Pubdate: Mon, 15 Apr 2002
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)
Copyright: 2002 Chattanooga Publishing Co.
Author: Karen Nazor Hill
Bookmark: (Youth)


This is the third of a five-part series highlighting local teen-agers' 
responses to the Chattanooga Youth Council's recent teen survey. The 
council polled 21 Hamilton County public, private and homeschool students 
in grades 9 through 12, asking them questions related to teen issues.

Later, nine students participated in a roundtable discussion at the 
Chattanooga Times Free Press. They were: Jonathan Bateman, a senior at 
Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts; Lindsey Chapman, Joey 
Appleby and Brandon Phifer, juniors at Notre Dame High School; Shawna 
Holsomback, a freshman at Ringgold (Ga.) High School; Jenni Austin, a 
sophomore at Soddy-Daisy High School; Rachel Corell and Larissa Weaver, 
sophomores at Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, and Caleb 
Pitkin, a freshman at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.

The following question was asked to students surveyed and the students 
participating in the roundtable discussion:

Q. What do you feel are the biggest problems local teens are facing today?

The survey revealed:

- -- Drug and alcohol abuse

- -- Stress

- -- Teen pregnancy/premarital sex

- -- Peer pressure and social pressures

- -- Drinking and driving

The following are the responses from the teen-agers at the roundtable 

A. Larissa -- "I don't see drinking and driving at all. I do see teen 
pregnancy sometimes, but stress is the No. 1 problem I see. I think it's 
insane the number of people who see psychiatrists and are on 
antidepressants and have panic attacks. These people are always upset about 
their grades and how good they are at drama. A lot of it they put on 
themselves. It's really unhealthy."

A. Caleb -- "I think the worst problem is that everyone who tries to do 
anything with kids has their own agenda -- such as parents who'll give 
their kids anything to make good grades. They don't care what their kids 
are doing as long as they make good grades. The problem about drug and 
alcohol abuse is that teens and adults are doing it. I believe that stress 
causes the problem of drugs and alcohol abuse."

A. Rachel -- "Stress is definitely the No. 1 problem. You can have lots of 
people having sex and doing drugs, and you can try to help them, but they 
don't want help. So many of them are stressed out because they're trying to 
please they're parents. I don't think peer pressure is much of a problem 
because the teens aren't concerned what other people think."

A. Jenni -- "Peer pressure isn't that big of a deal, but I do know some 
people who try to pressure others to do things and if they don't, they get 
mad. I've seen a lot of drug and alcohol abuse."

A.Shawna -- "I see kids who are stressed, mainly because of sports. They 
freak out if they don't win."

A. Brandon -- "There's a lot of stress to make good grades. There's also a 
lot of teens doing drugs and drinking."

A. Joey -- "The biggest problem I see is drugs and alcohol. It's better 
this year at my school because of drug testing. Drinking and driving is 
another big problem. Even though kids know people who have died as a result 
of drinking and driving, they are still drinking and driving. They know now 
that teens aren't invincible and they don't care. On weekends, there are 
parties where teens are drinking going to party to party drunk. You'd think 
that if your friend died as a result, you'd learn. They just don't care."

A: Lindsey -- "Stress is the No. 1 problem and I believe that leads to 
drinking and drugs. I think drug testing has helped at our school because 
people are actually afraid of getting into trouble. We have a lot of stress 
at our school this year because we've had two kids die, one right after the 
other, and we had one last year. Peer pressure is not a big issue. If they 
want to do something, they'll do it. Drinking and driving is a huge 
problem. I know kids who drive around drinking, going from party to party 
- -- even if it's from Signal Mountain to Ooltewah."

A: Jonathan -- "Stress. I don't think drugs are a problem at my school and 
I don't see much drinking and driving. I know it happens, but it's not 
because of peer pressure that it happens, it's because of people not 
caring. These kids have all the information. They know that if you get 
drunk and you drive, you're taking a huge risk. I think there's almost an 
overeducation about the risk of drugs because everybody knows. They choose 
to do it because they think it's cool."
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