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DR. DREW

Parents of Alleged Hazing Death Victim Speak; Woman Gives Voice

Aired December 15, 2011 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.

Now, hazing, has it gone too far? I say it has. A young woman is beaten and a young man dies. Isn`t that enough? His parents are here tonight, hoping to stop this ritual that is killing.

Then, the mother of all battles, working mothers versus stay-at-home mothers.

Plus, Heidi Damon, the woman who courageously confronted her attacker, joins us and answers your questions.

So let`s get started.

Tonight, an exclusive interview with the parents of the Florida A&M drum major who died after an alleged hazing incident. The criminal investigation of Robert Champion`s death has prompted authorities to launch a probe of potential fraud and misconduct at the school. Under Florida law, any death that occurs as a result of hazing is a third degree felony.

Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PINSKY (voice-over): Robert Champion was living his dream as a drum major with Florida A&M`s prestigious band, The Marching 100. But on November 19th, just after Champion had performed at a football game in Orlando, his parents got a call from his sister with the worst news any parent can ever hear.

ROBERT CHAMPION SR., ROBERT CHAMPION`S FATHER: They`re saying that Robert had problems breathing.

PINSKY: Champion`s terrifying last moments preserved on a recorded 911 call made by a band member.

911 (via telephone): OK. Is he awake?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): He - he`s not even - he wasn`t responding. We thought he was breathing, he was making noises -

911: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I don`t even know if he`s breathing now.

PINSKY: Why did he die? Police suspect hazing. A right of passage called Crossing Bus "C." The bus Robert was on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to walk from the front to the back of the bus backwards, and while the bus is full with other band members and you get beaten until you get to the back.

PINSKY: Beatings reportedly happened because a band member made a mistake in performance or simply to gain respect, so-called.

Incidents of hazing have followed The Marching 100 for years. In 2001, a student was paddled so badly had to be hospitalized for kidney failure. And nearly two weeks before Champion`s death, a freshman, Bria Hunter was hospitalized after allegedly being beaten. She suffered a broken femur, deep bone bruising, blood clots.

The Director, Julian White, says he tried for years to end the hazing but no one listened. The university placed White on administrative leave while the investigation continues. Champion`s parents say the school must be held accountable. They say justice will come and healing for them, but it may take quite a bit longer.

PAM CHAMPION, ROBERT CHAMPION`S MOTHER: Fifteen years is that I`m just going to miss his smile, his big hugs. There`s nothing in the world can prepare you for that, nothing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PINSKY: Earlier, I spoke to Robert and Pam Champion. This is Robert`s parents. I started by asking them if they had really learned why people haze and have hazed throughout history. I was thinking that if we`re going to stop this, we have to know why we do this. Take a look.

P. CHAMPION: I`ve done a lot of reading, on research that people have done about hazing and the types of things that needs to be put in place to make it work to stop the hazing. I thoroughly believe that education is the key piece and I just don`t buy into the fact that you can`t rid. I do realize that it is a culture in society. I do realize that our society progressively is getting more and more violent.

But my belief is, is that if everybody is on board, with coming up with a solution to rid, not just talk, but doing something about it, and that`s what I look forward to doing.

PINSKY: I know this is tough territory. But I`m going to ask you to take us back to how you found out what have happened to your son. I`m certain there must have been a lot of disbelief. Can you take us back to that experience?

P. CHAMPION: Absolutely.

We received a call from my daughter, who had friends in the band with the school that Robert attends, and they told her that Robert was unconscious. And she told us not to get on the phone because somebody was going to call us. And of course I became worried, so I asked her for numbers of people that she knew so that I could start calling, although I left one telephone line free, just in case someone called, but I was steady calling all the student numbers that she gave me to try to find out what was going on with my son.

And finally I did reach one of her friends who told me she was going to go and check and come back and let me know what she found. And when she came back, she told me that Dr. White wanted to call and speak to me himself, so essentially that`s what I got, the call from Dr. White letting me know what happened with - to my son.

PINSKY: Who is Dr. White?

P. CHAMPION: Dr. White is the band director at FAMU.

PINSKY: I see. And what was the ultimate cause of death? Do we know that this was -

P. CHAMPION: We don`t.

PINSKY: -- directly related to the.?

P. CHAMPION: We have no - we don`t have any information. You know about as much as we do as - as to what the cause of death is.

PINSKY: Is there somebody we need to look to to lead us through this? Is it the school administrators? Is it the kids themselves? Who do we need to get behind this?

P. CHAMPION: Everybody should be on board with this if we want to rid it. It can`t be a one all kind of person. My goal is to in the name of my son to be able to be the one to set the stage of ridding, getting rid of the hazing, and it will involve the school. It will involve the administrative. It will involve the students. It will involve the alumni. It has to be everybody to be on board with that.

