'Choice Bus' makes stops to keep kids in school

CONWAY, SC (WMBF ) - Every 26 seconds, a student drops out of school in the U.S. Now, Horry County schools are working to reduce the dropout rate for your kids, using The Choice Bus, the latest tool to keep your kids in class.

The bus is making stops across South Carolina to show your kids the consequences of not staying in school. The program is stressing the fact that a high school dropout loses more than just an education.

From the outside it looks like a typical bus, from the inside you can see a jail cell to show your kids where they could end up, if they drop out of school. The Choice Bus is a place students, across the U.S. are taking steps to a better future.

The ride takes less than a half hour and starts with a video; real prisoners, telling real kids, one wrong choice can put them behind bars, because sometimes, seeing, is believing.

"We talked to them about one of the girls in the video. She was only fourteen years old and one of her big mistakes was hanging around the wrong kids who were convincing her to make the wrong decisions," says Chermaine Brown with The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation.

After the video, a curtain reveals the reality, a reality few students missed today.

"Hanging around the wrong kids does affect your future ... it made me feel that I didn't want to be or wind up in jail or [DJJ]," says Bridget Dunbar.  She got to ride on The Choice Bus, Wednesday.

Believe it or not, The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation says eight out of 10 school dropouts end up behind bars. In order to keep your kids from joining that statistic, the foundation wants to force students to think, before they quit.

State Farm is funding the bus stops across our state, with the goal of improving the dropout rate.

About 77 percent of Horry County students graduate on time, putting your kids lower than the national average. The goal is to get all of our students to complete their education, and organizers say this could help.

At the end of their time in the bus, each student signs a pledge to stay in school.

The goal of the choice bus, reduce the dropout rate, but more importantly, teach your kids, in everything they do, "The choice is yours."

The next stop for the choice bus will be Myrtle Beach High school, Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. By the end of the two days, 1,500 Horry County students will have boarded the bus.

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