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Prom talk: a sobering yet empowering message

The students listen intently to the potential penalties and costs they could face for their choices related to alcohol or drug use.


May 25, 2011

High school proms typically result in the kind of memories that last a lifetime. The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and Eldred Central School District (ECS) wanted to increase the likelihood that those memories will be good ones, and that those lifetimes won’t be shortened by bad decisions.

“You are responsible for your own decisions,” Cpt. Cheryl Crumley told the students during her presentation on drug and alcohol use and its legal impacts. “You have to live with the consequences.”

On May 19, just before their prom weekend, Crumley encouraged the students to have fun but to remember that the choices they make today will affect every tomorrow. “Remember how easily your life can change in a moment,” she said.

Students learned the differences between violations, misdemeanors and felonies and how each relates to drug and alcohol use. They were reminded that their decisions not only impact their own lives, but also those of others, such as friends, family members and unrelated victims. Potential long-term consequences were spelled out, such as the loss of hard-earned certifications, loss of employment and/or the right to vote, difficulty obtaining loans or mortgages and living with
guilt and regret for the rest of one’s life.

Crumley also urged students not to neglect the safety of someone suffering from severe symptoms of drug or alcohol use. “If someone appears to be in danger of losing their life, call 911,” she asserted. Students were also reminded not to take or post compromising photos of themselves or friends. “While it makes my job easier,” Crumley said, “the consequences can be quite serious and follow you for a long time.”

The presentation wrapped up with a sobering short video depicting the tragic outcomes of a car crash caused by a teen who uses her cell phone to text while driving. Within seconds, lives are lost as the car careens out of control and other innocent victims are swept into the chaos that ensues. The driver remains alive to deal with the consequences of her action.

“I see it all the time, what can happen when a bad choice is made,” Crumley said. “Be smart. Use your brain. You have a future.”

ECS principal Scott Krebbs reports that the prom transpired over the weekend “with all the bells and whistles,” and without incident.