Holcomb High School program uses shock factor to persuade youth not to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs

Monday, November 30, 2009

Students at Holcomb High School recently came face-to-face with the grim reaper, as they participated in the "Death Becomes You... When You Make Bad Decisions" program.

The program, created by the staff of the Regional Support Center at Family Counseling Center, uses the "shock factor" to persuade youth not to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, said support center prevention educator Jill Rickman.

"Throughout the day students met the grim reaper and learned that they had died due to a bad decision they or one of their friends had made," Rickman said. "The students then painted their faces as a visual representation of their death."

Rickman said as the students "died," they placed tombstones in a graveyard scene, complete with a casket, loaned by James Powell and the Landess Funeral Home.

"Participants were given their death scenario to wear throughout the day for other students to read," she said. "Since the students were now deceased they were no longer allowed to speak with other students."

Counselor Kris Noblin held an assembly at the end of the day to discuss highlights of the program.

"While participants were reading their stories the entire auditorium was silent as the students learned of the death of classmates and the bad choices their fellow students had made," Rickman said.

"To end the assembly Mrs. Noblin addressed the student body," she said. "She stated the importance of each and every student to her, the teachers, their families and friends. She informed the students that although this program was hypothetical many of the scenarios are very similar to real life stories we hear about on the news."

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