Courageous Decisions

As I have said many times since taking office in July, I believe the most important part of my job is prevention. If I can prevent someone from committing a crime or making the wrong choice, then I have been a success in my job. I would rather reach someone through the newspaper or through the schools than meet them in the courtroom. Because, once the individual is in my courtroom, a crime has been committed and consequences will logically follow. Last fall, I met with the principals from BHS, Lohn and Rochelle and offered to put on a drug and alcohol awareness program for the schools. My goal with this program would be prevention. Rather than preach to students, I wanted to present a program that would simply provide the students with the information to let them make the right decisions and choices in their lives when confronted with peer pressure and drugs and alcohol. I finally found the right program. The program is called Courageous Decisions. It is an award winning alcohol and drug intervention program that was started in 1993 by Judge Michael A. Martone of the 52nd District Court in Troy, Mich. This program is designed to show these students that before they go along with their friends or succumb to peer pressure, they should first do a risk analysis. Once they realize that in addition to court sanctions and fines, other consequences await them, such as injury or death, hopefully, they will decide it’s not worth the risk to join in. The program uses a video with news segments from local and national news programs to show actual events where kids have died of alcohol poisoning, the result of a drunk driver, and even one case where no alcohol or drugs were being used, merely excessive speed wiped out three young lives. On April 4, Judge Randy Young and I spent the morning in Lohn and the afternoon in Rochelle presenting the Courageous Decisions program to Lohn and Rochelle middle schoolers. On April 17, Judge Young and I will spend some time at Brady Middle School in the morning and then Brady High School in the afternoon presenting the same program. I’m grateful to Judge Young for being willing to put on this program with me. Hopefully the video, together with discussion from myself and Judge Randy Young, will allow the students to learn a powerful lesson that they must take with them to deal with the future.

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