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Reinforce a valuable lesson for our students

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Saturday's the first day of spring, and it appears it's going to be a nice one, one of those days where you set aside as many chores as possible so you can enjoy some other more fun activity outdoors.

Not all the fun is outdoors, of course. With spring comes prom season, an opportunity for young people to experience one of the grand social events they'll experience in high school. 

Not everything goes as planned at prom, which can be a valuable learning experience in dealing with fashion, budgets, social cliques and an evening out with friends, along with the occasional disappointment when evening plans or dance moves don't work out as hoped.

Hopefully and despite a disappointment or two, everyone will live through it ... literally.

Prom may be an exciting evening for most high school students, but it's also a dangerous time when critical decision-making is put to the test. 

Last week's Ghost Out event at Charlo School and today's similar Ghost Out at Ronan School aim to remind our youth that some bad decisions can only be made once, with tragic consequences.

Law enforcement and emergency response personnel put on a very effective show that is admittedly make believe, but very close to reality. Even the most jaded of high school students who have heard it all before can't help but be affected by the combination of theatrics and "missing" people who are taken out of class to represent those who would be lost to drunk drivers.

The culmination of the Ghost Out with the removal of students they know from wrecked cars staged in high school parking lot sends a searing message to everyone. 

This could be someone you know. 

This could be someone you care about. 

This could be you.

Admittedly, it's all a scare tactic. Law enforcement, emergency personnel and school staffs hope it scares the hell out of them, too.

The makeup and moans are all fake, but their effect lingers. Hopefully, it lingers long enough to help those young people make the right decision when they need to make it.

And they will have to make that decision, if not this weekend then one down the road.

The message doesn't stop there, of course. We can all pick up the beat and carry it forward, repeating the message just one more time.

We should not only make sure our young people know that underage drinking and driving while under the influence are intolerable, we should also be leading them by example. Make them choose, but also give them a clear example of what the right choice is.

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