Tags: Laura | Bush | Encourages | 'Good | Decisions' | Students

Laura Bush Encourages 'Good Decisions' by Students

Monday, 03 April 2006 12:00 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- First lady Laura Bush visited Bel Air Elementary School in Albuquerque, N.M. today and observed second grade students while they learned "Stop and Think It Through" - an important lesson on making good choices and how those decisions can keep them safe.

The first lady joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) National President Glynn Birch, Albuquerque Public Schools and other leaders to view MADD's alcohol use prevention curriculum, Protecting You/Protecting Me (PY/PM) and participate in a roundtable discussion on preventing underage drinking.

"We are honored that Mrs. Bush selected MADD's Protecting You/Protecting Me curriculum as part of her Helping America's Youth initiative," said Glynn Birch, MADD national president. "The success of this program is due to a collaborative effort, showing how local government, a school system and MADD can come together for the health and safety of youth. We must all make an investment in the future of children today by giving them the skills they need to make smart and legal choices about alcohol."

PY/PM is taught in more than 30 Albuquerque elementary schools with nearly 400 teachers trained to implement the program. Albuquerque Public Schools is the largest public school system to adopt the program, which is funded by the Bernalillo County commissioners.

"It's important for states to bring proven-effective alcohol prevention programs, like Protecting You/Protecting Me, to schools to help protect children from the dangers of underage alcohol use," said Terry Huertaz, MADD New Mexico executive director. "Teaching children decision-making skills when they are young will help guide them when faced with the decision to drink alcohol. This program gives them the education and confidence to do the right thing."

PY/PM is the only curriculum of its kind that educates first through fifth grade children about the impact of alcohol on the developing brain, decision-making and safety skills, and how to protect themselves if riding with an alcohol-impaired driver. Nationally, two out of three children killed in alcohol-related crashes were riding with a drinking driver in the years 1997 to 2002. The average age youth report drinking is 16 years old, although many take their first drink as early as age 12. Alcohol is the No. 1 drug choice of our nation's youth and kills more young people than all other illicit drugs combined.

Evaluation results comparing students who participated in PY/PM and students who did not showed that students' knowledge increased four times more on the importance of protecting their brains and that their brains continue to develop through their mid 20s; five times more on vehicle safety skills such as how to protect themselves if riding in a car with an alcohol-impaired driver; and six times more on media literacy such as the portrayal of alcohol in advertising.

The results were complied over three years from pre and post surveys of 3,000 students.

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- First lady Laura Bush visited Bel Air Elementary School in Albuquerque, N.M. today and observed second grade students while they learned "Stop and Think It Through" - an important lesson on making good choices and how those decisions can keep them...
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2006-00-03
Monday, 03 April 2006 12:00 AM
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