Student’s death teaches painful lessons

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This week, we ask our In Theory writers about the death of South Pasadena High School senior Aydin Salek, whose death has made shock waves from the scene of the incident to La Cañada.

Reports indicate that Salek was attending an unsupervised party where he was offered alcohol. This is not unlike an incident in 1993 where a Crescenta Valley High School senior was murdered at an unsupervised post-prom party. Who do you believe is at fault here? The parents? The students? Or both? What steps would you suggest to parents in order to deter this behavior? What steps would you suggest to students considering going to an unsupervised party tonight about ways to avoid this behavior and maybe save a life — theirs, perhaps?

Here is a sample of what our writers had to say:

Rev. Jeri Linn: “It is our job, as adults, to mentor young people by example, by sharing information about how destructive any substance abuse can be, and by being present and available to them — even if it means supervising a party.”

Pastor Jon Barta: “Finding ‘fault’ seems harsh at the moment when everybody is emotionally devastated, but I suppose it’s prudent to identify a couple of ways similar incidents might be avoided.”

Pastor Skip Lindeman: “There is no way to guarantee that there will be no more premature deaths due to alcohol poisoning, but parent and child can strive to love and respect each other.”

Rev. Amy Pringle: “Look at every single drink that comes your way and ask: What am I choosing here? Is this particular drink worth whatever I’m risking? (Trouble with your parents, puking your guts out, getting in a car accident, losing the favor of the guy/girl who sees you drunk and stupid; and yeah, alcohol poisoning …)

“Is the next drink worth it?


“Is that sorta-nasty-tasting cup of something sorta-nasty-tasting worth it?”

Levent Akbarut: We are very fortunate to live in cities where we have every opportunity to prevent this kind of tragedy from occurring again to our children. In Islam, we are taught to express love and friendship at all times, but not at the expense of protecting crime or social danger. It takes courage to disrupt social order when the status quo is unacceptable.

Rev. Bryan Griem: “While most everyone that drinks with moderation has at one time or other overdone it, a lot of kids know nothing of this because nobody is telling them anything except ‘don’t.'”

Rabbi Simcha Backman: Although, statistically, our local neighborhoods rank relatively low in regard to underage drug and alcohol use, the fact is that any amount of adolescent substance abuse is dangerous. Every single child is precious, and it is incumbent upon society to do everything possible to protect its young people from harm.”

Fred L. Carpenter: “Too often parents are in denial when their children are participating in drinking parties, drugs or other like events. Parents have to be smart and understand what their children are doing.”

Rev. Richard Albarano: If we receive the love, nurture, security and guidance we need, we will grow — as the scriptures say about the boy Jesus — in age and wisdom and grace. That is not to say that we will not have temptations and have to overcome obstacles, but we will have the character development to overcome these.


Written by Michael J. Arvizu

December 23, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Religion

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