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by Abigail Van Buren

High School in Crowd's Behavior Is Out of Bounds

DEAR ABBY: I am a 16-year-old girl -- a sophomore in a wonderful high school. We have some of the best test scores in the state. Our teachers go the extra mile to help us. Our teams excel in almost every sport. However, there's something about my high school that is not so terrific. I'm talking about how the "popular crowd" treats others.

Everyone knows who the popular kids are. They are the ones who get drunk and smoke weed over the weekend. They think they are superior because they wear nice clothes and their parents buy them whatever they want. They pick on kids who aren't up to their level. It's disgusting.

Abby, please inform these kids that they really aren't better than anyone else. They hurt others in ways you can't imagine. How would the popular kids like going to a place where they are tormented for wearing the same pants they wore last week? How will the popular crowd act after they graduate? Employers won't hire them just because they have nice clothes!

Parents who suspect their children treat others this way should watch them closely and urge them to be nicer to their classmates. -- KNOWS THE REAL DEAL

DEAR KNOWS: You're right, they should. Unfortunately, the snobs who look down on fellow students usually don't act that way in front of their parents.

I recently read an article about a terrific middle school music teacher who opened her music room at lunch hour to first-year students who were being teased and excluded. It provided young people a safe, inviting refuge where they wouldn't be hazed. The students who lunched in her room were welcoming, democratic, well-behaved -- and appreciated the nurturing surroundings. More schools, including high schools, should consider something similar.

DEAR ABBY: I agree with "Whistler in Jenks, Okla." -- whistling IS a beautiful art form. How can anyone forget the rendition of "The Whistler and His Dog" performed by the world-famous Cowboy Band of Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas? Or the sexy whistling lesson Lauren Bacall gave to Humphrey Bogart in the classic film "To Have and Have Not"? Or the Seven Dwarfs who found joy in whistling while they worked?

And let's not forget the traditional "wolf whistle." I'll bet there are few females alive who haven't secretly been flattered to receive one of those! There is also "whistling in the dark," and "whistling a happy tune" whenever you are afraid, and so on and so on.

The gentleman from Jenks wasn't whistling "Dixie" when he lauded this beautiful art form. -- ANITA HAMILTON, SUN CITY WEST, ARIZ.

DEAR ANITA: You weren't the only reader who was thankful to be reminded about the fine art of whistling. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I love to whistle, despite my mother's warning that "a whistling woman and a crowing hen come to no good."

Has there ever been a whistling choir? Someone needs to organize one! -- A FAN OF WHISTLING

DEAR FAN OF WHISTLING: You're about to get your wish. Whistling fans -- and whistlers' mothers -- get ready. A three-day whistling festival -- "Puckerama 2001" -- is being held in the cities of Tulsa and Jenks, Okla., Oct. 18-21, 2001. For more information, check the Web site: www.thewhistler.com. Pucker up and have a great time!

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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