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A-M students face “grim” scenario

April 20, 2012

Photo by Ellen Mortensen

Once again, the Safe Communities for Custer County Committee sponsored a “Grim Reaper” program at an area high school. Students at Anselmo-Merna high school were visited Monday, as throughout the day the “reaper” plucked a student from the classroom every 32 minutes - signifying how often it is estimated someone in this country loses their life as the result of drinking and driving.
Pictured is Dusty Chandler, being read a "goodbye letter" from his mom. Committee member Mary Drudik, of the Loup Basin Public Health Department reads the letter, as Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond looks on. Parents of the students chosen were contacted prior to the event and asked permission for their student to participate in the program. The parents were also asked to write a letter of goodbye to their child, a tool that has proven to be very difficult for both the parent to write and for the student to hear. For even more impact, the students were also asked to write a letter back to their parents.
The goal of the program is to raise awareness for drinking and driving by giving students a brief sense of what it might be like if they were suddenly gone. It also gives the students not chosen by the “reaper” a sense of what it might be like to have their friends no longer with them. Each of the selected students is given a black T-shirt to wear for the remainder of the school day, and is asked to not speak to anyone other than their teachers and the other students in black T-shirts.

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