CURRY — Students at Curry Middle School on Tuesday learned about the dangers of drinking alcohol underage, and many pledged to not take part in such destructive behavior.The Alabama Alcoholic …
CURRY — Students at Curry Middle School on Tuesday learned about the dangers of drinking alcohol underage, and many pledged to not take part in such destructive behavior.
The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board presented the "Under Age, Under Arrest" program at Curry Tuesday. The initiative was originally created to educate youth about the lifelong consequences that can occur from drinking underage.
Dean Argo, government relations manager of the Alabama ABC Board, facilitated the program held in the middle school gymnasium that featured Jasper Police Chief J.C. Poe and Walker County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Dayron Bridges as guest speakers.
Poe, a graduate of Curry High School, talked about the impacts of peer pressure, in relation to underage drinking. He put into perspective the ramifications of drinking alcohol.
"I've seen numerous situations where underage drinking has turned into tragedy and where adult drinking has caused the death of minors and people your age," Poe said. "There's other ways of feeling good without alcohol or drugs, and you need to find those ways."
He added, "Your generation has got to be the one to turn all of this around, and it's got to start today."
Bridges told students that, as of Monday, nearly 250 people were jailed at the Walker County Sheriff's Office, many for alcohol-related crimes.
"Not all of them are in there for murder. Some of them are just in there for drinking — constantly getting pulled over for drinking," he said. "You're going to be under some peer pressure to do some things that you know isn't right, but think about that, and make the right decision."
Argo provided some eye-opening statistics for students Tuesday. He said an estimated two out of three college students have admitted to drinking alcohol in Alabama — a startling result, Argo said, considering only seniors would be of legal drinking age. In addition, Argo said 95 percent of violent crime at colleges involves alcohol.
In a plea to students, Argo gave many examples of how drinking underage has caused something terrible to happen, and he even showed students a video where two women talked about losing family members in vehicle accidents because of drunk drivers.
"None of us wake up in the morning and think, 'Today, I think I'm going to kill somebody or today, I think I'm going to be killed by somebody.' We don't think that in our minds, but we make decisions, and we think nothing bad is going to happen to us," he said.
He also told students that they need to be cognizant of the fact that poor decisions in their youth can impact their future careers.
Each student was later given a promise card to sign, pledging they would not drink alcohol underage. While signing the card was not mandatory, the majority of students were observed taking that pledge.
As students were signing the cards, Curry Middle Principal Barry Wilson talked about how he has had to attend the funerals of students, some of whom made bad choices.
"I expect to see all of you at graduation. I expect to see what good things are coming for you," Wilson said. "Some of you have obstacles in your life already that you can't help, but you can prevent some of this by making the right decisions."
"Under Age, Under Arrest" has been presented to nearly 100,000 students in Alabama over the past several years, and other schools in Walker County have also participated in the program.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, American Character Builders, state and local law enforcement agencies and community organizations are partners to make the program possible.