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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Feb. 4 was a sad day. One less child is going to come back to school. He will never eat pizza, play games or laugh again. He passed away last night.

William Brown died on Feb. 3 in an icy pond in Chesapeake, Va. He and some other boys were playing on an iced-over pond when the ice broke. Two of the boys got out, and 911 people pulled one boy out of the pond. Sadly, William could not be revived. He died after 45 minutes in the freezing water. He wasn't even a teen-ager yet.

I had seen William in the halls at school, and he was probably in my class at one point or another. When I heard he had died, I started to cry. How could this happen to someone so young?

I want to make sure no more children die the way William did. Please, Abby, warn your readers about the danger of ice. Even if the ice looks thick, it often isn't. It may break, and you could drown. William learned the hard way.

No laughter was heard in school today. The flag will be raised only halfway. One less person will come back to school -- because of thin ice. -- KRISTEN MC CARTHY, AGE 12, CHESAPEAKE, VA.

DEAR KRISTEN: My deepest sympathy goes out to William Brown's family. Your heartfelt warning deserves space in my column. Thank you for writing.

DEAR ABBY: When I saw the letter from "Tempted," the girls' high school coach in California, I had to write. I would like to urge him to remain calm and cool.

He should take "that look" some of his students are giving him as a compliment -- and handle it gracefully. Girls that age quickly develop crushes, and sooner or later they get over them. I would not bench anybody or report her to the principal. To do so would be an overreaction and too harsh. I would let them flirt all they want (after a while they'll become bored) and continue to go about the business of coaching.

While Title IX has given young women the opportunity to be strong and confident and learn teamwork, it seems to have given some of them license to be as aggressive, profane, vulgar and obscene as men can be -- which is unfortunate.

I have also noticed that some girls without fathers, be it through desertion, divorce or death, especially crave older male attention, and they don't care where they get it. Girls learn to relate to and love men through their fathers. Dad is "safe" and should be a role model. Teachers and coaches are handy substitutes.

So, "Tempted," be patient, kind and keep it friendly -- and keep your wits about you. -- 60-YEAR-OLD RETIRED COACH IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR COACH: You have made some valid points, and I agree with your conclusion. However, the 26-year-old coach signed his letter "Tempted." If he gives in to that temptation, he could not only ruin his budding career, but the life of the student with whom he became involved as well. If there's a question, it's better to err on the side of caution.


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