Dallas County middle school students learn about prison life, good choices

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 6:05 PM CDT
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DALLAS COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The talk Wednesday at a Dallas County middle school had a little bit of everything: fear, humor and just plain facts. The students now have an assignment to last a lifetime.

Inside the gym at Tipton Middle School in Dallas County, student got some hard core truths about prison life.

“And they put you in cage like a dadgum wild animal. You’re in a fence like you keep a dog in, all 12 or 14 of you,” said Dallas County Sheriff Mike Granthum.

District Attorney Michael Jackson added his flavor on what it means to make good choices in life and don’t hang with the bad folks.

“Now his best friend who used to live down in my neighborhood who dropped out of engineering school in college,” said Jackson as he recounted a story he knew about.

The gathering Wednesday was part of Wallace Community College’s Educational Talent Search program.

“In light of what’s going on nationally with the police and also young African-American males, this was a program to drive home the importance of making positive decisions,” said program director Corey Bowie.

The message at the school could not have been more timely. So far this year in Selma there’ve been five homicides and seven people arrested in connection to other violent crimes.

“I actually thought it was going to be a little boring,” said 13-year-old Jaqarius Watts.

Jaqarius has bought into their game plan to stay away from trouble.

“My favorite part was when he told the stories about what happens in jail,” said Watts.

As a team the three men battled for the hearts and minds of youngsters in sixth through eighth grades at Tipton Middle, the beginning of a new journey to help them win in life.

Bowie says the Educational Talent Search program will reach 10 schools in Dallas and Perry counties and more than 800 students.

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