Student peer leader assembly urges student safety

Peer Leaders talking with advisor Bill Barley and Children's Policy Council coordinator Connie Brown

Peer Leaders talking with advisor Bill Barley and Children’s Policy Council coordinator Connie Brown

Mixing humor into a serious message, Demopolis High School Peer Leaders conducted an assembly for juniors and seniors Wednesday to encourage responsible behavior during spring break and prom.

“Those are the two times,” said the group’s advisor Bill Barley, “that teenagers might be tempted.”

Funded through the Marengo County Children’s Policy Council (CPC), the group introduced two speakers, showed a short student-made video and offered door prizes.

Freddie Webb

Freddie Webb

Freddie Webb, a DHS graduate, told his story of how his problems with alcohol began with just one drink. Webb told how his drinking began in high school and continued in college, a practice that led to trouble with the law.

“Everybody around me knew I needed help but me,” he told the rapt audience.

He went into a treatment program and hasn’t had a drink since.

He warned the students that having one beer with their buddies is not all right. “It’s a big lie. It’s never just one beer. I don’t know of anyone to have just one beer.”

Demopolis Police Chief Tommie Reese urged the students to remember the Three R’s: recognize, respond and refuse, when it comes to risky behavior.

He said actions off campus can affect their school career and urged them to be aware of the danger signs of someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Darren Glass, a member of the CPC, speaking with Chief Tommie Reese

Darren Glass, a member of the CPC, speaking with Chief Tommie Reese

With spring break, prom and graduation, he continued, the most deadly months for teen drivers are April through June.

Reese had the students promise to refuse to drink and use drugs on prom night, to text and drive and to ride without a seat belt.

Most importantly, he told them to promise, “I refuse to be a name and a number that ends on prom night.”

Reese promised that if any of the students found themselves in a bad situation on prom night to call the police for a ride home. “I’ll come get you myself.”

A short video created by the Peer Leaders group gave humor to serious situations that students may face in school and offered statistics showing the impact that positive behavior has on drinking.

Door prizes for a prom night dinner, corsage and boutonniere and tuxedo rental were provided by Las Fuentes, Lindsey’s and Perfect Touch respectively.

The CPC is made up of some 30 residents of the county, including representatives from schools, law enforcement, elected officials, law enforcement and public agencies, said Juvenile Court director Darren Glass. Judge Wade Drinkard chairs the council.

The council is assessing the needs of the county and is developing ways to solve them. One of the issues is teen drinking, and the peer group and assembly were part of that community action program.