PINSKY: Right.

P. CHAMPION: And that is the only way it`s going to work because if you`re not going to be part of the solution, then you`re a part of the problem. The idea is to rid the culture, to change the whole mindset of it.

PINSKY: What do we need to do in behalf of the memory of your son?

P. CHAMPION: I`ll go first then - and if it`s OK.

R. CHAMPION, SR.: Go ahead. Go ahead.

P. CHAMPION: But what I`m looking at doing now and what we are in the process of doing right now is putting together anti-haze hotline. I think this is the key thing for students to be able to come in and get on that line anonymously to report any instance of things that are happening.

We are looking at the anti-haze awareness, where we always putting it up in the face so people are aware. And part of that awareness is to educate. And we are looking at putting together educational piece, so we not only talk the talk but we actually show you real instance of what`s happening, real interviews of people who have gone through it.

These are the things that we need people to come on board to assist us with, because the educational piece is very void. I look at not only the college level, but I`m looking at the high school level and the middle school levels because we have to catch it and start it where it can possibly begin.

So we also have a Facebook page for Robert. Drum Major for Change, Robert D. Champion.

R. CHAMPION, SR.: We need to have stiffer laws, laws that will affect those who are involved with hazing. I think the school should be held accountable. I think each organization should be held accountable and the people who are in those organizations.

I think this is a grassroot problem and we got to get down to the root of the problem so that everyone will be responsible and held accountable for their actions.

PINSKY: Thank you, guys. Thank You, Robert and Pam. We, of course, wish you the very best.

Hazing hotline, I love that idea and I look forward to seeing - seeing that number and seeing where we can ring in literally if somebody observes this problem. Thank you, guys.

Now, a hero who stands up to the man who almost killed her is giving a voice to victims everywhere. Heidi Damon is here and we will talk to her next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PINSKY: Tonight, I am very excited. I get a chance to talk to someone who is a true inspiration. We told you about Heidi Damon the other day. She is the amazing young woman who stood up for victims everywhere when she faced down her attacker in court, a man that almost killed her. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEIDI DAMON, CONFRONTED ATTACKER IN COURT: I survived. You have simply victimized yourself. I will be free for the rest of my life. You will be a prisoner for the rest of yours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY: Heidi Damon joins us now. This is an important story. We got such a reaction from staff and our viewers and many others who are moved by you, Heidi, that I just thought we had to - I wanted to talk to you, frankly. I was moved by your story. And you`re someone who I`m hoping our daughters can learn from, I want to learn from.

So I`ve got a million questions for you. First of all, how are you today? How are you?

DAMON: I`m so excited that I`m on your show, I have to say. I`ve watched you for years. So when they said that you wanted me on your show, I was very honored.

PINSKY: Well, listen, this is the mutual admiration society because I`m deeply honored to have you here. This is - because you understand this is a pretty unusual situation. What I`d like to do, if you`ll permit me, is take people through what you went through so they can understand how extraordinary this is, and then I want to talk about what led to your - what shall we call it, inspiration, your strength to be able to do this, and how we can - how we can it, let other people use it, too.

DAMON: OK.

PINSKY: So take me back to what - what happened that day? How did this guy attack you, where were you, what happened?

DAMON: It was during the day. It was 2:45 in the afternoon approximately. I was preparing myself for an event that I had coming up three weeks from that date. The date of my attack was August 19, 2009. I was working in my office, and I had to go out to my car for a business card of my printer, and I was on my cell phone, and I was walking to my car on the first level of the garage.

And as I keyless entried to my car, not quite getting in to my car, I felt this huge arm choking me from behind like this. And the very first second, because when something like that happens, it happens very quickly -

PINSKY: Yes.

DAMON: -- and your mind doesn`t quite register it as obviously you know being a doctor, and the first second that I was taken by him, I thought someone was joking with me because I`m kind of a jokester and I thought maybe someone was surprising me.

And the second, I said to myself this person wants to kill me because it was so tight, his grip, it was unexplainable. So as he was holding me real tight, I grabbed his arm. And people think -

PINSKY: Heidi, I`m going to interrupt you real quick.

DAMON: Yes.

PINSKY: There are pictures of you alongside of you as you tell the story. What we`re looking at alongside of me now is pictures of you with the blood vessels in your eyes having burst from those - the pressure of the choking. So, again, I want to explain what we`re looking at there. So, go ahead. So he choked you and go ahead.

