Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

“I'm deaf, not stupid!”

Hey Terra,

Hi! I am 9 years old almost 10. When I was real little I went deaf in one ear. Since then my speech is not that clear and I work very hard to correct it. The other boys in my class don't seem to give me a chance. I feel sad and left out. I also feel very angry and just want friends. It seems that everywhere I go people are making fun of me, I'm deaf not stupid. I get straight A's and love sports and it sucks that this seems to be a problem that never goes away.


I try to fit in but it is hard to join in when no one wants you around.


Dear Rejected,

I admire you very much for all the hard work you have put into your speech. It shows that you have what it takes to do your best to achieve a goal and that kind of determination will get you far in life.

People who make fun of others are rude and insensitive, but you already knew that. I wish there were a magic wand I could wave that would shine a light inside the brains of these ignorant boys so that they could see that their hurtful behavior says so much more about them (and their lack of humanity) than it does about you.

Unfortunately, there is no such wand. No one can control the behavior, thoughts, or feelings of other people. But in a situation like this, you CAN get a caring adult to be your ally. In addition to teaching math, English, etc., the role of a teacher and a school administrator is to educate students about the importance of treating others with respect. You deserve to go to school in a safe environment. You should not have to put up with ridicule and harassment. Tell your parents what's going on. If you have already told them, tell them again. Show them this letter. Convince them that you need their help. It is their job to keep you safe. They need to set up a meeting with your teacher, the principal, and possibly the guilty boys and their parents.

This has got to stop. No one can compel these boys to be friends with you, but the school can show zero tolerance for their rudeness. It is totally unacceptable. And the sooner you and your parents let the school know that you will no longer put up with it, the sooner it will stop.

Show this email to your parents if they need extra convincing.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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