Program teaches middle schoolers the consequences of drugs

Posted at 4:30 AM, Mar 16, 2018

FLORENCE, Ky. -- Ockerman Middle School students got an up-close look at what happens if they're caught with drugs. 

They call it "truth or consequences." It's all about helping the young people know what to do in a tricky situation, like if someone asks the students to hold some drugs for them, and what the consequences could be for doing that. 

"When you tell them that some of these offenses can carry up to 10 years in prison, they start to think about that," District Judge Jeff Smith said. 

The students were given realistic scenarios, like drugs found in a locker. They were then brought into a mock court and jail to learn the consequences.

"They're at the age where they are impressionable, and it's great to get in front of them at this age," parent Jamie Zdarsky said. "And it's scary to think that you have to talk to your 12-year-old about this stuff, but you do."

For some students the information is new. But it's not new for all of them. 

"They will come out and tell their peers, 'Hey, this is not a joke. This is serious and, you know, I've lost my home life because of it,'" Ockerman school resource officer Chris Saunders said. 

The students also heard true stories from those in recovery, who spoke candidly about their time behind bars and in rehab. 

"They want to be doctors, occupational therapists," teacher Carrie Judd said. "I mean, they've got some lofty goals, and to just know that one stupid decision that seemed harmless at the time can just alter your whole life."

This was the second year for the program at Ockerman. District officials plan to expand it to other Boone County schools by next year.