Guest Post by Katie McCabe
A couple of weeks ago Takeimi Rao was looking forward to starting high school, or at least that's what I'd expect from a straight A student. But last week, during a slumber party all her dreams of what she was going to do with her life came to an end. She had three friends spending the night, and they decided to sneak some vodka and spike their sodas with it. I understand. I really do. They probably giggled as they poured the vodka into their drinks, because of the thrill of sneaking it. They were being daring, but "safe" because they were at Takeimi's house. What could go wrong?
Three of the girls got sick, and Takeimi died. I'm sure she didn't want to. She probably didn't even know it could happen. She was only fourteen-years-old. The same age as me.
I'm not gonna lie...I'm no angel. I made the same mistake Takeimi did -- not exactly the same, but close enough. From what I've read, Takeimi didn't have a drinking problem, she was considered a "good girl". In fact, she reminds me of my friend Jewelz in a way. She was outgoing, social, and loved music and theater, just like Jewelz.
The school and police keep saying that hopefully Takeimi's death will cause parents to talk with their kids about how dangerous alcohol is. Especially for kids my age and younger. Daddy used to talk to me about drinking and why I shouldn't do it. But I did anyway. Because even though I listened to his words, I didn't really hear them. Not in a way that matters anyway. I thought he was just trying to scare me by exaggerating how dangerous it is.
Even after Tim and I burned down a shed, it didn't click that if we hadn't been drinking or smoking it wouldn't have happened. It was just an accident. Maybe parents need to find examples like Takeimi and Samuel, kids just like us, and talk about what happened and why they're afraid it might happen to us. I know their stories have hit home with me, and maybe I'll remember the next time I'm tempted to take a drink.
It might not end so well.
And I'll bet the kids who went to school with Takeimi won't forget what happened to her. Would you?