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Students take ‘Prom Promise’

A few hundred Lincoln County students made potential life-savingpromises Monday to their parents, peers and local law enforcementofficers.

With prom season on the horizon, the national effort to stopteenagers from driving under the influence, especially on promnight, made its way to the area yesterday.

“I am so proud of this program because it makes the young peopleaware of what drinking and driving can do,” said Justice CourtJudge Judy Case Martin.

During a two-hour meeting at the Lincoln County Mulit-UseFacility, Martin and other authorities spoke to 11th and 12th gradestudents from Enterprise, Loyd Star and West Lincoln about theimportance of staying away from drugs and alcohol.

Martin shared stories from her many years experience as anEmergency Medical Technician (EMT) and her former position asdeputy coroner in hopes of helping the high school students realizehow a tragedy can affect so many people.

“One of the hardest things to do is walk up to a door and tellparents that they’re child won’t be coming home,” said Martin.”Please don’t let that happen to your parents because you gotbehind the wheel drunk.”

Students listened intensely as Lincoln County Sheriff Lynn Boytetalked about experiences with alcohol-related accidents during his35 year career.

He urged students to be serious about making the commitment tostay away from drugs and alcohol on prom night.

“We’re here because we care about all of you,” said Boyte. “Youdeserve to have fun at prom, but we want you to come homesafe.”

Sergeant Errol Pierce with the Mississippi Highway Patrolbrought reality to the students with a video showing a stagedaccident involving high school students on prom night.

“Drugs, alcohol and driving are a dangerous mixture,” saidPierce, adding that alcohol-related accidents are the number onekiller for 15-21 year-olds.

The video also explained to students just how alcohol and drugsimpair vision and decrease response time.

Pierce explained to the students how one bad decision couldchange the lives of many people. He hoped they would prevent suchpain and agony from being brought to Lincoln County.

“Make that Prom Promise and keep it,” urged Pierce as he turnedthe platform over the Lincoln County Narcotics Officer DustinBairfield.

Bairfield, along with his drug dog, Rickey, gave students ademonstration on how easy it is to get caught with illegalsubstances.

Following the demonstration, DARE Officer Sudie Palomarez gavestudents an alternative to riding with a drunk driver.

“If the person who comes to pick you up has been drinking, don’tget in the car with them. Call me and I will get you there safely,”she said.

Palomarez had already spoken with many of the high schoolstudents in the past, but she pleaded with them once again to notbecome involved with the dangerous substances.

“You have fun without drinking and without doing drugs, and ifyou can’t, then you have a problem,” she pointed out to a silent,attentive crowd.

Prom Promise cards were passed out for the students to sign ifthey wanted to make the commitment.

Loyd Star students, who will celebrate their prom this Friday,all signed the cards, and other schools will receive the cardssoon.

Education officials were pleased with the results of the PromPromise meeting and hope it will make a difference.

“The students seemed to be real receptive. I think it was asuccess,” said Jason Case, director of intervention/preventionprograms for the Lincoln County School District.