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The Rodney Young Story

Read Rodney's story and then rank the reasons why Rodney will likely drop out of school.

Rodney Young is a 17 year old African American man who has just moved to Washington state from Los Angeles. Rodney didn't want to move to Washington, but he did due to family problems.

Rodney's father had recently died of liver poisoning. Rodney and his mother took it really hard. Rodney's mother began drinking heavily, became quite depressed and as a result lost her job. Rodney began hanging around the wrong crowd and began shoplifting and breaking into cars. He had had three arrests and with his 18th birthday just three weeks away, Rodney's mother made arrangements for him to go live with her sister in a small town in Washington. She could see that the Rodney was headed for trouble in Los Angeles.

Life in the small Washington town seemed slow and boring compared to life in Los Angeles. Rodney and his relatives were one of the very few African American families in the community. Rodney missed his old friends and spent a lot of time talking to them on the phone.

School was boring to Rodney. He didn't see the use of studying history and literature. What did those subjects have to do with real life? People at his school were friendly toward Rodney but kept their distance. One day the counselor pulled Rodney into her office to talk to him about his future. Rodney said he wanted to be a mechanic, but that school wasn't getting him anywhere. The counselor urged him to stick it out. Only seven more months to go.

Lately Rodney has been missing a lot of school. He met an older guy and they hit it off. Rodney has been spending a lot of time at his house goofing off. Rodney wants to go back to L.A. even though he realizes that there is nothing there for him except trouble. He thinks Seattle might work out, but doesn't know anyone there. The counselor called his house recently. She seemed nice. Rodney can't decide whether or not to call her back.

Rank the following six reasons as to why Rodney may drop out of school in order of importance (one being the most important).

Your rank Your rank Group rank
Rodney's family background    
Being new in school    
Cultural differences    
What's studied in school    
Rodney's character    
Missing his old friends    
Other: _________________    

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