Dear Amy:

My circle of girlfriends has grown pretty close through the years. I have hired some of my friends' teenage daughters to baby-sit.

One of my friends keeps asking me why I've never hired her son to baby-sit. The reason is that I believe he once said something demeaning and sexually suggestive to me at a gathering. Because he said it as I turned my back, I can't be 100 percent sure that he was the speaker. There were other teenagers nearby, but the whole thing felt very creepy.

In the end I let the remark go, but to be on the safe side, he is crossed off my list of babysitters pretty much for eternity.

The problem is his mother. She keeps bringing up the possibility of me hiring her son to sit. I don't want to tell her the truth, especially because there is the slightest ray of doubt as to who the speaker was. Can I put the babysitting issue to rest without jeopardizing our friendship?

In a Tough Spot

I don't think you should hire anyone whose mom has to snag the gig for him. Tell his mother that you have lots of sitters but if he is interested in getting on your list, he can call.

If he calls, you can explain to him what your reservations are. If he is the person who made the remark about you, he might as well know that there are consequences. If he didn't make the remark to you, he can explain that and perhaps apologize that he was present when the remark was made and unfortunately did nothing to stop it.

If you have a stable of other teens that sit for you, then you should stick with them. If you're not interested in hiring this boy for any reason, then you shouldn't.

Dear Amy:

I am 14 years old and go to the German School (here in the United States). I am one of the few Austrians at the school; the rest are German and a few Swiss.

Lately I've been having problems with my history and geography teacher. She compares everything she teaches us to Germany!

I respect the fact that most of the people at my school are German, but shouldn't she know that not everyone is? She teaches everything from a German point of view!

I seem to be the only one who has noticed this and who has a problem with it. Sometimes I get so frustrated; I want to change schools!

Proud in Maryland

Let's review. The name of your school is the German School. It's a given, then, that your school will likely offer an education from a German perspective.

That having been said, teachers tell me that they appreciate it when students point out to them areas where they might enhance or improve their lessons. If you offer your teacher an Austrian perspective, she might appreciate it.

If your school doesn't offer the diverse education that you crave (and it sounds as if it doesn't), you should speak with your parents in hopes that you can persuade them to send you to another school.

(c)2005 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.