Walking Down Harm's Way


JC grew up in a middle class neighborhood. He was an average student and an athlete. He loved sports. What he lacked in ability, he possessed in passion and heart for whatever sport he played. ...

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JC grew up in a middle class neighborhood. He was an average student and an athlete. He loved sports. What he lacked in ability, he possessed in passion and heart for whatever sport he played.

At the beginning of senior year in high school, JC decided he wanted to be a physical education teacher. He applied to a number of SUNY schools upstate. He was accepted at two of his four choices. He decided to attend a SUNY school in central New York. The school offered both the academic program and sports team JC was interested in.

As the middle child of five children, JC always felt he was passed over. Often he felt he walked in the shadows of his brothers and sisters. His father said out of all his children, JC is the most compassionate and generous. He gives his all to any task he undertakes.

However, his Dad also indicated that JC has the poorest self-image and lacks the inner fortitude that his other sisters and brothers possess. JC went away to school and loved it. He loved his suitemates, his courses, his professors and the sports he played. His parents really felt JC found his home. He started to chart his own course and become his own person.

At the end of his first year away, he had sustained a GPA of 3.0 and made a varsity sport. His teammates loved him and called him the heart of their team, even though he was a freshman.

He came home after his freshman year really changed. He got a summer job, volunteered at a local summer camp for kids and was on cloud nine most of the summer. His parents could not get over the transformation. JC was really emerging.

Sophomore year was pretty uneventful. JC continued to do well with his classes. His teammates continued to seek his leadership although he was frustrated with his athletic performance. No matter how hard he tried, it never seemed to be good enough. His positive spirit started to wane.

Fraternities and sororities were major influences at this particular college. Unfortunately, in recent times, a number of fraternities that were once highly respected were kicked off campus and students were banned from joining them. Needless to say they continued to flourish in the college underground.

Due to the controversy around fraternities in general and some very specific brotherhoods, most of the male athletic teams forbade team members from joining any fraternity. If the coach found out you were a "frat brother" you were dismissed from the team.

One particular fraternity that was banned was pretty popular in the underground. More students than administrators knew were active members. Unfortunately, this fraternity had the reputation for abusive hazing, drug use, drug dealing and bullying, that is why it was banned from the campus.

JC was very drawn to this group. He continuously defended them as a frat house and as individuals. He told his parents that they changed his life. He had never met such a loyal, generous group of guys.

His loyalty to this band of misguided zealots led to his dismissal from his varsity team. His parents began to notice a change in his behavior. JC became very moody. He lost interest in school. This fraternity bond became everything to him.

His junior summer was a disaster; at least from his parent's point of view. All he did was party and stay out all night. His drinking escalated. His parents feared that he was smoking pot and possibly trying other street drugs. However, every time he was confronted, he vehemently denied doing any drugs but beer.

Junior summer finally ended and JC was off to school. He told his parents he was going to live in off campus housing with a group of friends. What he really had planned was to live in the frat house off campus, even though students from his school were forbidden to do so. The chairman of his department told him that if he was caught living there he could be brought up on disciplinary charges and possibly be suspended from school for a full year.

A few months into senior year, JC started using and selling coke. He used his car as a transporter and was making excellent money. A number of his athletic friends got wind of what he was doing. They tried to talk to him, but their efforts fell on deaf ears. He was not willing to see or hear that his newfound friends potentially could destroy his life.

Finally a cop stopped him in late January. The officer searched his car and found bags of pot. He was arrested and charged with possession with the intent to sell. The cops told JC's parents that they were hoping to find cocaine in his car. They had been watching he and his friends for a while. The police seemed to know a lot. Definitely more than JC's parents.

His parents tried to alert him that he was walking down harm's way, but he did not want to hear any of it.

The school administration got wind of JC living off campus at a banned frat house and that he was recently arrested for pot possession with the intent to sell. They informed JC that the Academic Counsel was recommending a year suspension from school because JC was out of control. They recommended that he move home and seek counseling.

When JC's parents were notified that he was being suspended from school for one year, they drove up there immediately. They met with his Dean and Class Advisor. They echoed the sentiments of most of his professors that he was well liked, but was falling apart at the seams and was not willing to acknowledge that.

After an evening of conversation, JC finally admitted that he was depressed and that he was using coke for medication, but also continued to defend his frat brothers. He said he did not care what others thought of them, to him, they were like family.

JC has a passion for children. He definitely wants to be a teacher. He realizes that he needs his degree to reach that goal. He also realizes that he needs to be drug free.

The question is, is he clear minded enough to make the right choices or will he be bullied into continuing his reckless lifestyle and run the risk of losing everything for the sake of his frat friends?

Time will surely tell!