Now that we’ve all had a full week to soak in and process the stories told in the “Lost Teens” feature focusing on five students in the Clinton High School Assist Program who have been involved with various elements of physical, sexual, substance and self-abuse, we find people asking what was the point of the series.

Let’s start by saying what it was not.

It was not an attempt to make Clinton High look like a problem-ridden school with troubled students. Rather, it was carefully written to indicate just how small a percentage of the overall student body and the Assist Program itself the troubled teens represented.

It was not an attempt to shame any one family for an unfortunate situation leading to a stolen childhood. Rather, it again was carefully written to vigorously protect the identities of those who were brave enough to share their stores so others might connect with them and be aware of the problems facing today’s students.

It was not written to sell newspapers and make more out of a problem than was justifiable to do. Rather, it was to bring to light true stories of horrible things that happen in our towns in order that they may be confronted, that we all may better understand why some teens act the way the do and give a spotlight on the hope for the future — the Assist Program educators and school psychologists who work with these students to help them overcome obstacles so large most people can’t begin to fathom their implications.

We hope you read every word, but if you didn’t, the stories remain available on our Web site. We hope you realize these problems aren’t unique to Clinton High, but having the staff and resources dedicated to something like the Assist Program is something larger districts are better able to coordinate.

Ultimately, the continued operation of the Assist Program and an alternative high school reveals the Clinton School District to be aware of problems its students face, to state publicly a willingness to meet those challenges head on and, most importantly, to provide a solid education to all those who choose to seek it out.

We’re by no means the authority on the subject and didn’t intend to present ourselves that way. All we wanted was to illuminate the stories of the real experts, the young people who have dealt with and continue to be affected by addictions, abuse and two sets of adults — those who contributed to the descent and those working hard to pull them back up.

In the end, this series really was about them and telling their tales. We like to say we offer “News About You.” That means all of you, not just the ones celebrating a new business or a 50th anniversary. We love to tell those happy stories, of course, but the Lost Teens series helped prove an old axiom — some stories simply are too important to leave untold.

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