Bullying has its consequences, no matter your age. One North Dakota Sheriff took matters into his own hands after the problem in Underwood Public School’s 8th grade class escalated too far.
“There were many instances, like name calling, and then there was also some physically bullying, actually,” said Dawson Beck.
Because it had gotten so bad, McLean County Sheriff JR Kerzmann was brought into the class a few months ago. There he made a promise with the students. If they cleaned up their act, he would personally give them a tour of the jail. So, they did.
Beck added, “We kind of just put our differences aside a little bit, and we tried to get along with each other.”
“We decided that bullying wasn’t really worth it, and being more of a team would have better consequences,” said Hannah Backer.
Sheriff Kerzmann had a few things planned for the students. That included a pizza lunch and…. a talk from an inmate who was a bully himself. He’s in jail for aggravated assault, and is facing federal charges.
“He tells you where bullying is going to get you. When you become an adult, there’s consequences for your actions, much more than what a school could probably put in or juvenile court can do,” said Sheriff Kerzmann.
The students were able to ask him questions and learn from his mistakes. This method of deterrence really seemed to resonate with the students.
“Just because someone might make you mad, you should really think about what you do before you do it. Like the officer said, he could be facing time in prison for the rest of his life, and I don’t think that’s somewhere where anyone really wants to be,” said Backer.
It wasn’t strictly an episode of ‘scared straight’ for these students. They got an up-close look of an armored car and a demonstration from one of the county’s drug dogs.