.


Try to host more activities like Big Spring Jam.  Things that teens can afford.  Key words: CHEAP and ATTAINABLE


get crackheads and drugdealers off the street


create places for all ages that do not allow drinking and smoking.


work to get rid of drugs


more things for teens to get involved in


have hang-outs for teens


Stop cracking down on the smokers and kids going 5 miles over the speed limit.  Go arrest crack dealers and gang members instead


create a place where teens can go at night without risking getting beaten up.


get more teens involved in volunteering in the commnity


stop gang violence


More activities such as "Just Chillin' Night"' to appeal to teens and give them a place to relieve there stress without drugs or violence.


clubs for teens without alcohol


Better food in public school cafeteria.  No more samonella please


ban anybody that is under 18 should not be alowed in atomatic guns stores


keep the big spring jam


arrest druglords


 teach cops to respect teens and give them a chance


get teens more involved in their community


teen clubs w/ bands ( an all-around fun, but safe, place for teenagers)


set up a big brothers and sisters program in madison


Help teens to be more involved in the city's decision-making.


set up a system where the students can suggest what needs to be done in their school system and not where the teachers tell what they think needs to be done


have police in madison stop being ticket happy and actually go to places on the weekend where people are going to be drunk driving or using drugs so they cankeep them off the street.


Create community projects


Support more teen-based clubs and organizations.


a place where teens can go with their families to meet others and talk about premarital sex and relationships with


building where all the teens from huntsville can hang out


definitely higher education standards


Police who care more about the people


develope more teen only night areas


crack down on crime


more concerts


Allow teens to a voice in city council


Top Picks If I were Mayor...Session 3

Top 27 items out of 95 (mean of 4.0 or better)


hire better teachers


srtickin rape child abuse and violence laws


I would spend more money on schools that need it


arrest the corupt police officers


I would help create a place that anyone can go to as a kind of meeting place or place to have fun.


have more functions like this to get feedback from the youth and also for adults


get more voices from teens about education and crime and sex


I would build more places that kids or anybody to go to so they wont get in trouble.


I would build more areas for kids to go........parks, malls, ect


i would be more ivovled with kids and what they want because they are the future


I would crack down on drugs and prosect drug dealers to the fullest


I would stricken the laws on drugs


i would do more youth programs like this that listen to teens input


make education and teachers a bigger priority


i would be more involved in the youth of Huntsville....


I would not divide Huntsville into aa white side and black side I would try to make them diverse instead of trying to bring one downa nd the other up


If i were mayer i would try to find a place where young kids could hand out and not get yelled at and where they could do whatever they wanted unless it was illeagal.


Teach the cops some manners


I would listen to the youth in the community, not just the goody-goodies, but them too


i would come up with positive activities for teens to do as a whole


more money for education


If i were mayor, i would build homes for young children, older children, and then adults that get kicked out of there homes because of bills.  Help them find a job.  and get back on their feet


Go out into society and see first hand how things are


don't arrest homeless people for sleeping under bridges and other places they are just trying to have a roof over there head


i would keep the schools in good condition


add more habds on experiments to the teachers leasson plans so that students can get a better idea and learn better


I would add background checks for all teachers once a year for competency.

Top Picks If I were mayor Session 4

Top 24 out of 82 items (Mean of 3.94 or better)


more places for teens to go


improve requirements for teachers applying for jobs


provide many different places for teens to go after school or during the weekends


make higher education cheaper


computers in the classrooms!


if they want to know what we think aask us not our teacers


make teachers teach instead of teach tests


have club for teens to join after school or on the weekend


More funds toward better education.


better educational oppertunities for all


upgrade school conditions


I would make more activities available to youths, things like the arts are very important. many people use this as an outlet when they don't play sports or anything like that.


More funding for SCHOOL COUNSELORS, who are properly trained, and whose only duties are to deal with student's personal problems, not schedule changes etc...


More safe hangouts open late at night when teens are out.


 i would make a big place where teens could to on the weekend to just chill


Teenage councils that have a very active, administrative role, in the school system


sexual education


No more fake promises


Form a teenage council that reported to the mayor


Give more money to schools.


A care group of teens that just want to help and go to schools and hold sessions for those who aren't very accepted (or don't feel loved or etc.)


bring more concerts to the's fun and it's something to do


stop gangs


have students, teachers, and city council members to be more involved with each other so everyone can have a say so





Consolidated Selected Comments
From HMTTT Sessions 1-2-3-4 10/27/98

Approximately 100 teenagers participated in four sessions of the Huntsville/Madison Teen Think Tank at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and Space Camp on October 26-27, 1998. This event was sponsored by the Huntsville Community Partnership for Youth and was supported by Lockheed Martin and Ventana Corporation. Brice Marsh served as the facilitator of the Electronic Meeting System, a computerized approach for conducting electronic brainstorming sessions and consensus forming exercises.

During the think tank sessions, the teenagers brainstormed about two questions and offered recommendations and observations about their findings. The first question was: "What are the most pressing issues or concerns facing teenagers today in Huntsville or Madison?" Only teenagers were permitted to key in their ideas and comments. The teen participants were nominated by various community leaders including school counselors, youth ministers, faculty sponsors, police officers, and other responsible individuals. The nominees represented a culturally diverse population of Caucasians, African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics; including at-risk teenagers, student leaders, and average students.

The process in each of the four sessions consisted of a ten-minute brainstorming exercise followed by an electronic prioritization technique in which each group of participants ranked and selected their most pressing teen issues. Then they engaged in a 15-minute "commenter" exercise in which they keyed in their comments concerning the most pressing issues. They were encouraged to offer recommendations and observations concerning ways and means to deal with the various issues. The brainstorming, prioritization, ranking, selection, and commenting activities were completed in less than 45 minutes for each session.

The second brainstorming question was: "If you were mayor of your city, what would you do to make your city a better or safer place for teenagers to live?" A similar EMS process was used for this question, but the results are presented in a separate report. Each of the four teen think tank sessions was completed within its two-hour time limit.

During the brainstorming sessions, the teenagers generated approximately 400 pressing issues and concerns from which they selected a total of 45 topics for further deliberation. Each group of 20-25 teenagers then generated more than 200 comments and observations about their list of most pressing issues. The four groups generated a total of almost 900 comments concerning teen issues.

In this report, the 45 topics have been consolidated and compressed into 19 categories as reflected in the table below; and 489 of the 900 comments have been selected and printed in the appropriate categories. No attempt has been made to filter or to editorialize in any way during the selection process. The selection was made based on noteworthiness and general interest. The complete, unedited collection of all the original comments has been preserved in the database. The following table depicts the 19 topic categories and shows the correlation of the topics and each of the four sessions.

Teen Issue/Concern

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Teen Violence





Teen or Pre-marital Sex





Drug Abuse










Teen Pregnancy










Public Schools










Child Abuse(Physical/Emotional)





Peer Pressure





Teen Suicide





Cost of College










Alcohol Abuse/Teen Drinking





Goals/Concern about Future















Lack of Respect





No Place to Go





The participants were instructed to disregard spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar or the cosmetic appearance of their comments or contributions. They were encouraged to concentrate on rapid-fire original ideas and observations; and that time was of the essence. This report, therefore, has not been subjected to a spell-checker; and no attempt has been made to enhance the appearance of the candid thoughts and ideas as submitted by the teen participants. They were, however, informed that any profanity or other foul language would simply be deleted from the report. It is most interesting to note that in all four sessions not a single instance of inappropriate language was observed.

The selected teen comments, observations, and recommendations for the 19 categories of topics are presented in this report. Each topic has a note within parentheses indicating the session(s) from which the comments were taken. The session numbers correlate to the "X" marks in the table above. Only four topics were picked by all four sets of participants as part of their top ranked issues. They are; Teen Violence, Sex. Drug Abuse, and Racism/Prejudice.

Consolidated Selected Comments
(click on the topic to go to any of these sections)

·  Teen Violence

·  Teen/Premarital Sex

·  Drug Abuse

·  Racism/Prejudice

·  Teen Pregnancy

·  Rape

·  Public Schools

·  Families/Parental Neglect

·  Physical/Emotional Abuse

·  Peer Pressure

·  Teen Suicide

·  Cost of College

·  Stress/Depression

·  Alcohol/Teen Drinking

·  Goals/Concern about Future

·  Gangs

·  Lack of Respect

·  Religion

·  No Place to Go



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Teen Violence


2. Violence is definitely a problem. Violence stems from ignorance, hate,

and feelings of inadequacy. Educate people, and they will see better

alternatives. Violence is most common among people who see no other


3. crueler penalties for violence. teens should be tried as adults when they commit a act of violence.....capitol punishment should be for ALL killers and no more than 2 apeals before the death sentence.....and they can not get off after their date has been set

4. I know we as humans are not perfect and cannot live in harmony but if the authority figures are more loving and caring maybe teens won't have so much hate. My favorite teacher is the one who tells us she loves us every day and really does take her job as a nuturer as well as a teacher.

