Local News

Wakefield Leaders Launch Newest Effort to Curb Underage Drinking

Posted March 28, 2007

— One Wake County school is trying a new tactic to curb underage drinking after the deaths of five students in alcohol-related crashes within the last year, but some say the message still isn't getting across to teens.

The story of Wakefield High School is part of a video that's been a year in the making. After so much tragedy involving students at the school, the filmmakers are hoping these images will help steer students in the right direction.

Last March, four students died when their car plunged off the U.S. Highway 64 bypass. Tests show the driver was drunk.

This January, Wakefield senior Sadiki Young died when the car in which he was riding crashed. Police said the driver had alcohol in his system, and he has been charged involuntary manslaughter. Six other Wakefield students were arrested on alcohol-related charges in connection with the house party to which Young and the driver had gone before the crash.

“It happens, and unfortunately it's happened here too much,” said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison. “Anytime it happens, it's too much, but here with five in a row almost, that’s hard to even swallow.”

But some parents said the students who really needed to see the video and hear the discussion weren't at the event and still haven't gotten the message.

“It's very frustrating,” said parent Martha Svoboda. “I think that's the $64,000 question. How much is it going to take, how many of their friends have to die before they get the message? I don't know what the answer is.”

School leaders hosted the second of three forums designed to talk about the effects of underage drinking, called Wake Up Wakefield Part 2.

“I think more kids should come to these than parents because they're the ones that have a big influence on the ax and stuff,” said Wakefield freshman Bailey Dunn.

Wakefield High officials said that's what the event and the video are all about—influences and making the right choices.

“The video that we produced, the intent was to tell our story, but to really look at the bigger picture—at the fact that these accidents are happening all over this country,” said Wakefield Assistant Principal Vivian Wells.

The Wakefield Parent-Teacher-Student Association also started a tip line to which students could report future parties and other illegal activity while staying completely anonymous. They can call the new hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

33 Comments

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  • kstor33 Mar 29, 12:16 p.m.

    WralCommentor...I don't disagree with you. I agree wholeheartedly! Thank you for your post.

  • 777 Mar 29, 12:13 p.m.

    hondaman - My parents came home almost every night and had a beer or a mixed drink. So what? I didn't drink for the first time until I was 22, it was simply my choice.

    If parents would be open with their kids and if they parents would understand that their kids are NOT an extension of themselves, they are unique individuals and *shock* they won't turn out to be exactly like you. By age 15 or 16 you should be respecting their individuality and their choices, let them make a few mistakes, but also let them know that you will be there for them if they need you. For example, if they're at a party and get drunk and can't drive home. Then, maybe they'll call you to pick them up instead of driving drunk or riding with someone who is drunk.

    Kids who are more terrified of their parents than of the possible consequences of drinking, drugs, etc, won't call on their parents when they need help and will end up getting in even more trouble!

  • Commentor5 Mar 29, 12:10 p.m.

    Sad that so many terrible things are happening to these students (my prayers are with the affected families), but I have just one quesiton - what's happened to parental responsibility and taking the initiative to be a part of the child's life AND knowing who their friends are, where they are going, and what they are doing. It's time parents start acting like parents and start setting rules and limiting their child's 'social activities' - being a child's friend or diplaying a 'cool mom' or 'cool dad' character is not the way to go - parents need to be parents - as parents were generations ago.

    Yes, I'm sure some of you readers will disagree with me - but it all starts at home - mom and dad: set an example for your children and let them know that rules MUST be followed in your household.

  • Myword Mar 29, 11:41 a.m.

    Since today is the first day I was ever called an "old-timer" I will go on a make a second geezer comment...where do kids get all this cash-a-roni I see them spending these days? I see fewer teens working but go to any mall,etc. and they are spending $ all over the place...folks, don't make it TOO easy for them to get in trouble!

  • OLD PIRATE Mar 29, 11:40 a.m.

    How about something positive about the efforts at Wakefield? Its not about new cars and the parties. It is about the loss of too many kids. Hats off to PTA for their effort. I've had the HP at my home at 2am to say there has been a fatality, my children learned early from a relative who paid the price. Give this a chance.

  • superman Mar 29, 11:33 a.m.

    When parents get home from work and the first thing they do is get a beer or mix a drink the kids learn fast. My dad never drank anything in his whole life-- there was never any alcohol in the house. He never talked to me about drinking cause he didnt drink and I never did either. I can buy a 12 pack of beer and it will last all summer. Kids learn from example too. Hard to get plastered every night and weekend and then tell the kids not to drink. Kids today have far too much money, big new cars, cell phones, fancy computer games. Everyone they want except a parent that spends time with them and teachs them values. And yes I know kids will experiment but good home training is important. If these kids dont get the message when their friends drink and drive and die-- dont think a video would help.

  • valleyind Mar 29, 11:22 a.m.

    This Wakefield junk is starting to sound like the Anna Nicole story. Every day there is something new about Wakefield on the news. I DON'T CARE ABOUT IT. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Meanwhile, kids at ALL other area high schools are planning parties and scoring booze for the weekend. That is just the way it is.

  • loveall Mar 29, 11:20 a.m.

    The kids are only doing what they are taught to do. Parents should set the example. Kids need love, attention and education.

  • Here kitty kitty Mar 29, 10:55 a.m.

    Schools have in-house video; are they showing this film in the school during the day? That's how to make sure all the students see it...captive audience.

  • jtalerico Mar 29, 10:44 a.m.

    BusyB -
    Good points. I agree totally.

    Ol' Timer err kstor33 -
    That doesn't make you young these days :)

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