Last week at a "Teens and the Law" panel discussion, I found myself drawn to the comments of a caring but stern prosecutor. Maybe it's because he was the only one on the panel to openly recognize the importance of teens helping each other in risky situations. One question from the audience was whether a kid could get in trouble for having consumed alcohol if his/her friend needed help and he/she called 911 while under the influence. A legitimate question, but the judge was incredulous: "Your friend needs medical attention and you're worried about saving your own skin?" When the subject turned to legal issues related to teen sex, particularly when one partner has been drinking, the judge had a strong message: "Look. If you're at a party and your friend 'disappears'? FIND your friend. Get your friend home NOW."
The whole talk made me grateful all over again for having made it through high school with a peer group that got in trouble with the law only for hanging out in the neighborhood at night, bored and goofy but utterly substance-free. Every kid should be so lucky. Then again, it's not all luck, is it?