Teenagers have many opportunities to make difficult, and sometimes dangerous choices. The Cheney High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter is there to help educate students in the challenges they face.
SADD, which has been active on the Cheney campus for 33 years, originally stood for Students Against Drinking and Driving until 2006. Chapter president Rose Smith said Cheney is part of a larger organization. According to it’s website, SADD has been the leading organization committed to saving lives and empowering teens to stand strong against making destructive decisions for over 30 years.
This year’s SADD chapter has 30 members, a big improvement from last year according to Smith and new adviser Megan McCormick, who previously ran a similar club at an Idaho middle school where she previously taught. One of the reasons for the boost in membership, Smith said, was SADD became more prevalent on campus in 2014 than in years past.
“Last year we did a better job of spreading the word about the club and explaining to students why we do this,” Smith said. “We also got more involved in school.”
Smith, who wants to work in exercise science and with athletes, joined SADD during her sophomore year at a friend’s recommendation.
“It means a lot to me to help students and help keep them safe, as well as see them smile,” Smith said.
Part of SADD’s mission is to help educate students about the facts and consequences of underage smoking, drinking and drug use. For November, SADD is creating posters for Tobacco Prevention Month that emphasizes the dangers of nicotine.
Although SADD focuses on preventing and raising awareness about substance abuse among high school students, Smith said the chapter’s approach to this is to present the information to classmates and let them make their own choices. She added that the club will be working on activities throughout the year such as the craft fair and bazaar fundraiser.
Another part of SADD’s mission is raising awareness about the dangers of impaired driving. This not only includes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but also when someone is operating a vehicle while texting, or when they are stressed or tired. Smith said happiness and anger can also affect someone’s driving.
“If you are super happy or if you’re driving with road rage, you’re less likely to take traffic laws into consideration,” Smith said. “One of the reasons we focus so much on driving is that it can be hazardous, especially for teens.”
Smith also hopes the club can host a mock crash during some point in the year.
In recent years, SADD has focused on other issues such as depression, bullying, violence and suicide prevention.
“With suicide prevention, if we started to address it now, more people are going to be aware of it, it’s going to be more prevalent,” Smith said. “We (SADD) want to look at why suicide happens and create ways to hopefully avoid it.”