DAMON: He choked me. And I watch a lot of NCIS, CSI-type shows, so I decided I`m going to pretend like I`m out, thinking maybe he`ll stop choking me, and I`ll get free. Well, instead he choked me even harder. And later I found out that my thyroid bone actually fractured in my neck -

PINSKY: Wow.

DAMON: -- from him grabbing me so tightly. I then all I remember next is my arms going cold from lack of circulation. My right arm went up and I remember saying, "Please don`t hurt me," and that`s all I remember. The next thing I know, I was in the front seat, face down. I have bucket seats in the front seat. My face was on the passenger front seat.

I woke up to blood, biting my tongue, saying stuff. I have no idea what I was saying, seizuring, and I felt like my head was going to explode. My throat was killing me. I, you know, grabbed myself, got out of the car. I saw blood on the ground. I didn`t have underwear. I didn`t have pants. I didn`t have shoes on. So from the waist down, I was completely naked and I thought that I was raped.

Later on, obviously, they found that I was not, thank goodness, but my first reaction was to call for help. I said, "Help, help, please, I`ve been raped." And I saw him actually walk away as I`m saying all this. He didn`t look back. He didn`t even turn his head a bit.

PINSKY: Is that how they were able to get the guy, by you sort of being able to identify him?

DAMON: Yes, yes.

PINSKY: Heidi, how do you go from this extraordinary experience? I mean, you take us through it very vividly. I mean, I feel like I was there with you. And I`m getting traumatized hearing the story. How do you go from that kind of an experience?

And my understanding is, by the way, also those pictures we saw of you with the blood in the eyes and all of the trauma to your head and neck were things you took to document your progress. It`s almost as though you already took control of your recovery from the moment this happened. What - what happened? Was it.?

DAMON: I did.

PINSKY: Did you have some sort of moment of clarity as a result of being so close to death or was it a progressive experience? Take us through that.

DAMON: I think that I had so much going on other than just a normal workday. I had a huge event coming up with over 500 people in the Tampa Bay Area. I was highlighting nine children`s charities. I had a lot of people depending on me, and I think that that was part of my diversion. I didn`t even breakdown and cry until after 9-9-09, which was my event.

So I think I was able to understand that this was not my fault. That someone intruded on my personal space, and I just kind of compartmentalized and segmented everything and tried to analyze and -

PINSKY: I don`t know, that doesn`t sound right to me. Because that usually ends up getting people in the end, you know, they sort of - they`re pushing emotions away, well, it usually comes back at you.

But now here we are in the courtroom.

DAMON: Yes.

PINSKY: In the courtroom, you went in, you get to confront this guy, this Javon Cooper, who pleaded guilty for having assaulted you in the parking garage.

DAMON: Yes.

PINSKY: You come in and you say what to him, what`s your plan to talk to him?

DAMON: Well, my plan the night before I had put some bullet points together because I quite honestly did not know how I would hold up in court. I didn`t know if I`d breakdown. I didn`t know if I`d be shaking. I didn`t know, you know, I`m human. I had no idea. I was hoping that I would get through.

AND for over two-and-a-half years I had thought about what I wanted to say to him, so I decided knowing that I like to be prepared, I wrote down some bullet points just so I would be guided, so if I got off track or I kind of stumbled or he caught me off guard -

PINSKY: And is what came out of your mouth something that really surprised you?

DAMON: Some of it. My opening statement of waking up ecstatic this morning, that was not written down. The very - but I was so happy when I was looking at him, believe it or not, because I was on this side, he was on that side. And the very end part of what I had said, that last minute, "Oh, and I have one more thing. My name is Heidi Elizabeth Damon. I have a name." That was completely --

PINSKY: Well, to me - to me that was I am a person - and we have less than a minute left.

DAMON: Yes.

PINSKY: And I want to know, is there some people you would - that you would - who are responsible for your strength? I had found that most people that are really resilient get it from other people. Are there other people in your life that have given that to you and that we could urge other people to follow suit?

DAMON: I have been very blessed my entire life. I contribute it to every person I`ve come in contact with, whether be my mom and dad, my grandpa, my Aunt Diane and Uncle John, my friends, the person I helped at Sam`s Club in a wheelchair. You know, every single part of my life has made me who I am today.

So I can`t really direct it to one person. It`s really - I`ve just observed and studied my life and the people around me and try to be a sponge to the good and dissect the bad.

PINSKY: Heidi, listen, you - I hope people get from you what I get just talking to you, because you do make a difference just with your spirit and energy.

DAMON: Thank you. Thank you.

PINSKY: And I think - I think it`s something not only that you get from others, but you`re giving back.

