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Dear Abby: I’m 8 years old and in second grade. I’m writing because I’m being bullied at school. I’m really smart, and at my school that’s a really bad thing. I try hard to be nice, but here that’s worse than being smart.

The teachers didn’t help me with the bullies, so I stopped telling them. My mom told everyone she could about the bullies, but nobody helps. It keeps getting worse over time. Every day someone picks on me, pushes me or makes fun of me. Please help me.

– Feeling Torn in Texas

Dear Feeling Torn: Because you haven’t told your teachers that the bullying hasn’t stopped, they may think that it’s no longer going on. Tell them again what you are experiencing, and be sure your mother knows. She should discuss this with your teacher. If things don’t get better, she needs to talk to the principal and, if necessary, the school board. Many schools offer programs that discourage bullying and train students who can help. As a last resort, your mother should consult a lawyer. You have a right to an education that’s free from this kind of pressure. Be sure to show this to your mother and tell her you wrote it.

To yawn, or not to yawn?

Dear Abby: My wife and I disagree about when and where it is acceptable to yawn. I believe a public yawn during dinner or conversation is not appropriate. She sees no reason why a natural human trait such as yawning should be stifled. Again, my assertion is that yawning denotes boredom or lack of interest in what people are conversing about or doing. Thoughts?

– Not a Yawner in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Dear Not a Yawner: My thoughts are similar to an observation made by English writer G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), who said, “A yawn is a silent shout.” I have never seen anyone who is intensely interested in something yawn, and to do it in the presence of others implies that the yawner is tired, bored or otherwise not fully engaged.