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Student Vandal Walks a Lonely Road

Was a students' graffiti of Green Day lyrics a cry for help? Photo by Lori '14.
Was a student’s graffiti of Green Day lyrics a cry for help? Photo by Lori ’14.

On Oct. 17, 2013, a woman on Marlborough’s cleaning crew approached School Counselor Emily Vaughn with concerns that a student had written lyrics on one of Marlborough’s bathroom stalls.  The lyrics were from Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”  According to Vaughn, the Marlborough staff member who brought this case of vandalism to Vaughn was worried, as a mother herself, about the student’s well-being and possible loneliness.

Marlborough faces the challenge of dealing with despondent students typically once or twice a year.  However, Vaughn said that she had never seen someone express her feelings in the form of vandalism. As a result, Vaughn responded to the somber lyrics with a letter addressing the anonymous student in which she offered help, guidance, and someone to turn to.

Vaughn said that because of the student’s obvious forlornness, she felt that her job was to provide the student with help and an option to escape whatever negative feelings the student might be experiencing. Vaughn’s primary motive for responding to the sad lyrics was to let the student know that she was available to talk.

“I realized the student wouldn’t be running up to me after possibly seeing the note, but it was worth the shot,” Vaughn said.

Although Vaughn never got a response back from the student, she was satisfied in the fact that her note could have potentially helped the lonesome student deal with some of her issues.  The note was gone within 24 hours, and the mystery remains as to whether the student took the letter, or if the note was cleaned off that day.