'Jail' bus shows Long Island students consequences of making bad choices

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (WABC) -- Nearly 1,000 students on Long Island got a first-hand look at what could happen if they dropped out of school.

They got to experience the "Choice Bus", a half-prison cell, half-classroom converted school bus.

Organizers hope it sends a very powerful and visual message of two very different paths.

Two sides. Two choices.

"Being in a gang, showing off to your friends, and all this stuff, it's not worth it," the students were told on the bus.

Freshmen at Hempstead High School not only got to hear about what happens when you make bad choices.

It's called The Choice Bus. It's a Collaboration with State Farm and The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation.

The bus travels the country showing young people about the importance of staying in school and making good decisions.

"It's a drop out prevention tool that just exposes kids to the positive consequences or the positive rewards behind getting an education and some of the likely consequences of not getting an education," said Eryka Perry of The Choice Bus.

"If I do A, what happens with B, if I do B what happens with C and so on, so I want them to look at cause and effect," said Hempstead High counselor Raheem Isom.

Everything in the prison cell has been used in actual prisons, even the toilet.

"You guys may also have noticed there's no stall, no wall, no curtain, no door around that toilet because there's not one in jail," the driver said.

When the kids leave the bus they're all given a pledge card to sign. It asks them to commit to seeking out good friends, working hard at school and graduating.

"It also showed me how hanging out with bad people can actually lead you to jail or even worse," said student Lorena Delcid.

"Do you think this will help show kids why it's important to stay in school and not get in trouble?," we asked "I hope so. But kids are stubborn. So they may not listen. But eventually life always teaches the lesson," said student Brianne Black.

The hope here is that some of those lessons could be avoided.

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