RUMFORD — Rumford police and Mountain Valley High School officials continue to drive home the importance of students’ making good choices.

On Thursday morning, police Chief Stacy Carter, Capt. Daniel Garbarini, Detective Sgt. James Bernard and Sgt. Tracey Higley and MVHS Principal Matt Gilbert conducted a surprise safety stop in the school parking lot.

From 7 a.m. to about 8 a.m., they stopped every vehicle driving in and gave each driver who was wearing a safety belt a candy bar affixed with a sticker that said “Good Choices = Good Consequences.”

Those not wearing safety belts didn’t get a candy bar.

Higley said Friday afternoon that police and Gilbert also handed out material asking drivers to pledge not to use their cell phones while driving or text while driving.

Instead, police want them to pull over to the side of the road and stop to do that.

Students and adults were also asked to spread the word to other teens.

‘We gave out more than 170 candy bars with the positive message stickers,” Higley said.

In fact, they ran out of candy bars, many of which were donated by Wal-Mart, and gave students IOUs to get the candy bars to them later during the school day, Higley said.

Thursday’s traffic stop followed Wednesday’s Seat Belt Convincer demonstration, which taught students the importance of buckling up.

“Very few drivers were not wearing seat belts,” he said. “So they were showing that they were listening.”

On Monday, May 16, the Keep Students Safe program will have a totaled car from an operating-under-the-influence accident in the MVHS parking lot to reinforce the program’s message about what can happen when drunken or drugged drivers get behind the wheel and drive.

The program, which Higley and Sgt. Douglas Maifeld and school officials launched three years ago, is aimed at helping young people make good choices.

On Wednesday, May 18, Higley said he and a lawyer from Joe Bornstein’s office in Lewiston will talk to students about current Maine laws that will affect them.

This past Tuesday, Higley taught a three-hour class on the Fourth Amendment to students and will do so again on Monday, May 16. His last Keeping Students Safe presentation will be on Friday, May 27.

“All of this is an ongoing effort to help get our messages about making good choices out there,” he said.

The program concludes with a bonfire and barbecue on May 30, after which participating students will be taken to Old Orchard Beach for fun and games.

Graduation will be held on Thursday, June 2, Higley said.

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