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    If you have, or have ever been, a teenager, you know that peers are the most important people in their world. That’s who they turn to for advice, for help, for answers to life’s questions. After all, parents are way too out-of-touch to even begin to understand anything!

    One in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime, according to research from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The CDC is calling prescription drug use an epidemic, as more Americans now die from overdoses than in car crashes! And it’s a good bet that not many of the teenagers with drug problems are talking to their parents.

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    It was just last year that Miley Cyrus started a worldwide media frenzy with her twerking debut at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. And on this year's show, she once again made headlines, but for a completely different reason. When Jimmy Fallon announced that Miley's "Wrecking Ball" had won Video of the Year, she passed on making an acceptance speech. Instead, Miley sent Jesse, a former homeless teen, to deliver an emotional speech about the rising issue of youth homelessness.

    Studies have shown that there are over 1.6 million homeless youths in the country today. They're children who have left home, were removed from homes, or who have been kicked out by guardians. And Jesse's story is one of many. Take a look at his powerful statements:

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    A 17-year-old senior from Chesterville, Virginia named Clare Ettinger is fighting back after being asked to leave a prom organized for homeschooled students. The offense: Male adult chaperones were afraid her "dancing was too provocative" and she was "going to cause the young men at the prom to think impure thoughts." Even though the young woman protested that she was wearing a dress that adhered to the "fingertip length" dress code, she and five friends she'd carpooled with were forced to leave the dance.

    In the wake of the incident, Clare blogged about her experience, writing, "The whole situation made me feel violated, walked over and ostracized." So wrong -- and such a heinous example of how parents are often reinforcing twisted values and standards that put the onus of preventing harassment and rape on young women instead of where it truly belongs.

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    A 16-year-old boy took the idea of "running away" to the absolute extreme when he jumped a fence at a San Jose, California airport and stowed away on a five-hour flight to Hawaii. Authorities say the teen is lucky to be alive because he actually hid in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines aircraft -- where he passed out, possibly because of the lack of oxygen and sub-zero temperatures.

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    The teen years are a time when you're expected to make dumb mistakes. Back in the day, we were able to do and say stupid things and -- if we were lucky -- learn from them and move on to become better people. Yeah, not so much anymore thanks to Twitter and Facebook.

    "Sarah" isn't the first teenager -- and she won't be the last -- to learn the hard way that one thoughtless tweet could possibly ruin her life, despite the fact that she's only 14 years old. The young girl, whose social media account has since been deleted, reportedly made the grave error of sending American Airlines a ridiculously reckless tweet. She pretended she was a terrorist who was planning a major attack. Uh, 14 or not, you could say the airline took her message very seriously.

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    Just because you made a baby does NOT mean you are in a position to get married to the mother or father of your baby -- especially if you are 15 years old. That's the message some Florida lawmakers are putting out there by moving to ban marriage for teens 15 or younger.

    According to state records, there were a whopping 110 marriages involving kids 16 and younger in Florida last year -- which just seems bonkers, regardless of whether these couples had children or not. If the law passes, Florida would be one of 10 states -- including Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin -- that already oppose marriage for children 16 and younger. But that's not going far enough.

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    There's no denying that kids face an incredible amount of pressure these days. The competition to get into college is stiffer than ever before and kids learn that at an early age. So getting good grades is of the utmost importance -- shockingly, even to grade schoolers. One 9-year-old's quest for the perfect GPA has sent him over the edge.

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    It's a sad truth that eating disorders are a part of life for some teenage girls (and some boys). Even those who are unafflicted by the illnesses aren't numb to the pressures put on girls to be perfect in every possible way. During this stage of development, it's more important than ever for girls to know just how beautiful they are. Unfortunately, that's not a message many of them are capable of hearing.

    Two young filmmakers at a private school in Colorado decided to tackle this sensitive and personal issue for a class project. They called their film "You Are Beautiful." It would go on to become a widely viewed PSA. They had no idea that their mostly-silent, powerful little film would garner such notice nor start a series of important conversations. With the help of their film teacher, the two novices made something really special. 

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    I don't know about you, but I wouldn't give a flying fig if one of my kids turned out to be gay -- in fact, I can't for the life of me begin to understand why any parent would be bothered by the idea. But, as we are all unfortunately aware, lots of moms and dads are quite bothered by the concept, to the point where kids are completely traumatized by the mere thought of coming out to their parents. (And who can blame them, when some adults are horrible and narrow-minded enough to do things like have their kids kidnapped in the middle of the night and shipped off to "camps" where they can "learn" to be straight?!)

    Anyway, the good news is, not all parents are intolerant, so not all kids are terrified. But even non-terrified gay children get a little nervous about breaking the news to their families. Like Ryan, the teen in this video.

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    There are a lot of things a gymnastics coach should be doing. Helping students perfect a routine on the uneven bars, working on the the front aerial, perhaps even the triple full. Giving tattoos and piercings isn't on the job requirement form; in fact, it's on the never, ever do under any circumstances unless you want to feel the full wrath of the anger of parents list. A gymnastics coach at Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, has made that list.

    Terry Robert Hardy, 38, allegedly took a break from teaching kids pikes and side aerials to tattoo and pierce one of his 16-year-old students. This is a complete breech of trust on so many levels.

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