Sunday, April 5, 2009


Marc Fisher, Washington Post - Josh Anderson had just finished four homework assignments. He did his laundry. He watched TV with his mother -- "House," which he had Tivo'd for viewing that night. He played with the dogs. Then, at his mom's urging, he went up to bed. It was 12:30, and the next day, March 19, was a big one: Josh was scheduled for a hearing that probably would end with his expulsion from the Fairfax County school system. . .

He had been caught leaving campus, going to Taco Bell with a friend. When the boys returned to South Lakes High in Reston, an assistant principal confronted them in the parking lot, smelled marijuana and had the car searched. This was the second time in two years that Josh, a junior, had been found with pot.

"I really have been working hard on this," Josh wrote to the hearing officers. "I can't believe I'm putting my parents through this now. I can't believe how selfish and stupid I've been. . . . I'm honestly going to try my hardest to fix this."

The Andersons were told that Josh would be barred from any regular Fairfax high school and might be tossed out of the system entirely. His parents were looking into private schools or moving.

But there would be no hearing, no new school, no more visits from college football coaches asking about Josh's talents.

When Sue Anderson went into her son's room the next morning, he was dead. Without a word to his girlfriend, parents, psychologist, coach or teachers, Josh Anderson, 17, had killed himself.

He left a note, just two lines. "Why does it have to be like this?" And, to his girlfriend, "I love you."


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