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    It is the end of my junior year and I am in a complicated situation. I go to private school, my parents pay my tuition, and have unrealistic expectation of the kind of person I should grow into. Although I have straight A’s, and seem like I have the perfect life, anytime that I am home is miserable. When it is just my mom things are okay, but when my dad is not at work my mom is usually drunk and he ends up yelling at me about any little thing I do wrong. Drop a plate, I’m worthless. Act to happy, and they start screaming about how obnoxious I am and even go so far as to accuse me of “being on something.” This year has been the worst of it and now going into summer I am feeling hopeless. Everyday I get closer to leaving school, I just want to leave home instead. Being as smart as I am, I know that it shouldn’t be worth it, but what is the point of living life so unhappily? Though save one occasion the fights have never turned physical, they scare me and hurt me in deeper ways. So my question is this: If I were to leave, for the summer, run off and spend time with friends a few states away, what would happen when I came home? Would I have a criminal record? Would the school have the right to no let me back? I know it would tear apart my family even more, but I feel like, who cares, we are going to be splitting when I go to college anyways. Would colleges find out?

  • #2
    Re: leave

    Thanks for taking the time to share a little bit about what’s been going on with us. We’re so sorry to hear how unhappy you are at home. It makes sense that you don’t enjoy being there if you get screamed at and are constantly fighting with your parents.

    You mentioned that you want to leave for the summer and then return before school starts. Do you have a safe place to stay during this time? Would you have a way to get food and other basic essentials?

    It sounds like you feel like it may not be worth it to leave home, but are also trying to get more information about what might happen. That’s a very mature approach and one you should be commended for. We’re not lawyers, so we can’t give you specific legal information. However, we do know the general procedures and consequences for running away. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that this also depends on the individual police department and state laws.

    When a youth under 18 leaves home without permission, their parents/guardians can call the police and file the youth as a runaway. This report then goes into a national database, called the NCIC. This means that no matter where the youth goes, the local authorities can see that there is a runaway report on the youth. In most scenarios, the police don’t actively search for the runaway.

    There aren’t generally consequences for running away, other than returning the youth back home. Some states do have habitual runaway laws, where the youth does it so many times there are consequences. There are also other areas that have petitions parent’s can file with the local court if their youth runs away; if this happens, there could be legal consequences.

    However, most states do have a law that prohibits “harboring a runaway”. This is when someone lets a runaway stay at their house and doesn’t either call the police or the youth’s parents. Along with that there is “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” which could encompass when someone assists a runaway (for instance, if someone transports or provides funds for transportation for a youth to runaway from home).

    While there aren’t generally consequences for running, if a runaway youth is caught out of state many times they are placed in juvenile detention until the youth’s parents can arrange transportation back home. If the youth is caught close enough to home, either the police will drive the youth home or take the youth to the police station until the parents can come get the youth.

    Because running away is not considered “illegal” in most states, this isn’t usually something that is on a permanent record. It’s considered a status offense, which just means youth are not supposed to do it because they’re minors. The only way something could get on a record is if the youth did something illegal while on the run. Most often any criminal record a youth has is expunged when the youth turns 18.

    Of course, all of the above is not accounting for whatever consequences the youth’s parents may have. As far as whether your school could refuse to let you back in, we don’t know. We would imagine that being a private school, they could likely have a say of who can and can’t attend their school. But again, we aren’t sure. Colleges most likely wouldn’t be able to find out because it wouldn’t go on a permanent record; but again, we don’t know for sure.

    Knowing all this, do you still feel like leaving is the best option? If you want to talk more in depth about any of this, you’re welcome to call us anytime. We’re completely anonymous and confidential. Also, if you do leave, we have a few services that may be able to assist you. We have a message service in which youth can leave positive, constructive messages for their parents. We then deliver the message to the youth’s parents and offer to take one back. The purpose of this service is to start communication between a youth and their parents; we know that sometimes it’s intimidating to make that initial contact after being gone. Along with that, we also can do conference calls. This would be where the youth call us, talks a little to one of our crisis liners, and then we call their parents and conduct a three-way mediated call. Lastly, for youth that runaway, are ready to go home and don’t have a way, we have a program that can sometimes assist youth in getting a free greyhound bus ticket home.

    We’d be happy to help you with any of the above services. If you just need help talking through your plan, we’re here for that as well. Whatever you decide to do, we wish you the best of luck.
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: leave

      As with any answer, this gave me a lot more questions, and calling is out of the question knowing my home.
      Yes I have food and a place where I could crash if it got bad, but the girl I would be staying with is really close and I couldn’t live with myself if I got her family in trouble. Lets just say I have my ways of them not finding out that I have runaway. Would they still get in trouble? I mean, the place in MD where I am going is not to cold in the summer and I am good for money for food, but still.
      Second big question: Can you get a Peter Pan bus ticket without showing id? And paying cash without a debit card? Just wanted to know because I am smart enough to figure out that the first thing my parents are going to do when they find out is to call the bus station, then get my debit card records.
      Also, how else could you be discovered for being a runaway if you are out of state? Aside from being arrested which is not in my plan, under what other circumstances could you be discovered?
      Yeah, I know, everyone would say that this is not the best option, but the way things are going at home is completely untenable and I feel like I need to just get out for the summer, find my own life, in order to just survive the last year I have under their roof. I know it would probably cause trust issues and all that if I came back, but at the same time, relationships in my family are so strung out if not non existent at the moment that I really don’t think it would be any worse, and if it was? I’d just leave again.
      Also, I'd be near Ocean City. any runaway shelters there in case something went wrong?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: leave

        Thank you for taking the time to think about some of the questions we asked in our first post. At this point it sounds like you are concerned with getting your friend’s parents in trouble, paying for bus fare, being discovered, what will happen if you have to go back home, and if there are any shelters in Ocean City.

