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The mournful tone of bells at the start of AC/DC’s classic rock song “Hell’s Bells” heard on Tuesday (June 18, 2019) took me back a few years.

OK. More than a few years.

I sat among students at an area middle school. In this particular classroom, two corrections officers, or COs, shared a video about how inmates at a state correctional institution spend Christmas. A reporter at the time, I was assigned to write a story about the presentation.

With the song’s beginning instrumentals easing viewers into the message, it went on to feature inmates describing the holidays behind bars. Along with the video, the COs brought a gift that inmates received. Nothing fancy, no ribbon or wrapping paper. It was a cache of toiletries — I remember toothpaste as one of the items — gathered in a red, fishnet-like bag. The COs passed the gift around the room to let the students get a closeup look.

So, in hearing that song Tuesday, I got to thinking about those students. I wondered how many have gone on to live good lives and make good choices. I wondered if any had, unfortunately, taken wrong turns in their lives.

In that same vein, I also thought about the Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE, program and its effectiveness over the years. Has it helped many a former student stray from the temptations of drug and alcohol abuse, or have these students fallen prey to those evils?

As a parent, I hope that the information available about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and my own guidance about those dangers, will keep my own children on the straight and narrow. Almost daily, they are reminded to “make good choices” and do good things with their lives. It’s something that a parent could certainly hope for when it comes to their children’s futures.