Staff Editorial: Students should realize consequences of making bad choices

Hundreds of parents and students shuffled in to the gym Aug 31. Every volleyball player, football star and Chambers singer found a seat in the bleachers. All sports and activities registered in the Kansas State High School Activities Association were required to attend the Wrong of Passage presentation. This hour and a half didn’t bring up anything students hadn’t heard before.
Drinking is bad, so don’t do it.
Reality check: Teenage drinking and substance abuse is nothing new. It’s been around for decades and most likely won’t disappear in the near future.
However, shocking statistics reveal that underage drinking is far more prevalent than we first thought.
According to a newly-released survey, 13 is now the average age of consuming alcohol for the first time. Those seventh graders who begin drinking are also four times more likely to develop alcoholism later in life. Oh, and nationally each week, at least 42 adolescents will die in a drinking-related accident.
This is a difficult problem with no easy solution. The warnings of parents, teachers and school administrators can wash away with just one sip.
We’ve heard the horror stories.
The senior from some other school dying in a drunk-driving accident. That kid who needed his stomach pumped at 3 a.m. to keep him alive. The person who loses her license from multiple DUIs.
So what will it take for a teenager to step up and realize drinking is a dangerous habit? Imagine your best friend being killed by a drunk driver. Or how about you killing your best friend in an accident?
“No way. That could never happen to me.”
“I’m not that stupid, I would never let that happen.”
Remember those kids from the over-told horror stories of drinking? That’s exactly what they thought, too.
The truth is, teenagers are not super human. We don’t have nine lives or bullet-proof skin. And as much as we like to think so, we definitely don’t know everything.
A mother’s story of the night she received a 1 a.m. phone call from the hospital could break anyone’s heart. Would you want to put your family through that pain? The heartache lives on as a reminder to other teenagers that drinking harms not just you, but your friends and family as well.
If your family doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to act responsibly, maybe your teammates and coaches are.
Consuming alcohol on a regular basis slows the body down, adds extra weight to the body and causes permanent brain damage.
No coach or teammate wants an athlete who continuously hurts the performance of the rest of the team.
Take a look at the consequences that directly affect you.
The $1,300 drunk-driving ticket. The criminal record you earn from underage drinking. The long-term brain and liver damage.
The bad decisions you regret for years to come.
The message from the Wrong of Passage may sound like a broken record, the horror stories drawn-out and warnings from parents and school officials monotonous.
The only way to cease these stories and warnings is to put words in to action.
Think before you let yourself be pressured into one more drink.
Think before you get behind the wheel of a car after a long night.
Be aware and be smart. Don’t allow yourself to become another statistic.