DR. WALLACE: I'm a 12-year-old girl who has a 10-year-old brother. Lately, he has been throwing rocks and stones at me because I "ratted" on him to our parents, and because of that he got into trouble. It's true that I did "rat" on him. I told our parents that I saw him smoking a cigarette, and he got into a lot of trouble. I told my mom and dad about this because I didn't want my brother to start smoking and, also, I thought it was my responsibility to tell my parents. It may sound corny, but I told on him for his own good, because I actually care about him even though it seems he is going through a very tough phase in his life at this time. But unfortunately, things are now worse than ever.
Now he is telling his friends to throw rocks and stones at me. Yesterday, walking home from school, I was hit several times by four or five guys, including my brother, who were throwing rocks at me. Whenever one of them would hit me, they would all laugh. My brother told me that if I "ratted" on him about this, he would do worse things to me. Now I'm really starting to become quite afraid of my brother. Should I tell my parents again this time or hope that these guys will soon get tired of throwing things at me? — Worried, via email
WORRIED: Tell your parents immediately! Your brother is a nasty bully who needs a good dose of stern discipline. Please make sure your parents read the message you wrote to me and my response. Trying to look the other way in the face of obviously terrible behavior is not a way to foster positive changes. He needs some tough adult intervention and guidance right away.
EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM CHALLENGED
DR. WALLACE: I'm a 16-year-old girl who has a serious question about our school system here in the United States.
Lately, I have been reading about our low test scores and how lousy our educational system is compared to other countries, especially Japan. Why are we so educationally deficient?
Why do so many kids quit school in our nation? — Concerned Student, via email
CONCERNED: As a former high school principal, I can tell you that some American students have a higher dropout rate than in some other countries simply because their parents do not place a high priority on education.
Some students drop out of school because it is too difficult to learn a new language or because it is necessary for the student to get a job to help his or her family.
It's true that our educational system could and should be better, but that statement could accurately be made in every country.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.