Youths experiencing discipline issues with parents or trouble at school might consider getting a free “Reality Check” beginning in February at the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, said Sheriff Robert Arnold.
“Project Reality Check” is a two-hour educational program for at-risk youth ages 12 to 17 and their parents or guardians. The program shows at-risk youth the potential consequences of continued delinquent behavior and its impact on their lives and personal freedoms.
“At risk teens are often warned many times of the consequences of their unruly behavior but rarely believe these consequences will happen to them,” Sheriff Arnold said. “They believe their families, teachers, counselors and even law enforcement officers exaggerate the truth until it’s too late. I am committed to finding ways of diverting our county’s youth from the judicial system by showing them the reality of their delinquent behavior.”
Project Reality Check is coordinated by the School Resource Officers Division and the Adult Detention Center staff. One session will be conducted each month for 10 to 12 youths.
Youths will be chosen through Youth Services and SRO referrals. Parents may also contact SRO Sgt. Bob Weeks for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 904-3066.
Students who participate in Project Reality Check will undergo an educational tour led by officers focused on making good choices at the Sheriff’s Office and the Adult Detention Center, Sgt. Weeks said.
Meanwhile, parents and guardians will take a tour of detention followed by an informational program to discuss the challenges young people face.
Detention Lt. Chris Deal said the youths will tour a pod housing inmates. Three inmates will share personal stories with the youth, parents and guardians about the effects of poor choices and the impact on others.
“They will talk about their trials and tribulations,” Lt. Deal said.
SRO Ronnie Ralston of Stewart Creek Middle School said Project Reality Check will be suited for youths who show behavioral problems, disrespect and minor infractions of the law.
“This is a proactive program and we hope to turn them in the right direction and give them a glimpse of reality of what their actions might bring, the consequences,” SRO Ralston said.
Public information officer
Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office