The Friday before Mother's Day, my work associate asked me for a favor. "I may need to work altered hours on Monday, if that is OK," she started. "I have a memorial service that I need to go to." And then, almost under her breath: "It was a suicide."
I've realized that sometimes you are tempted to think that everyone is perfect except for you, but in reality, no one is, no matter how much we want them to be. I was never going to be perfect -- and I'm okay with that.
Bucks County, home to such literary giants as James Michener and Pearl Buck, is also home to a school district that is crafting an embarrassing non-fiction story of financial irresponsibility and worse, child neglect.
I don't want to ignore or cover up the issue, but I also don't want the outpouring of love and support for these victims to inspire any other impressionable gay youth in the wrong way. I don't want any more fallen angels.
We need an administration that takes our children's lives and educations seriously, not just as a matter of proclaimed policy, painted in broad strokes and useful as a sound bite in a debate, but as an issue that is essentially and deeply personal, as much as it is political.
We can watch Perks of Being a Wallflower or read about Amanda Todd's death and shake our heads despairingly. Or we can collectively ensure that our youth have the guidance and support they need to thrive.
I am calling for the formation of groups of "Rainbow Berets" within schools. These would be concerned peer groups that would stand up to the circumstances that inspire bullying. They would be visible in their schools and would serve as safe confidants.
I'm not writing from the perspective of a dad. I'm writing from the perspective of having lived in my own personal hell as an early teen -- one of which no one was aware, but from which I could see no hope.