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Hannah Fredrickson is my new hero in a world with few heroes left! You see, Hannah did something almost no one her age or in her position would have done – she told the truth, in pictures no less, in the Conifer High yearbook, about the sad prevalence of alcohol and drug use by her classmates at Conifer High School, located in Conifer, Colorado. According to the Rocky Mountain News, Hannah, a senior and the yearbook editor, and her staff, made the decision to shine a light on some serious issues for their senior yearbook instead of the usual fare of senior smiles and silly stuff.

An admirable choice, right? You might think the town would have held a parade in their honor or they might have received some positive reinforcement for such a noble effort…but, sadly they did not. In fact, after publishing the yearbook, which included at least five pages of under-aged teenagers drinking and drugging, and several pictures of students proudly holding up citations for under-aged drinking, many parents condemned the pictures and the yearbook staff that published them.

What is going on here?? Are the inmates running the institution???? Hannah and her staff should have been commended for placing an emphasis on a very real alcohol and drug problem in not only their school but so many others across our nation!

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation the deadliest season of the year for teenage drivers is Spring. 71 teens died in car crashes in Colorado in 2006 – a third of them died during the months of April, May and June. And, Colorado’s own ‘drive smart’ site warns that speeding, alcohol and ‘party drugs’ greatly increase the risk of injury and death. So why did the school ‘cave’ and send an apology letter to the parents????

Hannah and her staff couldn’t have known how their warnings might have saved two of their classmates if they had only lived long enough to receive their yearbooks. You see, only days before the yearbook came out 16 year-old Justin Dorrance, a Conifer High student and six of his friends were in Justin’s Jeep when it left the road and rolled 1 ½ times finally coming to a rest upside down and partially submerged in a creek. According to the local Channel 9 news, the Colorado State Patrol was investigating the accident and they indicated that while alcohol and speed were not suspected to have caused the accident that drugs were.

All I can say is, Hannah YOU GO GIRL!! To the parents who complained and to the school administrator’s who ‘caved’, I say, SHAME ON YOU!

Written By: Carol J. Gibbons, J.D.

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