WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Middle and high school students are learning lessons from a different type of teacher. District Attorney Ben David is speaking to students around New Hanover and Pender Counties encouraging them to make good decisions. Sometimes the DA takes away just as much as his audience.
“We’ve had three different arrests that have taken place recently based upon information that school resource officers and others have learned after I’ve left talking to these young people,” David said.
David is going from the courtroom to the classroom trying to get local students involved in their own safety at an early age. The school talks started back in 2004. David says they are making some serious strides.
“The most recent example I had of real leadership was a young person who came up to me right after the talk to report that there was a drug dealer in his neighborhood that was dealing to children,” David said. “I’ve had young women come forward to say they’ve been sexually assaulted at home or by a total stranger.”
Many students at Cape Fear Academy, where David spoke Wednesday, have been hearing the district attorney speak for years. They say his message truly makes a difference.
“I’ve had a few friends that I’ve stopped from doing things because of the speeches he’s given,” student Ben Tiller said. “I was like, ‘Listen: the DA, he comes to talk to us every year. Don’t do it. I don’t want to lose you.'”
David tailors each of his speeches based on problems a given school or community has recently been dealing with. This year his focus for high schoolers is on new driving laws and the use of prescription drugs.
“I had lost one of my friends to something, which was exactly what he was talking about, so it was nice to hear him remind us that we are able to look out for each other within the community,” Olivia Tucker said.
David continues his talks at Murray Middle School and Ashley High School next week.