Now, so many people were inspired by Heidi, and want to thank you, Heidi. We`re going to - we`re going to share some of their calls and stories. And Heidi is going to stay with me for the "On Call" segment and that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAMON: I will not address you by your birth name. See, you`re already ashamed. You can`t even look at me. I will not address you by your birth name. But what I feel you deserve to be called - guilty, guilty, guilty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY: We`re back with Heidi Damon. She is the woman who confronted her attacker in court. We`re seeing right there and before - that little episode was before he was thrown in prison.

And many of you want to ask Heidi various things and thank her. So, Heidi, here we go. Are you ready?

DAMON: Yes.

PINSKY: All right. This is Tee in Colorado. Go ahead, Tee.

TEE, DENVER, COLORADO: Hi, Dr. Drew. I just want to say thank you to Heidi for giving victims a voice. We very rarely get a voice or even belief for that matter. So for one person to stand up to her attacker and have that voice is great and I just wanted to say thank you for speaking out, Heidi.

DAMON: Thank you.

PINSKY: And by the way -

DAMON: Thank you for your kind words.

PINSKY: -- I want to thank your mom and dad and was it Uncle Joe and Aunt Susie, whoever is in your family there?

DAMON: Uncle John and Aunt Diane.

PINSKY: Because they`ve all contributed to who you are. I think you know that. You sort of given them a nod, but who you are is something special. Do you understand - do you understand that?

DAMON: Maybe that`s why I have the attitude I do. And I do love myself, so that`s good.

PINSKY: Yes. But there`s loving one self and there`s having an energy and a willingness to give to others and an ability to stand up in the face of adversity.

And, all right, let`s hear from Ceil in Ohio. Go ahead, Ceil.

CEIL, NORTH ROYALTON, OHIO: Hi, Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: Hi, Ceil.

CEIL: When I was trained as a first responder police officer, it was instilled in us that we should always and immediately communicate to persons who experience sexual assault that they were survivors, not victims. Heidi, I was wondering what that experience was like for you after the assault, specifically regarding first responders, and did those experiences impact your response to this experience?

PINSKY: And let me tag onto that, was this a sexual assault or not?

DAMON: It was an attempted - first degree attempted murder, attempted sexual assault. He attempted to rape me by taking my clothes off waist down.

PINSKY: And then the first responders, she wants to know did they contribute to how well you managed to deal with this?

DAMON: No. I don`t recall there really being a first responder. If anything, I just was surrounded by a lot of police officers, and I actually wished that there was someone there to kind of coach me through what I was feeling, And my co-worker, Chris Ann, actually was kind of that person for me that day.

PINSKY: But, again, it`s your ability to find that person and bring them close and use their support that I think is what I think what probably got you through this.

All right. Finally, Jessie writes, "Your lawyer said in court that you were robbed of a life that you could have had." Is that true? How do you feel about that statement he has?

DAMON: I think sure, I could have had a different life, but this life is the one that was chosen for me, and I`m - I`m choosing to take the ball and run with it. And I think everything happens for a reason, and that`s why I`m doing what I`m doing.

PINSKY: Heidi, I just want to thank you. You are an inspiration.

DAMON: Thank you.

PINSKY: I hope people - it`s almost like I`m overwhelmed. I hope you have a chance that you affect other people the way I know you can by hearing your story. So thank you so much for joining us.

Coming up next, are working moms happier than stay-at-home moms? We will debate that, after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY (voice-over): Just ahead, homecoming. Our salute to the troops continues tonight as those leaving Iraq return to the states. After almost nine years of war, President Obama declares the war in Iraq will soon belong to history.

But first, are working moms happier than stay-at-home mothers? The issue has been debated for decades, but a new study may finally have some answers. Is this another guilt trip for mothers? Should women with kids care about what others think?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY (on-camera): Welcome back. Now, tonight, should mothers stay- at-home with their young children or should they pursue careers or both or what should the timing be? It`s very confusing and very heated topic. A new study in December, "Journal of Family Psychology" finds that working moms are overall happier than stay-at-home moms.

So, the question, I guess, we want to open with, is there just one way to be a mom? Tonight, we`re going to debate it. Joining us, clinical psychologist and mom, Michelle Golland, and mother of four and working mother, Juliette Merchant, star of VH1`s "Mom Wives," and single mother of four, Ramona Rizzo, via Skype, Rachel Campos-Duffy, she is the mother of six, blogger and author of "Stay Home, Stay Happy: Ten Secrets To Loving At Home Motherhood."

Rachel, give us some hints. I want to say there`s sort of a -- Rachel, you may be thinking about this one issue. There`s a threshold after which you kind of have to be a stay-at-home mom. I mean, six, eight, 10 kids, I think you have to be a stay-at-home mom. You have to have a stay-at-home dad, too, just to handle all the manpower.

