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Wearing seat belts rewarding for students

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / October 26, 1998

LAPLACE – Some were puzzled. Some were surprised. Many were caughtshort of the law requiring the use of seat belts in vehicles.

St. John Parish District 10 Member Matt Ory brought a bright idea fromwork and taught a lesson in positive reinforcement Thursday morning at East St. John High School.As students began to arrive at school, Ory (joined by Superintendent of Schools Cleveland Farlough, Assistant Superintendent Chris Donaldson and Louisiana State Trooper Kevin Cannatella) handed out Susan B. Anthony $1coins to every student driver who arrived wearing a seat belt.

“I can’t believe they’re making us late for class with this!” student Misty Noble exclaimed. “But it’s a good idea.”Ory said the same experiment was tried where he works at British Petroleum three years ago. He missed his chance for a dollar on thatoccasion, and it taught him a lesson.

“I’ve been wanting to do this ever since,” Ory commented.

He continued, “This is not to punish people for not wearing them. Insteadof punishing those who are not, we’re rewarding those who do.”All students, regardless, received an ink pen and a key chain from Cannatella, along with a gentle reminder to wear seat belts in the future.

“I always wear my seat belt,” Jennifer Wright asserted. Lamon Robertsonsaid his car automatically buckles him in as he closes the door.

The results, though, were educational. Ory estimated only one-third of thedrivers were wearing seat belts and, though he started with $100 in dollar coins, he had plenty left when the school day began.

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