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LifeWay to send counseling tapes to teens at Calif. high school

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–LifeWay Christian Resources has shipped nearly 2,000 CDs containing taped counseling sessions to a high school in California where a teenager killed two students and wounded 13 others.

“An employee is picking up the 24-hour Counselor CDs at a warehouse and taking them to the airport where they should arrive in California this afternoon,” Barry Campbell of LifeWay’s Pastor-Staff Leadership Section, said Wednesday, March 7.

Campbell said he hopes the taped counseling session, “Someone Close to Me Has Died,” will help some of the students at Santana High School in Santee, Calif., deal with their grief.

“I know it’s too late to do anything about the tragedy that has already occurred. But maybe these CDs, especially the session ‘I’m Thinking About Killing Some People,’ will help the students understand what goes on in the heads of young people who commit these sort of crimes and prevent something like this from happening in the future,” Campbell said. “We also hope the CDs can help the students deal with their grief.”

The 24-Hour Counselor CDs provide immediate helps for teens facing some of life’s toughest challenges, Campbell said. The information is also available on LifeWay’s Internet site at www.lifeway.com/24hour/.

Some of the sessions on the CD and website are: My Friend May Commit Suicide, My Girlfriend May Be Pregnant, I Was Raped on a Date, I No Longer Want to Live, I’m Tempted to Go too Far on a Date, I Get Depressed Often and I Might Want To Join A Gang.

These topics were among the most frequently downloaded from LifeWay’s 24-Hour Counselor website and “obviously touch a nerve among our teenagers today,” Campbell said.

The session, “I’m Thinking About Killing Some People,” was downloaded 120 times in the month of February, according to LifeWay Web statistics.

Statistics on the CD reveal that the number of teenagers arrested for murder has tripled over the last 15 years. The CD also says 13 children and youth are murdered each day, 16 youth are killed each day with firearms and the United States has the highest homicide rate between 15-24 years of age in the world. It is reported that 2 million teenagers carry knives, guns, clubs or razors, and as many as 135,000 take them to school.

During the taped session, “I’m Thinking About Killing Some People,” Tony Rankin, a counselor from Nashville, Tenn., advises a teen named “Troy” on his desire to hurt others. The desire of a young person to kill or hurt someone usually stems from being mad at people, being hurt by them or being rejected by someone who really matters to them, Rankin said on the CD.

According to Rankin, teenagers who’ve wanted or threatened to kill others sometimes:

— have extensive knowledge about weapons. They know how they work, what kind of ammunition they use, how deadly they are at certain ranges and how to obtain them.

— ignore their rage. They stay irritated all the time, are constantly looking for ways to get back at people, lose their temper often, are vindictive and defy adult authority almost all of the time.

— feel like they do not get enough attention. “One of our basic needs is to get attention from people who like us or people we like. When we don’t get it, we look for it in a variety of ways, for example, directing attention toward ourselves in ridiculous ways,” Rankin said.

To address issues of rage, Rankin suggests teens:

— Look for ways to let it out so people, things or animals aren’t hurt. Find a way to redirect anger and verbalize it to someone who cares. Examples are walking, running, singing, hitting a pillow, calling somebody, breathing deeply or getting away for a while.

— Get out of the circle of friends who influence you to want to harm other people. “Staying with groups like this can also lead to substance abuse, poor grades at school, aggressive behavior, serious injuries, suicide attempts and physical or mental disabilities that will stay around after the violent event has occurred.”

— Talk it out. “Tell someone about the resentment and anger. Find a caring adult that can be trusted, and tell the person about your fears.”

The CD includes a six-minute video and a session titled “I Want To Meet Jesus.”

The 24-Hour Counselor CD is produced through Broadman & Holman Publishers, the trade publishing division of LifeWay. A box of 25 CDs, each with all 24 counseling sessions may be purchased by calling 1-800-458-2772 or through LifeWay Christian Stores.

    About the Author

  • Terri Lackey