        We cannot predict exactly what kind of trouble your friend’s parents may get into for having you stay with them. Charges for harboring a runaway can vary from state to state and may also depend on what your parents pursue. If you would like to contact your local police department or legal aid services, they may be able to give you more specifics. You also mentioned about purchasing a bus ticket. We cannot speak for Peter Pan Bus Lines, but oftentimes bus lines will say they will not issue tickets to minors, but that is not to say it doesn’t happen. Have you considered calling them directly to hear their answer?

        You asked how you could be discovered if you runaway out of state. As we stated in our first post, runaway reports (should your parents chose to file one) go into a national database called the NCIC. While many police departments do not actively search for runaway youth, sometimes youth are picked up for something as small as breaking curfew or not being able to produce a valid ID. If this happened, it wouldn’t matter which state you were in because if you are listed in the NCIC, then you would show up as a runaway regardless of the state.

        As far as shelters go, there do not appear to be runaway youth shelter in Ocean City. However, there is an Ocean City Youth Health Center that provides Runaway & Homeless Youth Services. More information can be found on their website, http://www.worcesterhealth.org/ocyhc.php or you could call (410)-289-4044. Something that you might want to keep in mind about shelters though is that so they don’t get in trouble for harboring a minor, they too would have to contact parents/ guardians to get consent/ notification at some point usually from immediately to 3 days.

        It seems like you have been able to take the time to think about some questions that may arise from leaving home. Again, it sounds like you are making sure your plan is well-though out and that you have necessary things to survive if you do decide to leave. Again, we are not here to tell you what to do and although it sounds like you are concerned to call us from your house, we can be reached anytime through our hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY. Since we are toll free, you could even call from a payphone if that makes you feel more comfortable. We look forward to hearing from you whenever you are ready. In the meantime, good luck!

        -NRS
        Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

        National Runaway Safeline
        [email protected] (Crisis Email)
        1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

        Tell us what you think about your experience!
        https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: leave

          ok, this is ridiculous. i'm leaving. graduation is sunday and after that I am gone. i'm sick of life being nothing more then screaming fights and the economic contract of my parents paying tuition and me doing their ********ing chores.
          thanks so much more answering my question, at least now i know that i will have somwhere safe to go to in maryland if my plans don't go as planned, even if this place does have to eventually turn me back to my parents.
          i plan to come back before the summer is over i would never want any of this to screw with my academic future, i know that i want a good life for myself, but to sit home alone, not speaking to anyone, going to work while my parents take my pay checks away, doing everything they want while fearing any slip will make things worse, that's just a wast of the life. see thats just the thing, as far as i can tell, i don't do anything wrong, and when i ask them why they treat me like ive ruined their lives, they tell me that "i should know." knowing that i never screw up, i fear what would happen if i did.
          so i had just a few more questions to make sure as much as i can that i will be safe and that this will work: i dont want my parents to think i was kidnapped or soemthing like that, can i leave a message for them through you without them knowing where i will be but also with the understanding that i wont be back till the summer is over?
          is it illegal to sleep on a beach, just like kind of camp out there? Becuase that is kind of the plan till i am able to get over to my friends house without her mom suspecting anything.
          i am going to end up in NYC for like 9 hours between the two buses, where might it be safer to spend the time in the city? is there any way i can get a room at a hostel or something if i am under 18?
          also, anyway i could get a job over the summer if i am so young? do you need to have your parents permission in maryland to get a job at that age? that would certainly help me out in the money department.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: leave

            Thanks for updating us. It sounds like you’re ready to leave and are making plans to do so.

            We’ll do our best to answer your questions. First, as far as leaving a message goes. Because we’re confidential, the only things your parents would know is what you left in the message. With that said, the purpose of the message service is to start communication again, not just so you can stay hidden. If you can think of a positive, constructive way to communicate with them via our message service, you’re welcome to call and do so. You can also discuss with our crisis liner what might be an appropriate way to let your parents know your plans. Sometimes things such as what you stated (“I’ll be back at the end of summer”) are better done via a conference call than the message service.

            As far as specifics concerneing laws in Maryland, we don’t know. Some states it is illegal to sleep on the beach (it may also be a little cold at times?), but other states allow it. When it comes to getting a job, in some areas you have to get a work permit if you’re under a certain age and these usually require a parental signature. Most jobs do have applications that you have to fill out and many times they ask for your social security number. It honestly would probably depend on the type of job you were looking for.

            When it comes to stopping in NYC, many times people will stay in the bus station during the layovers. If you’re stopping at the NY Port Authority, they are a 24 hour station according to Greyhound’s website. There’s also an organization in NYC, called Covenant House that has a drop-in center and emergency shelter for youth. They have a toll-free number, 1-800-999-9999, which is 24/7. You can also check out their website at: http://covenanthouse.org/ab_loc_newyork.html. It looks like the NYC location is less than a mile from the Greyhound station. When it comes to hostels, again we aren’t sure if minors are able to stay at them or not.

            We hope you’re able to figure things out. Best of luck.
            Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

            National Runaway Safeline
            [email protected] (Crisis Email)
            1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

            Tell us what you think about your experience!
            https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YourOpinionMattersToUs

            Comment

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