RACHEL CAMPOS-DUFFY, MOTHER OF SIX: Yes. It would have to be on Oprah`s salary to afford going out to work in the outside world, but, I`d say that, you know, I really am dubious about this study.

I mean, if you called me, it would depend on which day you called me and what I would say about how much I love at home motherhood, because like any job, I think you have to take it as a total whole experience. And every day is not going to be perfect. So, I`m a little dubious about the study.

PINSKY: But let`s say, Rachel, for the sake of argument, you generally speaking are happy staying at home mom, right?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: I am.

PINSKY: Is it, perhaps, just something -- like any job, some jobs are suitable for some people and not others. Are you just somebody for whom that stay-at-home mom job is the right choice?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: For me, it works. I`m in the business of happy childhoods. And so, for me, I feel like I have to be around to make that happen. I want to impart my values on my children. I want to spend time with them, and I think like any other thing you do, whether tennis or in your job, your craft is, the more you do it, the better you are. And the better you are, the more you can enjoy it.

PINSKY: OK.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: I think that being home allows me to --

(CROSSTALK)

MICHELLE GOLLAND, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: What I want to say is I think what is so great that, I mean, you have written a book for moms who are choosing and want to stay-at-home. That probably would be really helpful, because I think what this study showed was really looking at sort of the experience of the mother, right, of them enjoying it and how that was for them.

(CROSSTALK)

PINSKY: Juliette was more happy going to work, is that right, Juliette?

JULIETTE MERCHANT, MOTHER OF FOUR: I am -- I`m ecstatic about going to work. There`s not a day that I`m not happy, you know, going to work. I enjoy what I do.

PINSKY: Enthusiastic go to work mom.

MERCHANT: I really do.

PINSKY: Let me ask you this, one thing I`ve noticed is a certain amount of jealousy between oftentimes stay-at-home moms or amongst stay-at- home moms and go to work moms for various reasons. Do you have any, just for the sake of --

MERCHANT: Well, I have to be honest.

PINSKY: Go.

MERCHANT: I stayed home for about 18 months, and that was great bonding with my son, and I had my daughter at the same time. But now, I work for Emory University, and I went back to work when she was about three months old, and I have just enjoyed the experience. I think I`m a happier person because I`m able to socialize, but I`m also able to spend time at home.

I now have 18 month old twins. So, if you doesn`t have multiples at the same time, you just have absolutely no idea how busy you can be. And, I think the fact that I`m able to get out of the house two to three days a week to work in a productive, happy environment with people that are like minded makes me a happy person.

PINSKY: Is it accurate that you have some control over how much going and coming you have? I mean, in other words, it sounds like you`re able to control of your schedule, so you can kind of stay home when you want to. Is that accurate?

MERCHANT: Right. I work about three days a week out of the house.

PINSKY: OK. I get it. You run out of your house screaming to get away from the twins, I understand, I have triplets.

(CROSSTALK)

GOLLAND: I run out of my house screaming. I almost ran out of my house screaming today.

PINSKY: Tonight. You have -- how old is your daughter. She 14 --

GOLLAND: I have a 10-year-old and an eight-year-old.

PINSKY: Eight-year-old, OK.

GOLLAND: And I was crazy trying to get here.

PINSKY: Imagine if you didn`t have work to retreat to. Imagine you didn`t have that other thing to have a sense of yourself in the world other than mom.

GOLLAND: Well, and I think behind every happy working mother, there is a really supportive wonderful working father, usually.

PINSKY: Has to be.

GOLLAND: I mean, if it`s a dual working family.

PINSKY: Right, right.

GOLLAND: I mean, I couldn`t do what I do, unless, my husband was willing to shift the times of his schedule.

PINSKY: Hats off to the working moms that have to do it alone.

GOLLAND: Yes, absolutely.

PINSKY: Now, Ramona --

MERCHANT: I have to agree.

PINSKY: Go ahead. Yes.

MERCHANT: I have to definitely agree. I have a very, very supportive family. My husband is wonderful. And without his support, I`m also a grad student. I`m also trying to do my master`s in public health, and without his support, without family support, I would have gone crazy.

PINSKY: OK. So, we`ve established Juliette is bipolar manic, that`s how she`s able to manage all this. But, hang on a second. Hang on. I want to turn to Ramona who is mixed, who sits on both sides of the fence. Is that right, Ramona?

RAMONA RIZZO, SINGLE MOTHER OF FOUR: Oh, I`m definitely in the middle in this whole category. I was a stay-at-home mom and I definitely was, you know, a working mom at one time and at this present time. So, I`m kind of basically in the middle because I had both sides of the coin, and I know what it is to look at each side and have an opinion on both. And, it`s a hard call, you know.

