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Dear Abby 12/08
Girl is at her breaking point over jocks' taunts at school
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    DEAR ABBY: I am a 13-year-old girl in junior high. I'm being harassed at school by three boys. I'm not popular, attractive or fashionable. I am athletic, quiet and a straight-A student.
    These boys are jocks, so they have everyone wrapped around their little fingers. They call me terrible names, take things from me and treat me like dirt. It has gotten to the point where I come home crying. I have tried everything — ignoring them and just walking away. My few friends won't help me because they like these boys.
    When I told my parents, they said I should just ignore them, and repeated it when I told them it wasn't working. Abby, it's impossible to ignore them because they get louder and meaner until they are hitting me or poking me, trying to get me to respond. I am at my breaking point and I don't think I can take it any longer. I don't know who to turn to. Please help me. — HURT IN OHIO
    DEAR HURT: No one has the right to touch you without your permission. Doing so could be considered a form of assault. Many schools have a zero-tolerance policy for this kind of behavior.
    I'm sorry to say that no one can prevent bullies from name-calling if it's done out of earshot from adults. However, because their behavior has escalated to hitting and poking, bring it to the attention of a school counselor or your principal. Your parents should accompany you when you do it because the bullying won't stop without intervention. Please tell them I said so.

    DEAR ABBY: I have a suggestion for folks who are wondering what gifts to buy for small children — especially those they don't see often.
    Last year I did something that family members did for me when I was little. I bought books from the dollar store for my three grandchildren and videotaped myself reading to them. I made sure to include bits and pieces of family history and funny stories.
    It wasn't expensive. It will help them learn to read, get them to go to sleep, and give Mom and Dad a break. It helped my grandchildren become familiar with my voice, and clarified family relationships by connecting them to stories and family trees.
    The 1-year-old's mother said the child loved her books and kept opening and closing them — holding them upside down and turning the pages to examine each one.
    It took a bit of time to do, but it's something the parents have told me they'll cherish — and it will outlast clothes the children will outgrow and toys that will break or be tossed away. — ANNIE IN GEORGIA
    DEAR ANNIE: That's a delightful, creative idea — not just for the children. A gift like yours could become a family treasure. Thank you for sharing.
    DEAR ABBY: How do I tell my best friend that her husband wants a physical relationship with me? My husband is in prison, and my friends have been wonderfully supportive, but her husband has made it plain he's after me. — NOT INTERESTED IN FLORIDA
    DEAR NOT INTERESTED: Tell the husband that you consider him and his wife to be dear friends, but you're not interested in a physical relationship, and if he doesn't stop coming on to you, you'll tell his wife. If that doesn't cool his ardor, stop seeing them as a couple.

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