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News >  K-12 education

Cheney students make PSA on dangers of pot

Cheney High School and Three Springs High School students collaborated on a public service announcement about the dangers of driving after smoking marijuana.  (Kimberly Lusk)
Cheney High School and Three Springs High School students collaborated on a public service announcement about the dangers of driving after smoking marijuana. (Kimberly Lusk)
By Nina Culver For The Spokesman-Review

Students at Cheney High School and Three Springs High School partnered together to make a public service announcement television commercial warning their peers about the dangers of driving after smoking marijuana. The commercial will begin airing on KREM on Memorial Day weekend, targeting its message to youth ages 16 to 25.

The PSA features a student sitting in his car at school while another student offers him a joint. The driver hesitates as a police officer appears in his back seat and reminds him of the possible consequences. “If you get pulled over, you could get a DUI, lose your license for up to a year and have thousands of dollars in fines. Is it worth it?”

The police officer is then replaced by a football coach who reminds the driver that his athletic career will be in jeopardy if he smokes and drives. Then two students appear in the back seat, who say they want no part of it and will be finding another ride. The driver then refuses the joint.

The PSA was headed up by the High School Health Helpers Club at Cheney High School, said lead club adviser Jessica Deutsch. She was approached by a representative of the Target Zero Task Force, who wanted some student-led PSAs that talk about various dangers while driving, Deutsch said.

It was the club members who came up with the idea of making a PSA about driving after smoking marijuana because they said they didn’t think people understood how dangerous it is, said Deutsch. “They said, this is what we see at our school and it’s probably happening at other schools,” she said.

Deutsch recruited the school’s school resource officer, Airway Heights police officer Patrick Carbaugh, to be in the video. “His chief was super quick to say ‘yes,’” she said.

Eastern Washington University football coach Aaron Best also agreed to appear in the commercial.

Student Jacob Ulrich played the driver in the commercial while Julia Lucas played the student offering the joint and Jenae Potter and Lucas Hooe were the students in the back seat. Multiple other students worked behind the scenes and the students from Three Springs High School provided the video and technical skills.

There are two versions of the commercial; the full minute long version and a 30-second version that does not include Best or the students in the back seat declining a ride. The commercial is scheduled to air on KREM throughout the summer.

“Those are the 100 deadliest days for students ages 16 to 25,” she said.

Potter, a senior at Cheney High School, said the club took its job seriously and took time to figure out how to create the PSA. After deciding on the subject matter, members had to decide how to film it, including how to transition from person to person in the video.

“We took a few weeks prior to brainstorm,” she said. “None of us is a film student.”

She said she enjoyed the process of creating and filming the commercial. “It’s the first time we’d done something like that and I think we’ll do more in the future,” she said.

Potter said the PSA is meant for her peers, who often aren’t thinking about long term consequences when they make decisions. “Your choices matter,” she said. “The decisions we make now can affect our lives later, whether it’s substance abuse or something else.”

The PSA is available online at youtu.be/LiRBGNElbu4.

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