PINSKY: Well, let me bring this one thing up, and that is that what I observed -- second time I`m going to bring this up to you guys, you`re avoiding the topic, because it`s polemic. And the question is, I`ve seen this tension that develops, this jealousy on both sides of working moms and stay-at-home moms. Am I wrong? Have you not seen it?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: I disagree with you, Dr. Drew. I don`t feel that.

(CROSSTALK)

PINSKY: It must be because a man in the mix, you`re just going to attack the man. That`s how it has to be, because I`ve seen this over and over again.

(CROSSTALK)

CAMPOS-DUFFY: And at home moms don`t get that, unless, they have really awesome husbands who really filling that gap. And I think that`s what all women want is validation, whatever they decide to do.

PINSKY: All humans want, right?

(CROSSTALK)

PINSKY: All right. Let`s do this. Let`s go to a call. We`re actually going to take calls and do this next segment as well. So, let`s go to our caller, Martha in Georgia. Marth, go ahead.

MARTHA, GEORGIA: I think that a lot of the working -- I don`t think that they`re happier necessarily. I think that they tell themselves that, you know, more or less, just to kind of, you know, hide the feelings, you know, the mixed feelings.

I think it`s so much better to stay at home, to watch your children, and you know, you have to do without a lot, you give a lot more than you ever thought you would, but it`s worth it to ensure your child is raised the way you want it to be.

PINSKY: Got it. All right. Martha, hold on. Now, the three of you, I know you want to ring in. Go ahead, please. Go ahead.

MERCHANT: Honey, I just want to tell you that I am ecstatic. I am happy. I want to let you know that I`m happy. I`m not missing anything out. I think I have the best of both worlds, because I do work part time. Being a mother is the hardest job that I have ever had, but I enjoy working. I`m able to spend time with my children, able to do events with them. I`m happy. Maybe you`re not. I`m quite happy.

PINSKY: Hang on. I`m going to give you -- Michelle, we`re going to keep this conversation going. I`m going to give Michelle the last word here. You tried to say something to me about the fight between stay-at- home and --

GOLLAND: You know, I think that there is a -- the problem is this needs to be a different paradigm. This is not working mothers against stay-at-home moms.

PINSKY: It shouldn`t be. You guys frame it that way.

GOLLAND: But I don`t think we do. I think the media --

(CROSSTALK)

GOLLAND: I think politicians want to. I think --

PINSKY: What? I think women are tougher on each other than anybody else. Time they stop that.

GOLLAND: I think our systems in our society are not set up to support, which what we know is that 69 percent are dual working income families.

PINSKY: Yes.

GOLLAND: With children 18 and younger. That`s where the tension and the stress comes.

PINSKY: OK. That`s what we will pick up with.

GOLLAND: We`re not set up to be in reality.

PINSKY: We`re not set up -- that` right. We`re not set up to deal with being a mom and being a parent and working. Got to go to break.

Up next, we`re going to continue to stay-at-home versus working mom discussion.

And later, our U.S. troops are returning from Iraq and they`re getting a great welcome home greeting from a young patriot. Wait until you meet Cody.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PINSKY: Welcome back. Thanks for joining us tonight. We`ve been talking about the toughest job in the world. That is, of course, being a mom. Some moms stay at home with their kids, others want to work. There`s a study just released in the Journal of Family Psychology that suggests that working moms are happier overall relative to stay-at-home moms.

So, let`s just get right back to our debate. And if you guys don`t mind, I want to take a caller. Let`s go to Nicole in Nevada. Go ahead, Nicole.

NICOLE, NEVADA: Hi, Dr. Drew. I`m a stay-at-home mom with an eight- month-old and six-year-old. And yes, I feel like more stressful rather than going to work. My husband works, but I take care of the kids. And yes, it takes a lot out of me. I tend to get frustrated fast.

PINSKY: yes.

NICOLE: I feel like I`m stuck, you know, in the house, and I feel like if I am going to work, you know, I`m talking to people, communicating with others, and just social, because all I have are my kids and my husband when he gets home.

PINSKY: Well, Nicole, let me interrupt you, and Michelle, the psychologist, I`ll let her do that, and then, Rachel, I`m going to ask you how you avoid feeling like Nicole. So, go ahead, Michelle.

GOLLAND: I think that that`s what`s really important is that it`s really about how the mother is feeling at home, and is she feeling isolated.

PINSKY: They are isolated, and they don`t have a chance to have a -- contribute in the world. Now, some of them feel that they are, and I bet Rachel does. Let me hear from Rachel. Rachel, is that true?