5. I see violence everyday where I live and its hard to get away from

cause its right there in your face.

6. I think that when people lash out violently, it is due to stress. I think if schools created a more elastic (time based) enviornment then there would be less stress due to deadlines, miscommunications, and such.

7. Most violence happens with guns. Criminals get guns by stealing or whatever it takes to get them. Non-criminals get them by buying them at gun shows or pawn shops. Some law makers think that if they put heavier taxes on guns or if they ban guns altogether that the crime rate will decrease. Well criminals will still get guns (stealing) and non-criminals will become helpless.

8. every where you see violence. Some people think its cool to fight or other things. teach that no reason is reason enough to fight.

9. People are too mean to each other now. We should be nicer to each other and respect their rights.

10. There should be a more interactive enviornment in which students should be able to communicate with teachers and other students during class without having to be told to be quiet all the time (that makes me angry and exaperated.)

11. Discourage violence among teens by allowing them to interact together in a more peaceful environment.

12. promote the message that apathy is just as bad as the action itself. many teenagers don't do anything about it because they don't want to butt in someone else's business.offering peer-mediating problems are idealistic and don't happen everyday and often don't work

13. Harsher punishment for juveniles, because they are old enough to know what they have done wrong and need to pay for it

14. If people like cops actually did something about it the first time, it wouldn't be that big of a deal. It is because way too many ppeople get away with it that makes it keep going on.

15. Keep teens more relaxed than uptight and teach them other ways to filter their anger

16. Juveniles should be punished harder and more for the violence they do.

17. we need to hold a big conference somewhere and listen to other youth who have been hurt by teenage violence. Maybe someone will listen and hear something encouraging. After all of the important things have been discussed, then maybe a big party can be giving for all of the participants.

18. Teens are old enough to know right from wrong, if they do something bad, and they get caught, let them pay for it. Sometimes harsh punishment is the only answer.

19. teens need to have closer relationships with positive role models. violenc within schools is a major promlem. Have city gatherings and let parents help the community and schools

20. Violence is caused by a few major things one of which is drugs. If drugs are removed from the picture;people would be less

likely to steal for money to pay dealers. Rape is also caused by children who have no real control over their hormones and these children should be given a control drug for their body that would prevent them from having emotional surges, but older men that commit rape should be pubically punished for their and crime and make the world known to what tey have done. A final note would be to give harder punishments and less chance to get in the detention home.

21. teens should have more support groups available to them to help prevent the use of teen violence, and the joing of gangs

22. Some students are violent because they know no other way. Society needs to find a way to teach students other ways to vent out their anger. If schools could have classes oriented at teaching students how to control their anger violence probably would decrease

23. I think that this is a very important issue that should be paid an adequat amount of attention. I agree that if we would just teech simple respect for others and yourself then the world would be a much better place for everyone.

24. this is very important because there are so many youths in the community who don't respect authorit and so they get into trouble - gangs, drugs, whatever

25. all schools have metal detecters to help stop or reduce school violence and gang related violence

26. I think school uniforms are a good idea to keep the violence out of school because it takes the color idea out of it

27. it is human nature to get violent, but we can change that if everyone agrees that loving is better that hating. our leaders today are trying and not trying and if they can't agree on can we?

28. just teach simple respect, both for yourself and others

29. you cant' eliminate violence until you eliminate what causes their anger and their stress. good luck with that

30. make it clear that juvenile crime wil not be tolerated

31. Violence can decrease if teachers reacted better to the way students act. When teachers get mad at students and cuss them out, it makes that student angry, and thus violent

32. allow police officers (unarmed) to be more involved with schools

33. state funded after school activities (midnight basketball) (summer baseball leagues) year-round soccer) youth chat forums (televised)

34. i thind parints shoukd take part; in this topic

35. i think that violence inside and outside of schools is a big problem now....violence outside of schools keeps a lot of people from being able to live life how they choose to, instead they have to worry about being robbed, shot, etc....Also, violence inside schools isn't looked upon as a big deal these days....i think that violence should be punished more strictly than just a 2 day suspension or whatever...if an example is made out of people who are violent inside and outside of school, maybe people wouldn't do it....

36. Violence in the school is a major problem. We need to learn how to solve our problems talking not fighting. You may have just heard a rumor, and you need to talk to them to see if they said it 100%

37. In my opinion the system doesn't punish teenagers enough when they commit a serious offense. These days teenagers feel as if it doesn't matter if they commit crimes or not because they are too young to get a real punishment. If a teenager commits a offense that is major they should be given the punishment as if they were an adult. The system is way too gentle on teenage offenders. If they show teenagers that they will prosecut then it would scare kids into not committing bad crimes.

38. There should be more control over students while they are in school to make certain that they have no bad feelings for others.

39. people need to watchout for things that might look like at may start somthing and report it

40. don't just look at teenagers when it comes to violence. a lot of police are violent and aren't being the leaders they should be

41. violence is a big problem, the system does not punish the children enough when violence occurrs.

42. violence is a real problem for some people, but i think that it can be controlled if the people controlling it aren't dumber than the people doing the violence

43. in many case violence begins in the home, make parents better prepared for parenting

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Teen/Premarital Sex


2. no one makes you do what you don't want to. With the low self esteem in this decade both girls and guys (mostly girls) feel obligated, but they need to know MORE that they have a choice. They don't need to go throwing themselves around trying to find someone. They lose their self respect that way

3. neither girls or guys should be pressured into having sex and most people our age really don't care how many times adults tell them not to. It's really important that we know that we(as teens) should support our peers and let them know that they don't have to have sex if they don't want to.

4. The city should give free condoms and videos so we can learn how to do this properly without risk of contracting a disease. There should be a free clinic

5. People should start waiting for the right moment, rather than going for the first partner willing to do it with them.

6. sex is a gift from god meant for those who truly love each other

7. Sex is definitely an issue among teenagers. Feelings of sexual

ignorance and or inadequacy are the things that haunt kids. It would

help to equal everyone's knowledge with in depth sexual education classes in the 9th grade!!!

Kids that have the most problems later in life with sexuality are the ones

who were naive and missed out on positive educational experiences as

a youth.

8. It's a person's own personal choice, they know the possible consequences.

9. I think it is a persons choice but they should wait till marriage. pressure is among teens to have sex. Discipline and self control is the key

10. ....and there should be more classes on how to handle sex and the unexpected emotional problems that come with it....and teach respect for the opposite sex and not to pressure anyone into it....and teach that it's the kids choice and they will have to live with it if it is a mistake...

11. sex should wait until you are married

12. even though people are more educated about sex today, many people still don't know much about the consquences. I believe that every time you hear about sex, you learn something new.

13. I think that if you don't know what you are doing then you should'nt be doing.

14. if you are too immature to buy condoms you don't need to have sex

15. More self control not birth control.

16. I think that premarital sex is wrong and the people that do choose to do so deserve to suffer the consequences-such as accidental pregnancy, std's, etc.

17. kids in the back seat cause accidents....accidents in the back seats cause kids

18. teen pregnancy is a huge issue with teens today

19. if you have sex you better be ready for the responsibilities of becoming a parent because there is a good chance that you will become a parent

20. stressing that abstinence is the safest, but if you have sex, you must use protection

21. If you are going to have sex while you are a teen then i think that is your own decision.

22. sex education should be required for teenagers, and optional in elementary schools in a non-biased way.

23. Teen pregnancy, well you can't take away condoms or any other protections from getting pregnant or they will get pregnant more. Most teens don't understand why they get pregnant. We need to aware the students more.

24. more programs should be open to teens who choose to have sex, and there should be a less embarrassing way to obtain effective birth control and protection

25. I feel like teens go into these sexual situations not exactly knowing what they are getting into as far as std's. I think sexual education should be offered as an elective course beginnig in middle school.

26. to me sex is a way that some kids get a way to get attention from their peers or their parents or because they are just plain stupid

27. I think that there should be more sex education in schools, because if we express more to kids how they can mess up their life by having sex maybe someone can get their minds into their books and off of sex.

28. teenage sex is a personal problem and should be dealt with on a personal basis. The government has nothing to do with the way a parent raises there child

29. Condoms should be passed out at school or in despensers in bathrooms.

30. there is almost nothing people can do but emphasize chastity

31. Teens in school are having too much sex. To cut down on the amount of sex schools can start sexual education classes and prove to teens that they do not need to have sex to be happy.

