BY Ashley Conroy
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) -- Student officers from around the state that are part of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) gathered at the Jackson Convention Complex on Thursday to learn about avoiding bad decisions.
Several workshops took place including one on seat belt safety that was a hands-on demonstration where students sat in a machine that allowed them to feel what an accident is like going 5mph.
About 600 students from 27 different middle and high schools from around the state participated.
State Coordinator Robin Layton says the goal is for student officers to bring back what they learned to their peers.
"What they actually do is they motivate other students. So it's that peer-to-peer to education that is so important," Layton said.
Several break out sessions were offered where students learned about the dangers of drinking and driving, texting and driving, sexting, cyber-bullying, to wearing a seat belt.
"The big thing with our generation, is that we have to set an example for each other," said Murrah High School Student and SADD Participant, Brittany Cavett. "So if I do something my other friend will be like that's the right decision and I'll do it too."
Students did anything from draw tee-shirts reinforcing positive behavior, to dancing and playing games during their break.
The purpose was to show there's more to having fun than engaging in destructive behavior.
"And I think it's important for all the schools out there and all the students to know that there are consequences that you'll have to face," said Sophomore Alison Hardinson from Magnolia Heights High School in Senatobia.
Students also had the chance to ride what's called the "seat belt convincer." This demonstration is run my the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the goal is to demonstrate to students the impact with a seat on, only going 5mph.
"Five miles is faster than you think," said SADD participant, Shani Walker.
Senior Victoria Mills from Brandon High School agrees. "If you didn't have a seat belt you'd definitely hit the front of that thing, possibly the windshield or get thrown out."
At the end of the session, those students who sit on the Mississippi Student Advisory Board (MSAB) conducted a play for the other participants of SADD.
MSAB students asked difficult questions to the crowd such as whether they had been affected by drinking and driving, or if they had been affected by cyber-bullying, etc.
Students were asked to stand if one of these issues had affected them. Many students were not shy about confronting these issues.
"There is many things that you can learn here to take back to your school and I'll be sure to do that," said SADD participant and Louisville High School Sophomore Alundin Pledge.
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