Mt. Vernon Register-News

October 23, 2013

Judge challenges Webber students

The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Students at Webber Township High School on Tuesday were given good advice by Judge David Overstreet on seven reasons to leave a party.

This presentation went hand in hand with the program at Webber called Positive Behavior Intervention Support. The program has been in effect for five years and is ran by Betty Riley. It is a program that helps the students achieve positive behavior in their school career and in everyday life.

Overstreet began the presentation with a song that seemed to be well known by the students and quickly went into why the program was started by the Illinois Judges Association.

Overstreet stated judges feel a lot of frustration when seeing young people come into their court rooms.

“We as judges feel like coroners and pathologists instead of judges. You have heard of preventive medicine. This is our effort at preventative law.” said Overstreet.

Overstreet placed students in four categories: Students that are drug/ alcohol free, students undecided on drug/alcohol use, students that must suffer consequences before they change their behavior, and repeat offenders.

The first reason Overstreet discussed on why to leave a party is death. It was stated that one-third of deaths in the 15-20 age category are due to motor vehicle crashes and 36 percent are drug and alcohol related.

The second reason he touched on was criminal record. Overstreet shared in many cases where people believe that what they do as juvenile won’t follow them into their adult life.

This point was made clear with a story of a young man who got in trouble at a party and seven years after the charges it kept him from starting his dream career of becoming a FBI agent. This was due to his criminal record as a juvenile.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference.” said Overstreet.

Overstreet briefly spoke on the third and forth reasons: no trust and no time. Basically once your parents lose trust due to your choices it is damaged and it will never be the same. Also once you have been convicted of the crime you will spend months going to court and meeting with a probational officer.

The fifth reason is no privacy. Overstreet talked about a judge who ordered a urine analysis which tests for drugs in your system.

A new device was shown to the student body that is called a silver link. This is a breathalyzer with GPS and a camera attached to it. The GPS shows exactly where the test was taken and the camera takes a picture while the test is taken. Oversteert and Nikitia Hughes (a probational officer) brought down a volunteer, junior Austin Gowler, to take a better look at the device.

The last two reasons were no money due to fines and the loss of driving privileges.

Throughout the presentation Overstreet made it clear of the consequences in which more than one person can get a ticket and be convicted for having possession of drugs or alcohol as long as it is within reach.

At the conclusion of the presentation Overstreet mentioned that each student was going to be given a one page contract to take home to their parents. This contract is to be looked over by the student and parent to agree to leave a party or not partake in those type of situations.