32. teens need to be taught more about abstaining from sex, as apposed to safe sex and condoms. Safe sex is not the problem. If less had sex, less would worry about STD's and pregnancy. More teenagers need to learn self control and if they aren't taught, then they don't know. It needs not to be accepted

33. if a person is going to have premarital sex he or she should know exactly what the consequinces are

34. i think people should focus on more of the "no sex" slogan than the "safe sex" slogan. i know so many people who have literally thrown away their lives by having premarital sex and becoming pregnant it is really sad

35. teens should thind avout consequenses brfor they hevr sex

36. teens should be taught - no sex, instead of safe sex. this would probably have a better impact on teens

37. teens are still going to have sex, teach consequences but dont think the problem is going to go away

38. don't show me, tell me , ect. about sex. Our purpose is to reproduce, but not until we are ready. after this clinton scandall, little kids know what sex is. come on...if you were told about something new, would you want to try? what is the media trying to say by making everything so sexually oriented?

39. strong christian values show kids there are other ways to have fun without having sex

40. there's nothing that can be done about this--it is up to the individual to decide. If you think that this is a problem, the problem is with values of society

41. I think that if the schools and parents taught the effects of premarital sex, that teens might actually have something to fall back on. If parents taught morals, their kids would know better. Also, if they learn that the Bible is totally against premarital sex, maybe they would think twice.

42. Premarital sex is a huge problem in our society today, always has been, probably always will be. I don't think that we can totally erase this problem, but I think that we can reduce it by encouraging morals on teens, by teaching teens more about what sex is, and what teens can do to prevent STD's and pregnancy.

43. Get teen mothers to come in and talk with kids. If that doesn't work then it is up to the kid to decide what is right and what is wrong. If they choose to have premarital sex and they end up with a baby to care for, that is there problem.

44. there should be less sexual acts comitted on tv that make it look like a very pleasuralbe and needed to be done act

45. If people want to have premarital sex, then they are going to have it no matter what other people do. We should educate them that they have a choice and are not forced to choose either way.

46. There is really not much that can be done about this; I do have pre-marital sex and was taught since I was ten not to. If that teen thinks they are in love and are ready, then they aren't gonna listen. best thing is to make a confidential place for them to go for questions about contraceptives if they can't talk to family.

47. There is really nothing you can do about premarital sex except provide contraceptives. If a person chooses to take part in these activities they will find a way no matter how hard you try to stop or prevent them.

48. teens are getting into serious realationships at younger ages. this is a severe problem. parents must set morals and rules. It is the teenagers decision to there life style. maybe the community can influence otther ways of life. Showteenagers of situatios they can get into such a pregnancy, Std.s, depression, etc. visualization really helps,

49. Premartial sex is a major problem that affects our youth today. Their enojyment of such a thing is morally worng to some but not to others. People who choose to have premartial sex should first be placed on birth control and given condoms, so as to help in sure that pregenacy does not occur. Afterward these people should also be given free choice, yet not on the ability to drop out of school. Students who become pregenant in school, should be given time to leave from their studies, but be required to return and complete their education. Least through high school.

50. Highschoolers are too old to be taught morals to. Parents have to teach their kids morals and values from day 1.

51. Teen in Madison County do not fully understand the responcabilities involved with premarital sex. There are adoption agencies and abortion clinics if a woman should happen to get pregnant. Several new medications are also avaibile for sexually transmitted diseases. More than sex education classes are needed to teach about the long term consequences of premarital sex. I think that speakers for classes would be beneficial. If a person hears the real life story of someone who has been through the hardships, it is more effective than reading them from a book.

52. Although teachers need to set a good example for their students to follow, it is their job to educate them, not baby them and raise them. That's what parents are for. In order to do this, parents need to realize that the community is not going to do their job for them.

53. Take students to meet people who suffer from the effects of premarital sex. If they see the people who have aids and realize that they are not statistics they are people just like them and that it can happen to them some of them might stop. there will always be people who do it but if you slowly cut down it won't be as cool anymore.

54. Teens are gonna have sex if they want it. Only someone with true morals will know to say no.

55. Whether or not someone wants to have premarital sex depends on how they were raised and how they were influenced by their peers. If you're plannig on having sex there's really nothing anyone can do to deter you.

56. students should not worry about what there peers say. they should worry about their morals and the way they feel about themselves and the person they are with.

57. school is the best place to start

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Drug Abuse


2. Too many people are trying drugs these days just to see if they like it. Then they get hooked on it and can't stop the addiction.

3. More education at the lower levels of school. This will prevent and educate the youth from ever considering the use of drugs.

4. many people know what can happen to them if they take drugs, but they don't seem to care

5. drugs are a majer problem in todays sociaty. no one cares what could happen if you take drugs.

6. everybody thinks that drugs will never hurt them

7. drugs can be addicative

8. other options of having fun/ give activities that captivate people that can be an alternative to drugs

9. people just get bored and want something to do. also they just don't care about themselves. If teens had more interesting things to do and real interest then maybe they won't need to take drugs

10. Why do people purposely mess up their lives? They should know the consequences.

11. a lot of people are addicted to drugs and don't care. they are not worried

about what the affects are, all they are worried about is gitting high.

12. Drugs are a choice. This choice can be avoided by educating people and further promoting parents to play roles in their kids' lives.

13. drugs could kill you .....just like what happened in Forest Gump to Jenny

14. if you don't like them don't do them

15. Drugs, low self respect, ignorance of negative impacts, again,

education. Legalize them, let society decide by the marketplace.

16. Authorities should be sure that teens don't use, sell, or even be affiliated with anything about drugs.

17. Drugs, can hurt and distort your bodys. We need more police to find the dealers. And don't let them out

18. drugs are a very stupid and immature way of somebody handling problems they are faced with everyday because people say they use them to escape

19. drugs are something the police should have control over or the government . if kids get ahold of them then its the governments fault for letting sertin ones into our country

20. the government should have stricter laws on drugs. They should punish offenders more then they have. They let them off too easily. Drugs is a major problem in our society and I think that the gov't could crack down on drugs if they be more serious about strictness

21. All drugs that can't be used for medical purposes should be outlawed.

22. i think if you use drugs that you are not necessarily are a bad person. i think the government should legalize weed because i do not think it is true that it is a gateway drug. people are gonna do drugs if they are illegal or not.

23. there should be better enforcement of laws against harmful drugs, and more programs

24. If you are smoking or doing drugs than i think that is their decision. They will realize someday that it was stupid but for the time being you just have to let people make their own mistakes.

25. Weed is not that bad of a drug, if they use it for medicine, than how bad can it be, It is proven that drugs improve eyesight and do some other good things.

26. complete awareness of the short term and long term effects of various popular drugs.

27. real life stories told by those who experienced them

28. I think our schools should have more code- reds during school

29. Outlaw any type of drug other than those used for medicines.

30. make it even harder to obtain these drugs

31. Find a way to keep younger children from being exposed to the drugs. Most older teens are semi responsible in doing the drugs and will soon straighten up.

32. teens need to be more aware of the side effects of drugs. then perhaps they will think twice about doing drugs. visual ppictures will help. The teenagers will really seee why doing drugs is not worth it. Recorda drug addicts like like the Real World on MTV

33. Drugs are a severe problem in Huntsville/Madison.

A harder crack down might be a small solution, but that would be a temporary solution.People would just find other ways to get their hands on those drugs using other more violent means.

I think we should give younger children a hard realization on what those drugs do.They should then find how the drugs are getting into madison/huntsville and cut them off at the source using DEA help.

34. If people saw first hand the affects of drugsthey might be more inclined to stop.

35. Certain drugs that can aid in medical use should be made legal under controlled enviroment and with doctor perscription.

36. Advertise the fact that drugs, smoking, and alcohol make you look nasty instead of glamorous.

37. get the parents involved more with their kids and let parents know if there are any problems with the kids. They should go to a place and get help with their problems.

38. Make the penalty more severe. By kicking people out of school chances are the people being expelled don't really care that they are not allowed to go to school.

39. drug testing at schools is a violation of people's basic rights.

All you can do is show them that what they are doing to themselves is wrong, then wait for them to grow up.

40. Provide a more effective method of illustrating the detrimental effects of drug abuse.

41. Let the cops come bust them every day. They'll learn their lesson sooner or later.

42. I'm not going to lie because I have partaken of a little somethin' in my lifetime, but that doesn't mean that there is anything necessarily wrong with me. I know it's wrong and I would stop if I was persuaded to because I'm not that deep into it yet. I don't do it because I have to but because I want to. I wouldn't encourage anyone else to do it though.

43. teach us about what each drug does to our bodies. Many people do drugs not knowing what they are doing to their minds, spirits,and other organs.

