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Taylor Goetzke (16) took his own life after a night of drinking
Suicide - Undetermined
Published: Nov 24, 2008 @ 6:35 PM
Taylor Goetzke (16)
Jul 07, 2008
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In the early morning of July 7, my 16-year-old son Taylor took his own life, for reasons I will never know or understand.
I know he was being teased by his friends, which is no big deal. It happens with all kids.
He was also in an altercation with one of his friends. But friends often fight one night and are back to being friends again by the next morning.
I didn't know then that the parents at the friend's house where Taylor had been would be accused of not only knowing that teens there were drinking alcohol but of allowing it - and not only on that night but on several other occasions. They have been charged and a court date is pending.
Taylor didn't make such an unfortunate, fateful decision that night because he was teased, was in an altercation with his friends and was asked to leave the party. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.11 - there was nothing else in his system, according to the state's medical examiner - and he made an impulsive decision whose severity he was not able to understand.
Taylor was a happy and well-adjusted child and was looking forward to his junior year at Broadneck High School. He had many friends - probably more than he could have imagined.
I am sharing this with the hope that we, as parents, will become more proactive in our children's lives. We shouldn't be afraid to question our children as to whom they are hanging out with and what they are doing.
That night, Taylor told me he was spending the night at his friend's house. I told him that was fine - but no drinking. He said OK, and that was the last time I talked to my son. I assumed that, since it was a Sunday night, the parents were home and Taylor would be fine playing video games or just hanging out.
As parents, we need to educate our children on the dangers of the use of alcohol. Just last fall an accomplished musician from Broadneck High, Galen Harig-Blaine, died from accidental alcohol poisoning at age 17.
Last spring another Broadneck student was pulled from the water unconscious and had to be resuscitated and two others were rushed to the hospital with alcohol poisoning after drinking vodka given to them by an adult who was helping coach the lacrosse team.
Our children have to know and understand that there are sometimes serious and possibly fatal consequences involved with the use of alcohol.
Parents: We need to be more vigilant and not be afraid to check on our children. We should not always believe that everything is all right and that they are safe. We need to act more like parents and less like their best friends.
Young adults: Alcohol will only magnify your problems, not solve them. Homecoming and other school activities create opportunities to drink, and I know some of you will be drinking.
You have to look out for each other, listen to what your friends and classmates say, take them seriously and not assume that talk of drinking is a joke. And anyone who has been drinking should never be allowed to drive. This can create a dangerous and possibly fatal situation.
Also, if you think someone has been drinking, never leave him or her alone.
If, for any reason, you find yourself feeling alone or helpless, talk to a friend, teacher or parent - anyone.
I never want to attend a funeral for a young person again. Look out for each other. These should be the best and happiest times of your life. Don't ruin them with poor choices. Nothing is worth taking your life.
I thank Broadneck High's teachers and staff and all the people who have expressed concern for our family. They have made this terrible time a little more bearable with their generosity, compassion and kind words.
Most of all, I thank Taylor's friends and classmates, and all the students who have shown a maturity and compassion well beyond their years. I know some are still hurting. Together we will get through this, and I pray that we never experience anything like this again.
Don't ever be afraid to lean on each other or talk to someone if you have to. And always remember: Taylor is looking out for us all now.
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