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It was after school one day when I realized the usual frenzied tone had changed. The girls in my classroom looked worried.

As a journalism teacher, my room doubles as a newsroom, work space, photo studio and home away from home. It is the place where the kids brainstorm, write essays and articles, and -- every once in a while -- solve a few life crises. This was one of those days.

Placing my counselor hat on, I asked what was wrong. One girl’s eyes were wide and her face was folded into the saddest frown I'd ever seen. Another seemed just as dejected.