44. put things out there for teenagers to do, there is nothing for us to do

45. give us an alternitive. after school activites arn't good enough. most of them you have to have certian quifications

46. give teenagers something to do--not like some kind of community house or something, but don't kick kids out of a parking lot for skateboarding. is there really anything wrong with that?

47. drug abuse and casual use are two way different subjects. drugs are not too much of a problem if used every onc and a while. the reason for abuse of drugs i believe is because it is a release for all the pressure set on to do good and succeed. some drugs used periodically have no permenent damage. the problem is when you get to far into there is no one there you can talk to confidentially

48. whendrug dealers are caught put them in jail for life

49. if someone is busted for drugs, don't let them get off so easy. give them the punishment that they deserve

50. if teens had more things to do more places to go, we wouldn't have to revert to smoking and abusing drugs

51. offer more activities in the Huntsville/ madison area for teens to participate in. there is at the present time nothing for teens to do so they turn to drugs because they have nothing better to do!

52. many kids don't want to tell on their friends who do drugs, maybe (we need) an anonymous school or county line...

53. make drug users pay a one hundred dollar fine if cought using them or failing a drug inspection/test

54. smoking section at school.. definitely. smoking's bad and all, but keeping a kid from smoking at school just makes them smoke more when they get out of school. or they get caught smoking in school and things build from there

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2. teach in schools that we are all equal no matter how much money or anything. if teachers would respect everyone and not pick favorites teens might learn.

3. I think the only way to end racism is to quit teaching about what happened in the past with certain figures. This only upsets certain people who take it out on others in a racial way. They should just let us go forward, most people these days aren't that racial anyway if it weren't for what they were thought.

4. Ignorance is a terrible thing. It is also the most common cause of racism. I am writing under the assumption that racism refers to any race, not just black. Also let us also assume that religious discrimination falls also into this category.

The south has a long heritage of discrimination. However it is the same all over the world. People understand what they have been exposed to and what they are used to. Racism is an extremely complex issue, the mental roots that cause discrimination have been preset for hundreds of years.

But the truth is this, people reject what is alien to them if it does not significantly affect their lives. The only answer is EDUCATION. Knowledge enables understanding. School clubs should be started providing a forum for discussion on diversity. Issues of differences SHOULD NOT BE TABOO ISSUES.

5. racism helps no only hurts people. the majority of the racism these days is not because people reallly hate others because of their skin color or heritage or religion..they are taught that by the people they grow up with(usu. parents)

6. we have a unity club that focuses on these issues after school. It is a very diverse group that deals with everything from social to racial and religous prejudice.

7. people need to realize that racism is not just a black on white or white on black issue. blacks are racist against other black from different backgrounds such as social classes and school backgrounds.

8. White people don't understand racism.....The word N***** coming from blacks is diffrent from when whites say it.... it comes with 300 years of opression

9. Many people bring past experiences they have had onto today's youth. This isn't very educational for the children. Help those older generations who still remember the past to remember that today's society has changed.

10. some people are so close-minded that as soon as they hear something..they believe it...racism is the same way..if a person hangs out with a group that is racist..they adopt the same opinions

11. I thank all people are created equal. no one should be concerned with another persons race.

12. i think that we should learn more about other cultures backgrounds.... the more knowledge known about these cultures the less racism there will be.

13. Racism stems from fear

14. it's a problem that needs to be addressed in every house and even though it;s not a racial thing there;s still disccrimination......people put off the wrong vibe and others think they are racist....and it sturs up emotions and causes people to hate back in retaliation.....

15. It's getting out of hand. People who are racist need to start realizing that everybody is the same. There is no need for all the hating.

16. Whites don't need to be afraid to mention race....

17. mandatory courses in education about prejudice and bigotry should be presented in schoools, with programs to join that help the community be more educated

18. people need to be taught that different is beautiful

19. racism is another thing most people dont have controle over because its taught in the home or by a sertain group that u hang around and to stop this its up to the perants when your growing up to teach you that not all people are bad

20. prejudice, it needs to stop quickly. Everyone is alike underneath.

21. parents should take more time to teach their kids about racism, and how to be open-minded

22. everyone should like and accept each other for who they are but parents must take the time out to explain this

23. racism is just another way of saying that somebody is afraid of that person they are being preudice against

24. we all bleed the same blood

25. Many parents are very prejudice. i think that parents should be more open minded about people of different races and any type of prejudice things.

26. Racism goes both ways. I have encountered many people who don't like me just because I'm white.

27. talk shows are one thing that comercailize bad things like racism and such (such as jerry springer)

28. there should be classes for kids, adults, and mentors (teachers, etc.) on how to get past the outside. That includes sexual preference, religion, degree of physical ability, racism, and a million other things

29. I think that society should start accepting people for who they are. When serious problems result from prejudice i think that the system should handle it in a strict way

30. racial issues should not be a concern we should love each other for who we are not what color our skin is and so many people today think its all about color but they are wrong!!

31. racial sensitivity classes and observations of black history month could help, along with teachers setting the example and zero tolerance for racial intolerance.

32. people need to be taught that some of the things that they think is funny may not be taken as funny to a person of another race

33. zero tollerance on racial affiliated organizations

34. i think everuone shorkd accept everyone else

35. If we had more ways to learn more about different cultures then we could be more aware that we all really aren't that different.

36. learning that to be differant is not bad

37. the more aware of different cultures people become, the greater the chances of them coming to understand it

38. People also need to understand that black people do not like to be called n-------, even if other black people may do it, does not mean it will be accepted if it is said by a person of a different race

39. get over the past and look toward the future. make love the issue. can you love something you once hated? if you can, then you are free.

40. Huntsville is a very diverse area. With the extensive cultural backgrounds, many people are in the dark toward the rituals and ceremonies of different people. If we were more educated toward the lives of the people around us, I believe that fewer hate crimes would occur. We must understand to help encourage future generations that we are all equal.

41. Are we really so different that we would hurt or even kill someone because of their color skin? If people would just open up there hearts and minds to different things and ideas than there would not be any hate crimes.

42. First of all, racism should have been abolished long ago. There is absolutely no reason for one person to dislike or even hate another just because of their skin color or belief. I'll admit that a lot of the time I don't agree with other people, but I don't take that and turn it into something extreme like a hatred for that person and then act on that hate. That's unintelligent and unethical and people like that have serious personal problems.

43. it is so stupid to commit an act of violence against someone just becaue their different. it doesn't matter if your white or black or hispanic or asian...big deal! and hate crimes against gays---they're not hurting anyone. its their life, and if they're not bothering anyone else then they should be left to live their life as they choose.

44. absolutely no tolerance -- use the severest measures to punish people . it cannot be tolerated--the slightest bit can turn into something huge. it must stop before it can start. more publicizing about unity rallies and stuff like that and less emphasis on hate crimes would help.

45. Religion and ethnic backgrounds have always been controversial subjects. The answer to decreasing hate crimes is education, education, education! But realistically, no one has the power to change someone else's opinions. Most of the racial and religous controversies stem off from what goes on in the home, which is something that can't be interfered with.

46. hate crimes should be considered that of great importence

if one cant respect another they need a strict lesson on equality

if they expect to be treated with respect they need to learn to treat others with that same respect

47. What is Racism? It is nothing but color of a person's skin being acknowledge. People we can look deeper than that.

48. Tell parents not to send those messages to their children. People that hate for stupid reasons get that hate right back in their faces and don't get friends.

49. Advocate clubs that focus on unity and mankind coming together as one neutral skin color.

50. Race, religion, color...we all have diversity among us. One very important way is to educate and to teach the differences in humans. We also need to help them accept these differences because that is what this society consists of.

51. Hate crimes are caused by people that fear what they don't understand. Those people should be taken away to be taught to accept others for what they are by explaning to them why those people have a right to exist like they do.If they cannot understand they should be removed f

52. i think people need to get a grip and get over it! it makes me so mad to watch movies wherre certain groups of people are being persecuted strictly becasuse of their race, religion or skin color

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Teen Pregnancy


2. Many teens who become pregnant don't have anywhere to go or anyone to talk to. Many of these teens are scared and have already realized that they have become involved in a very sticky situation. They don't need anyone to tell them that they are in trouble, they need to be educated to know where they can go next to still become involved and important citizens.

3. I feel teen pregnancy should not be on this list because, it's a matter of choice.

4. I feel that teen should be on this list because middle class americans are paying for the teen\welfare mothers and their children because they "choose" to have sex. Thus, others are having to sacrificed their hard earned money for irresponsible teens!

5. teens should understand what having a child is like.

6. oh great let every teen have a kid then

7. Noone makes you get preganant

8. We have educated the teens enough, but now we need to follow up with that and offer support when they feel the pressure from the opposite sex and do not know how to resist.

