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Bernheim students learn life's dangers

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By Stephen Thomas

CLERMONT - Bernheim Middle School seventh graders received the ultimate lesson.

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An event called “Ghost Out” was presented by seventh grade instructor Erin Mabe with assistance from instructional coach Karrie Stewart.

The event was tied to a book read in school, “Tears of a Tiger,” which includes a story involving a drunk driving accident and making good life choices.

“The event is tied in with the novel,” said Stewart. “The novel causes kids to think of these situations and we wanted to personalize this for them.”

The event also coincided with Red Ribbon Week festivities, a week promoting drug prevention education.

Individual students were removed from classrooms every 18 minutes during the day by a grim reaper. Mabe said the significance was to alert students that someone was killed every 18 minutes in the US by a drunk driver.

Students were not told what the event was about until a ceremony toward the end of the school day. Some students noticed the grim reaper’s appearance every 18 minutes.

“Students were initially unaware of what was happening,” said Mabe. “The 18-minute significance made the statistics come alive.”

During the ceremony each student previously removed from class had a personal obituary presented as they lay on the gym floor and were covered with a drape.

As part of the ceremony, Mabe remained in a casket at the center of the gymnasium.

Schmid Funeral Home provided the casket and drapes. Co-owner Pam Schmid said the donations were made to the event in hopes of helping teach the dangers of drunk driving and the importance of healthy life choices.

Mabe said the ‘morgue’ of students hit home with fellow students, putting a real face on the subject matter.

“Getting students’ attention is important in making serious and life-altering decisions,” Mabe said. “When they see it face-to-face with someone they know it means more.”

Stewart wanted parents to understand the event tied in with school subject matter via the book as well as student discussion pertaining to healthy choices.

“We want our students to make good, wise decisions throughout their lives,” She said. “We want them to have a plan of action when faced with peer pressure. We want them to learn how before they attend high school.”