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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have a teacher who supervises the playground. A group of other students and I usually prefer to sit and talk during recess.

We were talking about the newspaper, and somewhere in the conversation, your name came up. This teacher overheard us, and said that our conversation was inappropriate. She said "Dear Abby" deals with adult issues, and that we're not allowed to talk about those things.

Abby, do you consider yourself as dealing with only adult problems, or problems concerning people of all ages? She also won't let us talk in private. What should we do about her? (Remember, she IS a teacher.) -- ANNOYED IN L.A.

DEAR ANNOYED: Under no circumstances should you be disrespectful to this teacher. She probably means well, but she is mistaken. Although my columns usually deal with adult issues, they are meant for children as well as adults, and are written in language that people of all ages can understand. In fact, I'm told that my column has been used in classrooms to encourage discussions on topics such as drinking and smoking, and to spark interest in class activities such as writing to people in the military at holiday times.

You and your friends should go to your principal as a group and ask what the school's policy is about discussing items you've read in the newspaper. Clip this column and take it with you.

DEAR ABBY: Just before Easter, you printed a warning about giving baby animals to children as Easter gifts. Perhaps this will reinforce that message.

Last June, we were driving through a park when we found an abandoned young white rabbit. We stopped and picked her up. Needless to say, we kept her. We named her June.

Two months later, my husband brought home a small brown rabbit. The occupants of a house down the street had left her behind when they moved out. The cleaning crew found her there -- with no food or water -- and took her around the neighborhood trying to find a home for her. When they came to the door of my husband's business and asked if he would take her, he agree. We named this rabbit August.

Abby, these two helpless creatures were fortunate to have been rescued. I wonder how many other animals were "ditched" after the holiday was over. Thank you for reminding your readers that these animals are living creatures and need care. If anyone is unsure that an animal will receive the care it needs, I hope they will buy a stuffed toy animal (as you suggested) instead. -- KATHLEEN C. LINNENBRINK, WASHINGTON, MO.

DEAR KATHLEEN: I hope so, too. People who abandon pets sometimes do it in the mistaken belief that the animals will quickly adapt to being on their own. In far too many cases, that's not true, and the animal dies of starvation, disease or is struck by an automobile. Your long-eared furry friends were fortunate to have found their way to such caring people as you and your husband. Bless you.

DEAR ABBY: When you marry, should you address your new in-laws as "Mom and Dad" or "Mr. and Mrs." or by their first names? -- WONDERING IN LAKELAND, FLA.

DEAR WONDERING: I wish all of the questions put to me were as easy to answer as this one: ASK the person how he or she prefers to be addressed.

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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