9. Too many girls get pregnant way too early. They ought to wait until they're ready to start a family and settle down.

10. IF you are old enough to do it then you should old enough to take care of it.

11. ...having a child just for the sake of escaping everything is the sorriest excuse for not being in control of your life.

12. I think that parents should talk to their kids about sex and pregnacy. Fathers need to talk to their dauters and tell them that it is ok to wait. They also need to talk to their sons and tell them that it is ok if he wait until he is married. Its not just the girls responsability because she can't make a baby by herself. boys shoudn't pressure girls into doing anthing thats not right. I want a law that will make the males help take care of the child he helped make.

13. It is way to easy to raise a baby and go to school. They should be able to stay in school but by providing classes through the school during school hours it almost encourage teen pregnancy. The y should get help but not at school.

14. Teenage pregnancy could be prevented if teachers and parents taught morals. If some schools did not pass out condoms, it would tell teens it is not ok to have premarital sex.

Also, if schools have daycares, that is also saying , "go ahead and have a kid, you can still go to school."

15. Schools and other adolescent institutions have the responsibility of providing contraceptives to teens. Passing out items such as condoms does not encourage premarital sex. Instead, it encourages safe sex, which is easier to promote.

16. There is no such thing as safe sex. Abstinence is the safest sex.

17. make contraseptives much more easily available

18. Teaching morals in the home and in church can only help a teen to a certain extent. Teenage pregnancy is caused by one thing and one thing only: sex. Try to promote more schools to make it mandatory for students at a younger age than a freshman to take in depth sexual education classes. I know I was influenced by the "natural birth" videos. Ah!

19. you shouldn't automatically condemn a girl who's pregnant--there are always extenuating circumstances and you shouldn't be so quick to judge. schools and society should do everything to help young mothers make the right decisions. schools or clubs shouldn't discriminate against pregnant teenagers because so many people are having sex--the unlucky few get pregnant. despite a bad choice, a girl should be able to still go to school and do what she wants

20. Increase the places and education of contraceptives. If they are going to choose to do it then at least teach them what to use other than just a condom

21. Do not offer daycares and such so that the teens will have to think of their future before they do something like that.

22. The best birth control is to not have sex at all.

23. Television plays a role due to teenage pregnancy.[ nudity]

24. more education for teens starting in middle schools, not the traditional Jan is becoming a woman films but real people who give real information and facts.

25. stress the effects that pregnancy and having to care for a child could do to a teen's life. These points could be told to students by other teens who are already effected by teen pregnancy.

26. having all-american teen who accidently become parents tell school kids about what they lost

27. i believe that teens should if they are going to have sex and unprotected at that, they should see the consequences of their actions and realize that what they do could have a drastic effect on their lives ahead

28. provide condoms at school

29. teens should not be having sex

30. we should have more people talk about responsibilities about pregnancy. not safe sex but abstinance.

31. free condoms!!!!!!! that ain't gonna promote more sex. a person isn't gonna change their mind and have sex just cause they got a free condom

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2. rape is a sad thing..the body is God's creation..not to be abused

if everyone had more of an understanding of how beautiful the gift of life is,they would not abuse it

3. make people more aware of rape and the people that have been raped

4. it violates a person's rights, rather they are a teenager or any age.

5. girls need to quit lying on brothers. And if they ain't gonna have sex don't put themself in the situation having the boy thinking he is gonna get his groove on.

6. People should respect others more, along with their freedom. Some people still wait for the right moment and don't want to waste it on some horny guy.

7. Dudes need to have more self control not birth control.

8. it happens and the government needs to make it a more open subject so victims don't feel as guilty as they have in the passt

9. just don't do it guys-restrain yourselves!

Brothers need to have self-respect for sisters and not expect to get some whenever they one.

10. Rape needs to be talked about more. It must not be such a taboo subject. Many women are raped and do not know how to deal with it. Again, people need to learn self control and it needs to not be tolerated

11. i think everyone needs someone to talk to about something like this and lots of times there isnt anyone there , there was noone there for me

12. they need somebody to talk to without telling their parents or anyone for that matter

13. the tougher the courts are about rapers and the sentencing involved, possibly there will be fewer rapes

14. come up with a system that the victum isn't persacuted for telling athurties

15. protecting the victim and his/her rights

16. maximum penalties for convicted sex ofenders, and less leinent laws protecting rapists

17. stiff penalties with harsh sentences

18. if one person is raped it is a very important issue, those who dont think so should talk to some victims

19. you'd be surprised how many people's lives it's ruined

20. teach starting with little kids what is and isn't o.k.

21. rape can be controlled if ot is taught how badly rape can hurt a person mentally

22. The weak penelties do nothing to deter rapests. Greatly increase the penelties to deter rape and prevent repeat offenders.

23. people should be more careful when they go out. they should use a buddy system espeacialy at night

24. rape is serious, have someone go along with you, at night no matter what, a friend, your dad, mom, sister, brother. Strength is numbers.

25. In this situation I think that the court system should stop attcking the victim when they finally do speak up about it. No matter what the girl(victim) is wearing , no means no!! No matter what her actions are.

26. rape is very bad and i think if you rape someone you should go to jail for a long time.

27. make sure kids have someone they can trust to tell. It's really hard to tell

28. just say no, not only a saying for drugs, and people that are victims should go to the authorities

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Public Schools


2. Don't keep incomptent teachers just because they have senority. I really don't care if it will annoy the teachers union.

3. Give more test in schools. Find out what grade level each student is at and put them in the grade they need to be in .

4. I don't think that alot of schools have poor edjucation. The kids in school that don't do good for reason that they are lazy and don't want to do their work are just using that as an exuse

5. Tests should be given to teachers to make sure that they are still current in their subjects.

6. I think that some of our teachers are entirly too old to be still in the workplace. They have been teaching for several years and they use the same methods and tactics as they did years ago. They seemingly have failed to realize that times as well as the pupils have changed and that their methods are no longer useful or effective.

Other teachers just dont care at all what happens to the students.

7. i believe that some teachers are just doing their "job" for a paycheck.....they don't take enough time to work with students individually for whatever reasons.....

8. I believe that the most primary reason of why education has detiorated over the past few years is because of the absence of school prayer. the statistics prove it. even the very next year after prayer was dropped, preganancy went up, along with drug use, and grades dropped. our constitution was founded on prayer, and on God, and now it's not even allowed in schools. congress must have prayer at the start of every meeting, adn we're not even allowed to do it. if people had morals, then the education would go up too, becasue then students would have more motives to do better. also, we shouldjhn't have the problem of sex, because sex is WRONG. no ifs and s or buts about it. WE NEED PRAYER BACK IN SCHOOOL

9. school is not that big of a deal unless its your whole life. school wont save your life if you have a gun pointed to your head

10. if schools would work more on developing the person rather than the test score maybe our schools would be better. Teachers should have a degree in child psychology

11. some individual teachers do care about students, however, the administration and majority of teachers don't care and are unwilling to help. they need to be more understanding and have more advice and information for students (especially juniors and seniors facing college decison and grades/courses)

12. public schools receive money from the government /state and are under no obligation what so ever to anyone but them. they feel as though they can do what they please without any concerns as to what affect it will have on the students.the number of dropouts and expulsions are increasing greatly

13. Many college applications ask for counselor recommendations, but counselors don't know us.

14. more counselors for every grade or have them approachable

15. students need someone to talk to

16. teachers, officials, and other adults in general don't realize what an impact they have on teens today. we are learning from the actions of these adults and will one day be making the decisions for them. it is very important for them to express how good it is to be a peaceful and caring person.

17. all public schools should offer honors or AP courses no matter what the size of the student body or how many students are interested in the classes.

18. they shoukd have a vack grousd check on teachers

19. Teachers need to stop letting students who are popular are those students who they like the most have special treatment. If teachers payed attention to al of their students and tried not to favor some students a lot of the problems in public schools might end. The quietest student in the class is usually the most overlooked.

20. teachers and administrators should be observed weekly to determine any problems in their performance.

21. people should always care about a students thoughts or goals in life. we hould respect everyone in every way. my thoughts are just important as those of others.the school system is a very weird thing some of the teachers dont really care about the ways of students.

and another thing i think dippers should be aloud to dip

22. teachers need to stop worrying so much about who's in the hall without a hall pass. they need to think about what it was like to have troubles and have not idea what to do or where to go or who to talk to. they have to remember.

23. they need to higher teachers who care. not ones that are mean and that could care less about weather the kids learn or not and just care about not working during the summer.

24. OH OH OH.. you need to allow a smoke brake. i sware to god about 90% of student skip school to smoke a cigarette. i know it may be promoting smokeing or whatever, but i doubt a student will start smoking just because of an extra 10 minutes after homeroom. if a person truely believes it is bad they will not do it. if a person smokes, they're gonna smoke.

