The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "When Things Get Hectic"
When Things Get Hectic
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Lesson for “When Things Get Hectic”

Juan Azize leaves no slang term unturned as he writes about how a bump on the street can lead to a bullet in the brain. Juan’s story can be an effective discussion starter because it portrays an ambivalence and naivete about conflict escalation that reveals why teens have trouble stopping beefs before they get out of hand.

On one hand he recognizes how silly it was to rumble over who talked to a girl and cautions his readers that “We have to grow up and realize there are other ways to solve a problem.” On the other he vows to keep fighting on behalf of his boys without asking what caused the trouble. He won’t start a fight about a “stupid remark” but he’s willing to get killed if one of his boys wants to fight someone over a stupid remark. Peer pressure at its worst.

Juan also tries to set limits to the degree of violence he will get involved in: no guns. But Juan never asks to what degree he could control someone else’s responses to a potentially violent situation.

This critique is not meant to minimize Juan’s dilemma. What if he had refused to accompany his crew to the fight scene or had told his friend not to go, to forget it, or to talk it out? Once at the scene, was Juan justified in fighting because the other side wasn’t going to fight fair? What if his friend had gone alone to the playground and encountered his antagonist’s gang?
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