Porter County coroner talks to students about choices

2014-01-22T17:00:00Z 2014-01-23T00:06:19Z Porter County coroner talks to students about choicesCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

ST. JOHN | About 800 Clark Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders had a lesson in making good choices Wednesday.

Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris was the guest speaker at the middle school.

Harris, who told the students he has been coroner or deputy coroner for 10 years, said it's important young people understand for every decision or choice they make, there is a consequence.

Using slides, Harris showed how drugs can affect the body. He told students that marijuana is a "gateway" drug, something he does not believe should be legalized.

"Every day you make a choice," he told students. "You choose to get up. You choose to get on the bus and come to school. Parents often ask you about who you're hanging out with. That's because the people you hang out with sometimes indicates the kind of person you will become. Often, it's your friend who will introduce you to drugs, not the local drug dealer."

He also told students that when they make choices, they are not the only people involved. He said the choices people make affect those around them.

Without showing a dead body, Harris talked about the different scenes he has investigated over the years. He showed slides of a young woman before using drugs and after eight months of drug use. He talked about another case where a 70-year-old woman drove over what she thought was a black garbage bag, only to find out later it was a man on a moped who had been hit by a car.

The elderly woman was the second person to hit the body. After the investigation, the coroner and police detectives found that another man who had been out drinking and driving was the first person to run into the man on the moped.

Science teacher and department head Kerry Cooper, who organized the presentation, said the students learned a lot from the presentation.

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