25. forums like this one to amend the current school policies

26. school officials should stop to think. If they kick anyone whom they think is worthless then the future is doomed and the only to blame would be them. the should take more time to try to help students instead of running them out. also i think the state shoul check the number of expulsions in each school because is seems to me that as the school population increases so does the expulsions . if those to are directly proportional there is something really wrong

27. teachers need to stop locking up the students.

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Families/Parental Neglect


2. Many parents are too busy now to pay attention to their children. They

brought them into the world , so they ought to give all their attention to

them. They're responsible for what happens to them.

3. Help promote the involvement of parents in their childrens' lives. This can include all ages of kids. Simple things, like supporting their kids at a program of some kind.

4. Parents need to more involved in their children's lives.

5. i think that parents need to become more involved with there kids so that they can help their childern stay out of trouble

6. Parents should become more involoved in teens lives instead of telling what they should and shouldn't do and only expecting things of them but helping the child acheieve that.

7. parents are meant to be the main influence in children's lives...without them, who is to take responsibility for them?

kids look up to their parents..they are who the kids see the most...they only know what they are exposed to.

all parents should assume that responsiblity or not have children.

8. my parents made me what I am..I only know what they taught me...I can't say that I would be just fine even if they weren't there for me, because I wouldn't..I would be lost.

children without the loving, guiding influence of their parents are lost

9. PARENTAL NEGLIGENCE should be payed more attention to from the


10. families are growing apart so quickly nowadays we need a way to stay together.

11. parents need to be there for their kids

12. parents need to stay at home and stop worrying about the money so much. maybe kids wouldn't focus on how much money they have if they had their parents to talk to them and show them affection

13. did parents ever think maybe there kid is doing poorly to get some kind of attention from their parents

14. this is very important to me because i have two sets of parents (2 biological and 2 step). it is very hard growing up with this situation i also think that teens who come from broken homes are more apt to have problems later on

15. fimilus shouldn make teens choose

16. parents should be more aware of the choices that their teens are making

17. most kids whose parents are divorced seem to get in the most trouble and i feel its because they want to get attention from one of there parents. parents shouldn't get married if they won't stay together for the rest of there life because it just messes up the kid

18. show more of the traditional family unit as opposed to what is what we should be tolerating

19. parents should be parents and save the being a friend for later when the teen is an adult

20. maybe parents would be better if kids would try to conect with them, it is a two way street some parents are just as confused and hurt

21. families must be more supportive every child needs two parents who care and live together

22. make telling the truth the issue. let children know that you love them no matter what and that they can tell their parents the truth.

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Physical/Emotional Abuse


2. Today both men and women are harmed not only by a hand or a punch but also by harsh cruel words. In secret people are tormented and left alone feeling like nothing and they are too ashamed to ask for help. More and more needs to be done to help these people. They are in dire need to yell out for help, but they have no where to turn

3. Abuse is very hard for any type of individual. Black or white, young or old, it hurts. Many don't feel that they can tell someone what they are feeling, and by the time they are over it, they are bitter. It helps talking to someone who really cares. Peer mediation groups on the internet or over computers help. This way the victim can remain anonymous if disired.

4. harder penalties for child & physical abuse....more groups and advice for emotionally hurt people.....more understanding for relationships with emotional and physical abuse

5. if we had some way of hope for teens that have been abused to get away from their abusers and not just keep being abused. definately some where to turn

6. People need to realize what can actually be considered abuse. There are many things that people allow to happen that are clearly a form of abuse.

7. Abuse is a very broad problem. It travels through every aspect of life. However physical and emotional abuse are most prevalent in the parent-child relationship.

Parent have lots of baggage from their own childhood. This affects the way they deal with their children. If parents have bad experiences, they are likely to carry that over to their children. If parents have more open forums to discuss their problems, things would improve. Most importantly though, KIDS SHOULD FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE TALKING TO SCHOOL COUNSELORS ABOUT ISSUES AT HOME. School counselors are bogged down with administrative duties, and cannot devote enough time to the kids.

8. I think that people that use their backgrounds as an abused child is really just an excuse and should get some professional help.

9. offenders need to be penalized not just a slap on the wrist


11. encourage children to tell adults (education)

12. work with kids that get into trouble and if it seems that they have been abused in the past, help them with it so they don't grow up and abuse other children

13. MUCH stiffer penelties, espically for sex abuse. The average sex offender molestets 40 some odd children. Most after the first offence. We must decrease this number.

14. Children get abused all the time and the police are called and social workers are called but they always say they cannot do anything about it until you have some proof.

15. When a child says something to the police it's not always followed through. They need to follow through it and send someone to that house and arrest them. And ask the child (if old enough) where they would like to go or be done.

16. bring lie detectors into it if there is no physical proof (not for kids, but for adult being accused)

17. It seems whenever children get abused and they try to say something about it it seems like whoever you are talking to takes the side of your athorative figure.

18. I think the police or whoever is in charge should listen to the childs story more and don't just believe the parents

19. I think we could do better on the way we handle child abuse. Some people it is on the bottom of the list not on the top. It is very serious and goes on in many lives.

20. welfare and social work should have more support groups ways for the child to move out etc

21. I think that child abuse is the worst thing that can happen to a child. if your not going to care for that child then dont have them

22. child abuse cases should be looked into more often, and foster homes should be checked on, because a lot of the time they are no better than where the kid came from. Abuse only leads to more abuse, and people need to know that that is not the only way.

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Peer Pressure



3. being yourself takes courage and empowerment

4. being yourself is important because it's what makes us all different.

5. Many teens, especially in high school, don't understand what it means to be different. They think they are but don't realize that they can go to school and speak up what they think. This teen think tank is a great idea to put in the school's. this can help students to get their words in, without risking their "reputations" that realistically, many teens are concerned with.

This EMS is a great idea!

6. we should be able to express ourselves without being scorned or laughed at. people really want to express how they feel and today's society is not helping... we all have emotions, we just express them differently.

7. be yourself no matter what people tell you do

8. i think faith is very was not included in the top issues...wanted to express how important it is...without faith, nobody has anything

9. Be the leader of your own destiny

10. it is hard when you are a teenager, especially being new your senior year, but if they were a group that could help people settle in better that would be wonderful, but it never happens. They need to think what it is like. being yourself is hard especially in a new enviroment

11. maybe make people feel that the "cool" thing to do is to be yourself

12. have teachers, parents and other authority figures encouraging teens to express themselfs through class, in the home, in all activitys


14. pick good friends

15. The only thing about peer pressure is you have to be able to stand up for your beliefs and know what you believe before getting involved in a group of people.

16. stand up for yourself, believe in yourself, do what you know is right

17. we need stronger family support

18. this needs to start in homes with parents and their kids--to teach them to stand up for whatever they believe no matter what. i've never had a problem because my friends respect me and i know what's right and wrong.

19. Your friends have a lot to do with how you carry yourself. Too many teens pattern themselves after what they think their friends would like. People have to learn to make their own decisions and stop listening to what their friends say.

20. Be strong and stand up for yourself. Teach that at home and in the schools. Schools just say it was peer pressure and don't say how to prevent it.

21. People need to be taught how to stand up for themselves. it doesn't come naturally to everyone. Help those who don't have the courage to find it. They may not have the courage as a reasult of the lack of self esteem. Solve that and they won't need the acceptance of the wrong groups.

22. Admit it , almost everyone wants to be the most popular person is school having guys fight (not literally) just to go out with you. Well, that is where peer pressure comes from. If someone wants you to do something, that you know is wrong, you think that if you don't do it they won't be your friend anymore and that everyine will hate you. But you would be wrong, they might even respect you for your decision. Just learn when to say no.

23. Each child should be taught that uniqueness is a very important thing.

24. peer pressure is the number one thing with teens today everybody wants to be part of the incrowd but the truth is find friends thats not like that and chill out.

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Teen Suicide


2. need more cousulars in the schools. all the counslers now are too busy with giving tests, or making schulels. hirer some one else to do that so the students can talk to a counsler when they need, and not have to wait untill the end of the day when the testing is done. Because by then they may not want to talk, and it could be to late.

3. the better aware counselors are of the situation the better the chance to prevent the suicide. counselors should have detailed training on signs of a possible suicide and ways to prevent it.

4. have more help for teenagers, they need more people to talk to like at schools, our councelor is old and has no idea as to what is going on

5. train youth to help other youth no one understands us better than we do teach us that death is not the only way out

6. peer councilors

7. teen suicide is a problem that no one really believes is true. I think we should have more help groups in schools to talk about depression with teens

8. school councilors working hands on with student, not doing paper work

9. they need more coinslers in shools

10. somebody to understand them and talk to them, but not tell anyone about it.