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Well, I would say that at home motherhood is still different. It`s hardly, I think -- we have access to everything from the internet and mom groups and communities. But I want to say, though, is that the study asks if the mom is happy. And I think there`s another question which is, are the kids happier?

I interviewed many at-home moms who are at home moms right now for my book, and so many of them were latchkey kids in the 1970s and said yes, I turned out OK, but I was really lonely coming home to a home without a mom, without a home cooked meal. I missed my mom.

PINSKY: But Rachel, Michelle making a point before we came to the segment during the break, and I think it`s what you want to say is that, they we`re framing this for some people as though it`s a choice. A lot of women don`t have a choice.

GOLLAND: A lot of families don`t have a choice.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: I agree with that.

GOLLAND: And it`s really important, I mean, even --

PINSKY: Go Ahead, Rachel.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: I agree that some women don`t have the choice, but I know plenty of women who are working who wish that they could be home. And so, what I`m saying is nothing is all roses.

GOLLAND: Right.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: This is a difficult job, and it`s not easy. It comes with challenges. But I think, for me, the benefits to me and for my kids are really well worth it, and I think I`m going to see the fruits of that later.

GOLLAND: Well, and I think, you know, something that was brought up about latchkey kids is that, again, we aren`t living in a society of dual working families. Sixty-nine percent of families with children under the age of 18, mothers and fathers are working. And I know, I have a perfect example.

The difference between myself and my sister that works, my public school, charter school, where my kids go has an amazing enrichment program after school. The kids can stay until six o`clock.

PINSKY: To support the working mom.

(CROSSTALK)

GOLLAND: My sister doesn`t have any of that, and she`s a working mother and it`s really challenging for her.

PINSKY: I want to go to Ramona who is, again, sits on the fence, has been gone on both sides as it were. Any insight into this conflict?

RIZZO: Well, as far as the conflict concerning you said that maybe, you know, stay-at-home moms are not contributing to the world, I feel that they are, because they`re at home raising the next generation. So, if they`re instilling good morals and teaching their children, you know, being hands on --

PINSKY: I absolutely agree with you. I absolutely agree with you, but let me ask you -- I do know what you mean, but many don`t feel like they are because they don`t have something that`s uniquely there is. They feel so tight (ph) with their kids.

RIZZO: But now a child is yours and you`re molding that child --

PINSKY: But listen, but that`s why I want to hear from you, because you have worked and not worked. When you were working, did you feel like you weren`t doing that other job?

RIZZO: No, I felt like I was doing both because I still had access to the real world and I still also had my children. I found it harder, you know, if I had to leave my little children at home, because they didn`t have a voice to tell me, you know, maybe I left them with a babysitter that did something to them that they couldn`t tell me.

They didn`t have the eyes or the ears to say, mommy, there`s a problem. It is easier as your child does get older to leave them and be a mom that works. It`s much harder to leave your child when there`s an infant. That`s why I`m in the middle throughout all this.

GOLLAND: I am now a full-time working mother. I started out as a stay-at-home mom, became a part-time mom, and I am still raising my children.

PINSKY: I want to support all of you guys in all of this wonderful work you guys are doing. Each of you are negotiating it your own way and contributing massively. Nobody contributes more than women, come on now. Why don`t you give yourself a pat on the back. Juliette, go ahead.

MERCHANT: We never stop raising our children. That never stops. It`s a full-time job that never, ever ends. I just launched a new company in addition to raising the four children, having this part-time job, going to school, I`m now a business owner, and it`s called Mahogany Mommy.

And what I hope to be able to do is to chronicle the joy and challenges of mothers that are dealing with motherhood. It`s the hardest job any of us will ever have. You never stop raising our children.

(CROSSTALK)

PINSKY: And nobody gets their soul depleted from their children.

GOLLAND: I think all of us as working mothers, as stay-at-home moms, we need to care about all the children. So, if I`m working --

PINSKY: And all the moms, too, guys. You should look after one another. I keep bringing this up the jealousy. I know it`s there, and you`re refusing to acknowledge it here with me tonight.

(CROSSTALK)

RIZZO: There`s two sides of it. You know, I might be jealous one day that, look, she gets to go out in the real world and she looks pretty, and I`m home in jogging pants.

(CROSSTALK)

RIZZO: She might be jealous to me that my child --

PINSKY: That`s right.

RIZZO: And I`m snuggling in the back.

(CROSSTALK)

RIZZO: The key to motherhood is balance. You need to have balance.

PINSKY: All right. Fair enough.

