Batesville H.S. starting SADD group after recent tragedy - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Batesville H.S. starting SADD group after recent tragedy

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BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Most people still think of the group SADD as Students Against Driving Drunk, but the organization has expanded its focus in recent years and has also tried to grow its membership.

This week, Batesville High School became one of only two schools in the state to create its own SADD chapter.

A recent classmate's death and other tragedies in nearby districts have inspired the Batesville students to get involved and start their SADD club, which now stands for Students Against Destructive Decisions.

The school held an assembly Wednesday morning so that the tenth through twelfth grade students could learn how they could get involved with SADD.

 "I just hope that we help our people here, our students," said Junior Travis Swaim, "and prevent a bunch of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, anything that will hurt someone else in the future."

Swaim first brought up the idea to the high school administration to start a SADD club locally.

"Because in our district and surrounding districts," he said, "there's a lot of bullying and suicides due to bullying and there's just a bunch of alcohol abuse, drug abuse in our community, and I think this would be a good way to help the people in our community and our school to kind of lessen that."

One of his teachers, Sarah Pickett, volunteered to lead the local SADD club as faculty adviser.

"We just want to give [the students] something positive that they could put their energy into," Pickett said, "instead of drinking, driving, doing drugs or destructive things that they could be doing with their time."

To get more students involved, Pickett brought in some help – her older brother, Christopher Payne.

"I was here today to speak with [the students] about starting the club, to get them inspired, give them hope and give them just a family," Payne said, "a community of students to belong to and empower them to make a difference."

Payne serves as a national advisor for SADD and leads the nation's number one club located in Dothan, Alabama.

"Organizations throughout our community and throughout the state, we're working with trying to volunteer with them," he said, "and it gets these kids invested in the community and show them that their time can be used to make the world a better place."

After his speech Wednesday, Payne passed out contracts that all potential SADD club members have to sign. The contract is supposed to be a lifelong one, and details that a student will not engage in destructive behaviors, like drinking and driving or drug abuse.

Payne says Batesville seems to be starting strongly based solely on how quickly the students snapped up those contracts before leaving the assembly.

"Even if just one kid changes," Swaim said, "that's still changing one kid, and that's still changing somebody's life so that seems like it'd be a success to me."

The Batesville High SADD Club will hold its first official meeting Thursday during lunch, so the school will find out then just how much interest the assembly created.

To learn more about SADD or how you can start a club at your school, follow this link.

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