11. support groups using EMS to promote anonymity

12. don't emphasize school/grades as much. there is a life outside and after school

13. if someone is seriuosly thinking about committing suicide, they need serious help. there needs to be more kinds of groups to help these people and the victims should know that there is always a better way out of their problem

14. people commit suicide everyday and thiers nothing we can do to stop it, unless we tell people the world isnt going to end if thier girlfriend breaks up with them or thier parents dont really care for them or love them.

we have all been handed the deck of cards from god now all we have to do is play them.

15. people just need to act like they care. stop yelling at a person and try to understwand them

16. Suicide is not a way out, no problems are so bad you should kill yourself, GOD would not have it that way. If you put your life in God hands he will make a way, may not be today but he will make away

17. Teens need to be taught that there is another way out other than suicide.

18. I think that what we can do about suicide is that we could have more authority about talking to other people if you see them down or if you think that they look like they're having a bad day or something like that. I mean a little talking to someone will take 5 minutes out of your day to save a whole lifetime out of someone's life.

19. suicide is such a permanent solution to a temporary problem. if we had more ways of reaching out and helping those that were suicidal, then the rate would go down. many kids feel they are inferior to others, and that is a main reason why they commit this horrible act. simple things, like school uniforms, could reduce this because then kids wouldn't feel the urge to go out and get the "hip" clothes, and then they wouldn't feel so insuperior to those that did have all of the clothes.

20. suicide hotlnes already exist but it needs to be enficized that its ok to call

21. if you know someone who is thinking about suicide you should hang out with them and listen to what they have to say. suicide is only used as a wauy out you can listen to a person feelings and help them out of that situation

22. Talk to student. Let them know that you care what is going on.

23. get involed in something that makes u feel good and make sure its what u wanna do. this way your mind isnt on bad things and dont make u go crazy worring about things to wear. things dont get so bad

24. suicide is one of the major deaths in the country, it's caused because of depression

25. have classes for teachers on recognizing severe depression and suicidal tendencies, and teach them how to effectively deal with these situations

26. don't talk so much about it in the news and media

27. definitly more support groups and pay more ____ attention because there may not be a next time

28. more involvement in teens lives will save more lives

29. a person commits suicide because they feel a problem is so large they dont know how to handle it...try to just be there for that person, maybe a kid who always gets picked on, a friend can save a life!

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Cost of College


2. I think that we should lower the costs of college tuition.The main reasion is because in a years time we spend more money on tuition than we do on housing and better living conditions.

3. if they want us to be able to go to college to be an inspitational part of society, they should lower the cost of colleges so most people could go and more knowledge could be acquired

4. teens who come from families that have a nice income still worry about tuition. Aid is needed by everyone, not just those in poverty.

5. they need to have a lower collede tuitine

6. why in the world does college have to cost so much money?!

I mean come on it's outrageous!

7. create a state lottery that pays for education for well deserving kids with "b" averages who stay out of trouble

8. dedicate more money to scholarships

9. educational lottery to benifit students with a c+ or better

10. find ways to make scholarship money more avaliable to students so that students and parents will not be troubled by the tremendous burden of debt which accompanies higher education.

11. Students need to talk with their parents and counselors about making important decisions.

12. Trying to make it to the college of my chose is going to be hard with

all the things that are happing in my life.

13. Provide scholarships of all kinds to all different kinds of students. Also, help to spread the knowledge of these scholarships around, because many scholarships go ungiven.

14. Teens need to feel prepared for college and need more help from the counselors when trying to choose a college. The college fairs that the city offers are helpful to those who don't know where to find information.

15. In my school you can never talk to the counselors because you can never find them, plus the college person is not much help. I would like to see that the government make sure that they are doing their jobs, because this is the most crucial times in anybodies life

16. Scholarships should not only be given to the smartest because they receive many other offers, but instead need to go to those with maybe not the best grades but the ones who need help.

17. people should put more effort into trying to get accepted by filling out scholarship forms and not sitting around expecting people to recognize you. Ain't nuttin in life FREE!!!!

18. I think that the new lottery issue were the teens with "a" "b" average can go to Al colleges free is very good. it encourages teens to go to college

19. There's too much info about college these days that it is very hard to get a clear view about it.

20. each state should have more to do with helping students get into college, these are the same people who will run the country, don't you want them to be educated?

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2. Depression is cause by negative influences on a teens life. Whether it be through the teen's parents, or teachers or friends. I know that at my school, I have to go through a figurative "gauntlett" to get in to see a counselor. If schools and churches, and most importantly, parents would just listen to their teen's probs, there would be a dramatic decrease of depressed youths.

3. For some teens, going to a counsler may be the answer to their problems, but for some of us, what people say just doesn't matter. For some kids suicide is the answer to their problems. Ans sometimes the reason kids get depressed is because they don't feel loved. The answer to depression... Love.

4. teens need to be loved--not by there peers only but by those who they live with..if you arent living in a stable home you cant possibly be thinking on a positive note

5. just try to cheer up the people who seem depressed and try to help solve there problems

6. The root of depression is lack of self-confidence. The need to be wanted and to be important is valuable to all people. Simple gestures such as compliments, a smile, or just a friendly face could make the difference between life and death. People need to pause from their activities just once a day and change someone else's bad day into a good one.

7. Depression can be helped by positive role models. If teens are encoiuraged by adult friends they may not be so depressed they will understand a lot more than they would have and they might see that they don't have to keep everything inside.

8. Make cousiling more widespread and confidential

9. We live in a society in which there is always someone better. This happens to lead to long term depression. In the school today, I think that not only the straight A students should be rewarded. I live in an environment in which I make very high grades and my sister does not. Truthfully I feel bad that she is always being compared to me and at times lives in my shadow. I try to encourage her to always do her best but she think that I just want her to be like me. I think that schools and families should help teenagers understand that we are all unique. The comparison of children and students often make one person feel less meaningful. This is what leads to depression and it can be stopped.

10. life gets to serious at times. these teenagers need love.have school programs an d help these teenagers. aprroach them easily and they will come forth. it is goo to have a person that has been in there situation before so they have some hope to carry on there lives,

11. I think all teens get depressed because their girlfriend has broken up

with them or their grades are dropping or their parents are presureing


12. there is too much pressure on kids. parents don't realize that we have a very full life with school, work, home, and friends. not just socialy though.

13. Adults do not recogonize stress as something teenagers and children suffer. Teens are demanded by parents not only to make good grades, but to pay for their own things, which requires a job, and to do many other things. Not that any of this is bad, just it needs to be recognized as something teenagers do go through

14. most adults do not realize how much a teen has on their mind. whether it is important or petty. they should be more patient with us and try to understand all of the issues that teens face in todays society

15. Don't allow kids to take on too much responsibilty at once. Kids with jobs should not be allowed to participate in sports and other extra-curricular activities

16. parents should encourage student through possitive reinforcement rather than through yelling at them. This would greatly reduce stress on students.

17. teens need to realize that they aren't alone when it comes to stress, everyone deals with it, the secret is to find healthy ways to release the stress

18. teens should talk more about their problems

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Alcohol/Teen Drinking



3. under-age drinking is one of the most widespread of these issues. However, this does not make it a problem. The problem is the jerks who drive, get into fights, or cause trouble.

4. the cops should actually dosomething to stop the people that sell beer to minors. anybody can walk into a gas stationand get beer no problem. they should start fining the people who sell it, or send them to jail if they don't stop.

5. how do you expect to decrease selling to minors? it happens anyway. the power here lies in the liquor store owners and gas stations and stores. that's where the enforcement needs to start if you expect to do anything about it

6. advertise staying at the house that they are drinking at.

7. always ceck for drivers liceance and have more alcohol prevention commities

8. if a business sells alcohol to minors then they should be closed down and put in jail. they know its not right, so they should be punished for it.

9. If teens stay where they are and don't cause trouble, then what is the problem with under-age drinking.

10. Beer should only be alowed in a monitored environment where adults are the only ones drinking. If it is opened up to the private households and parties there is no way to stop teens from getting it and most teens can't handle it responsibly.

11. I'm around alcohol all the time and it is a serious problem. For a fact I have a friend who had some liquor today at school. This is the type of problem that can't be readily solved, but what people can do is stop drinking and driving. It's real stupid if you ask me. Why would you drive a car when you can't even walk straight?

12. Enforce the drinking-age laws so that under-aged teens, mainly high school students, cannot be able to get alcohol.

Parents, teachers, and students should consolidate to advocate substance-abuse resistance.

13. A lot of teens find that there is nothing "exciting" to do on the weekends. I believe this is due to the fact that the city has put forth little effort to promote safe and exciting places for teens to hang out. Waffle House is okay for some teens, but not all of them.