(CROSSTALK)

PINSKY: Guys, I have to take one more call, one more call before we go. This is Tracy in New Mexico. Go ahead, Tracy.

TRACY, NEW MEXICO: Hi, Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: Hi, Tracy.

TRACY: I just wanted to say that I`m kind of neutral with the whole working, staying home, because I`ve done both. I stayed home for several years, and now, I`m working full time. I go to college online. And I have four boys. And it`s so hard to stay home with the four boys. It`s stressful. I pull my hair out. Right now, I have to financially work because we need it, but I would probably still choose to, but I definitely have to give props to the moms that stay home because each side has its perks and downfall. It`s a difficult job either way.

PINSKY: Tracy, I want to give props to all you guys. That`s why I kept bringing up the one issue, the jealousy. And I think, Ramona, you hit it on the head. One day, it`s jealous of this -- nobody has it perfect. All you guys -- this panel is negotiating it awfully well. I got to handle it.

GOLLAND: Because we`re women and we do that well.

PINSKY: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CAMPOS-DUFFY: I think it`s phenomenal that we live in a time we can choose to do whichever what we want to do.

GOLLAND: Yes. We don`t do it alone, whether our spouse or our mother or another sister that`s helping.

PINSKY: But, I will say that our society could do a better job of supporting you guys --

GOLLAND: Absolutely.

PINSKY: -- to timing this so you could do this all in a systemic way, and decide what`s healthiest. Maybe, it`s going to school, getting your professional degrees, then staying home for awhile, then we support and get you back in the workplace, rather than having your careers dead because you made a great sacrifice to stay-at-home -- be a stay-at-home mom and raise the next generation.

During whatever window it is we decide, it`s really important. I know you guys will follow that if we could come out with number. I wish we haven`t figure that out. But listen, this panel, thank you very much to all of you guys. You guys all do great work. I think we`ve established here, and I hope that there`s no one way to do this, and there`s no one way to do it for any -- everyone has their own way of negotiating this, and you`re all doing a wonderful job.

Coming up, HLN salute to the troops. Coming home from Iraq is after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As your commander in chief and on behalf of a grateful nation, I`m proud to finally say these two words, and I know your families agree. Welcome home!

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Welcome home! Welcome home!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PINSKY: That, of course, was President Obama at a packed aircraft hangar at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, welcoming home U.S. troops from Iraq. He acknowledged their bravery and extraordinary achievement, calling it an historic moment. But the president wasn`t the only one welcoming our service members back to the states.

Cody Jackson is a patriotic eight-year-old, there he is, who already understands what it means to give back. He calls himself, look at him, a one boy USO. You can find Cody at the airport, greeting troops, making sure they get a hero`s welcome home. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED KID: Thank you for protecting us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re very welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really wonderful what he`s doing. His grandfather was in the military, and he has already been in the military offices, recruiting offices asking when he can sign up.

UNIDENTIFIED KID: Thank you for protecting us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED KID: I asked my mom how come it`s so hard to get on an airplane? I mean, because she told me about 9/11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got so upset and wanted to thank these people for putting their life on the line for him. So, he comes to the airport, and now, he meets the soldiers. He thanks them for protecting them, hands them a little piece of candy, and salutes them, and wishes them well. I`m touched by what he`s doing at such an early age.

And some of them have been taking coins out of their pockets, giving it to him. He doesn`t want to take any of it, but a lot of them are so touched by what he`s doing, they`re giving up some of their awards and medals to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hang onto that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it means a great deal to the serviceman and women when he goes up to them and thanks them. We see, you know, this big, strong man or woman come through, and they look like this, not somebody you want to approach, and then, Cody goes up to them, starts to talk to them. And you see them just light up. Even big, grown men wiping tears from their eyes. It`s very touching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know the word to describe it, honestly. I mea, to see a little kid like this, to come here, do what he`s doing, thinking of us. You know, you see a lot of people that don`t. Somebody that small, really tugs at your heart a lot and makes everything that we`re doing worth it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PINSKY: Amazing young man. Cody, we salute you.

Now, a couple of comments before we go here. Heidi Damon (ph), you see her interview at the beginning of our program tonight? She`s, of course, the young woman that stood up to her attacker in court after being brutally attacked and nearly murdered, nearly severely sexually assaulted. She had the guts to say something in the courtroom that I hope other victims heard.

That anyone who has been helpless, an understanding that you are not helpless. And I don`t know if you saw what I saw in Heidi, but we`re going to definitely have her back here. She`s an extraordinary young woman. And the note is, be affect to each other. People filled her, supported her, and she became an extraordinary person, and now, she`s affecting all of us with her courage and her clarity.

Thank you all for watching. I`ll see you next time.

END