Some convicts spent some time outside of prison on Wednesday to visit with students at O’Connor High School. They talked about the consequences of wrong decisions.
While some parents may find this unnerving, Doug Cavanaugh is happy to see it. He knows what it is like to be given a second chance.
More than 20 years ago, Cavanaugh spent two years in prison for burglary. He has a daughter that attends O’Connor and said that this is beneficial for all parties, including the convicts.
“I think this gives an opportunity to give these guys a second chance, but also that we don’t have to give our children that same second chance,” he said.
Roel Sanchez was among the hundreds of O’Connor students who heard the testimonials. The convicts are from the Stevenson facility in Cuero.
“Me, as a senior and going into the ‘real world,’ this is good for me to hear,” he said.
Assistant Warden Fredrick Merida said that the event is impactful for everyone. The three inmates that spoke are considered “trustees” and are part of a statewide program. They tour different schools in the area to talk to students about the reality of making poor choices.
Each of these men, are in prison for vehicular manslaughter.
Teacher Jennifer Bradley has helped bring this kind of program to the school. She said that the high school has done it for several years.
“They need to hear it from several different sources,” she said. “Not from the teachers and not from their parents, but from other people, the people who have actually lived it. I think that is going to have more of an impact than us just telling them.”
The three convicts are vetted and are guarded by security officers during their presentations. In order for a student to hear the offenders speak, they had to have a permission note signed by parent. If they did not participate, they were given another assignment.
Only parents with students in the Family Consumer Sciences Department were sent out notes about the visit.