14. don't make it such a big deal that everyone will want to go out and drink. my parents didn't really enforce it so I don't abuse it it's trust between parents and their kids

15. dont punish those who choose to drink responibly

if they are able to obtain the alcohol and not act irrassionably with it in there hands then let them be...there gonna get it anyways

16. make a law so beer cant be sold on sundays , and outlaw drive in beer seeling places

17. minors are going to get alcohol if they want it. Strict penalties for selling to a minor are of no use because of fake ID's and old people but it for them legally. You have to punish the teens harsher.

18. Advertise teens having fun either without the alcohol, or staying at the place that they are drinking.

19. Alcohol is something that people don't take seriously. (Especially teenagers) We should have a Alcohol Free Run\Dance. That is where we can raise money for DUI teenage victums to get help for all their injuries. Then we can encourage drinkers to stop drinking for one weekend or more at least. Then we can end it with a big bash!

20. Just don't make an achohol that is digestible. Don't sell to minors. Ask for an Id card, even if they look forty, and make sure their card isn't a fake.


22. Alcohol abuse is caused when people do not respect anothers ability to control their drinking. When someone does not control their drinking they should lose the ability to drink.

23. The problem lies with the teens who drink the alcohol, not the people who sell it to them. If teens drink it is for a reason. Their parents and friends should be the ones to help them. Harsher laws won't solve a thing. Too many DARE classes, not enough one-on-one.

24. if you're going to drink, then justmake sure theres a designated driver so you don't go off drunk and hit someone. because then you'll have the fact that you've killed someone hanging over the head for the rest of your life. no one is going to be able to stop someone from drinking, but if they drink they have to accept the responsibilities that go along with it.

25. if your going to drink and drive just stay your butt at home so you can't hurt anybody and just go to sleep and have a nice hang over next morning

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Goals/Concern about Future


2. There should be counselors who have to take time to sit down and talk with every student about his or her goals and how he/she will accomplish them.

3. people can do anything they want to do - no matter what the obstacles. the harder a person works, the greater their rewards will be

4. I think that teens today are really worried about reaching their personal goals that they have set for themselves.

Solution: set up stations for teens so that they can talk about these problems and what they can do to acheeive these set goal's.

5. give us more inspiration

6. if more teens where aware of all the career choices that are available, more would probably be inspired to persue a certain goal and achieve it

7. put goals ahead of you and don't expect anyone to lie down the red carpet for you in the future,work for what you want

8. teens should be more aware of their future and more involved in activitites that could help them met their goals

9. we should tell teens in general that they need to look more and more into the future because thing are becoming more and more technological and everyone who choses to make it in life is going to need a good education.

10. teens should be given the opportuity to attend classes, meet people, follow some one in a given feild to see what they would like to do with their future. It is all about finding something to enjoy that makes one happy and is good at doing. If we are given to chance to see what is out there.

11. young women need to be informed on what jobs are available. The world no longer says she must be a nurse or teacher or secretary. Women are doctors and lawyers, but so many girls and young women don't know what is out there. (As well as boys and young men however, the opp't are not as lacking for men). Let girls know that they too are equal and can be anything they want to be. This needs to be shown by leaders in gov't and schools, and the world.

12. more oppertunities for students to realize their interests and what would be necessary educationally in order to suceed in these feilds

13. Futures are uncertain because of poverty if we help kids get out of poverty with programs to get people off welfare then futures will become brighter

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2. I think it is stupid to fight over colors a way to change that is come to agreement

3. many teens think that there's nothing you can do about it, unless you want to get shot. they leave it up to the police to deal with. we don't really see it as a big problem in the schools. it's more of a neighborhood problem.

4. there should be more community involvement and city organizations that give alternate options than gangs...if one resorts to gangs and there violence one needs to look closly at the members family and community

5. teens should not fight over what they think is important to them. We should have gatherings for groups to come and talk about their problems with a person instead of going out and fighting someone.

6. gang violence is stupid and has and always will be. The reason why some join is because they don't get enough love and support from home so they get it from someone else.

7. teens join gangs because they feel there is no other way they can have a better life. teens have no hope. there perspective on life needs to change. give these teenagers a sense of direction to people they will respect and listen to.

8. Gangs don't do anyrthing but claim some kind of color or groups. Why can't gangs represent anything positive.

could there be something like the educators gang of america. A group of people who rep. something good for us youth.

9. rehab should involve friends for support your more likely to go with a friens

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Lack of Respect


2. Teenagers are not given much respect at all, everyone tells us we think we know it all and dont listen to what we have to say.

therefor everyone ends up not listening to teenagers,or respecting their beleifs.

3. teenagers should be aloud to give thier ideas and they should be respected as if they were an adult

4. In my opinion teenagers should have a say so in alot of things in the community. It is good that the community now realizes that kids do make a difference but it should have been something accomplished along time ago. These days kids should be seen and heard. Kids know how things are in there life and should be respected for there opinion of how this society should run.

5. Respect is something that everyone needs in their life. People often see respect as maybe listening to someone's ideas and then just forgetting it the next day. I think that respect is something of a greater definition. If you're going to respect something, then take the time to make sure that the other person knows that you respect it.

6. teachers, parents, adults, and kids need to learn how to respect one another through workshops in schools, churches, etc.

7. i believe that if people respect one another, it would solve alot of the major problems that we have such as violence, drugs, sex, prejudice, rape, etc...

8. Kids need to be taught to respect others in the home . It is not the school system's responsibility to teach them. That is a family responsibility. If kids are not respecttful, blame the parents.

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2. People should not worry about what people think. If you believe in a religion then you should find people with the same religion to hang out with

3. Every person is entitled to their own religion. I'm glad that they passed the moment of silence, becuase it gives students a chance to express their own feelings in a silence manner without destubing others.

4. religion should not affect the way people think about you

5. People put way to much emphasis on prayer in school. there are too many different religions to be able to have all of them expressed. the moment of silence thing is a good idea but it has almost become a joke in some places and is not very well enforced.

6. Religion is one's own decision. People should not hold it against you what religion you are. As long as we all worship the same God, I don't think he really cares when or where you go to church.

7. Be involved in church

8. Freedom of religion isn't a problem here. People are free to worship who or what they want.

9. this is a personal issue that is in america a free choice

so let us have our freedom to express it when we feel the need

10. Religion is a personal thing and should NOT be carried into schools and politics.

11. i feel that we need to have more time in school to pray or whatever you do

12. Religion is part of someone. You cannot force a belief or a disbelief on anyone. It is their own right to think. To take that right away or to impress on their right is to violate the natural rights of mankind.

13. Religion is something that affects our lives morally.

Different reilgions teach different things and therefore people should be made aware of all religions.

Then people would be less likely to affend others.

14. people need to stand up for what they believe in-- this goes with self-esteem. i think the 30 sec. of quiet reflection is ridiculous-- why in the morning? why not at noon when Muslims pray?! why do we have to accomadate to only the Christians or the most widely accepted religion? we've never made concessions to minority religions so why should we now? just because some conservative wants to "reform our schools"? it's really up to the teacher--whether he or she enforces the silence.

15. Religion is not a big deal. Nobody even cares what religion you are and it just makes for a good debate. However if you tell someone that you are a female and go to a catholic school; they automatically think that you are easy... that isn't right.

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No Place to Go


(Note: "No place to go" included comments about the desire for a place for teenagers to congregate and comments about an alternate place to live, either permanently or temporarily.)


3. There seems to be no place for teenagers to go where we won't get kicked out of or get arrested for loitering.

4. kids should have a youth center where activities are constantly going on. they should also have tutors and diffrent job centers come down to talk to the kids

5. I think that there should be more activities like the Big Spring Jam and stuff for the city to participate in. But it should be more safe and restricted. Like if little kids are going they shouldn't be exposed to drinking and all the people who drink when they do go. This is a very boring town and I think that someone should do something about that. Also I would enjoy if there were more things to do with your school peers. Other than going to sports games and stuff.

6. teens should plan and create a hangout where we can go and not get harassed, kicked out, or not respected

7. there sould be somewhere to go and do something fun yet be safe. there would need to be strict rules on dress and other things that would make it safe


9. there are homes for kids who have no wear to go and if not there try living with a friend

10. I think organizations should be formed where a child can go if they have a problem at home and they dont feel comfortable going home.

11. Kids that have no place to go is a great problem. Most of the time kids think that even if they're aloud to go there, that maybe they aren't wanted. Some other kids make people feel like they aren't wanted so they leave the place because they are lonesome.

12. build a home for kids to go and help them get a job and once they can support themselves on there own help them find somewhere else they can live

13. I think that there should be more programs to help kids in need. Instead of having kids reach out to someone, someone should reach out to them.