Q A girl at school is annoying and really scares me. She has stolen from her mother, and I think she takes Ecstasy. She's asked me to "be late to class with her" and has referred to herself as my girlfriend. I have no interest in her, but she has latched on to me. I really don't need this sort of trouble. Any ideas?

A Choosing your friends carefully is important, and this girl's involvement in theft, drug use and truancy is certainly worrisome.

You might be sending this girl mixed messages in an effort to be polite and not hurt her feelings. Don't encourage her attention in any way.

Without being rude, you need to make it clear to her that you have no interest in her as a potential girlfriend and that you would like her to leave you alone. You can convey this information in person, in writing (note or e-mail) or via a trusted friend.

Since you are concerned that she has "latched on" to you, it would be best not to be left alone with her at any time.

To have TeenGrowth's board of physicians answer your health question, visit the website (www.teengrowth.com) or e-mail feedback@teengrowth.com. TeenGrowth is a noncommercial website that focuses exclusively on the educational health issues of adolescents.