News and Press Releases

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Betsy C. Jividen

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist


April 16, 2010

The Choice Bus Scheduled to Visit
Wheeling Park High School

WHEELING, WEST VIRGINIA — Acting United States Attorney Betsy C. Jividen announced that The Choice Bus, an experience-based learning tool designed to encourage students to stay in school, will visit freshman and sophomore students at Wheeling Park High School on Tuesday, April 20. The timing of the visit is scheduled to coincide with the observance of National Crime Victims Rights Week.

Half-prison cell and half-classroom, The Choice Bus is the newest tool created by The Mattie C. Stewart Foundation and is the nation’s first mobile experience dedicated to increasing the graduation rate in our schools. Students board the bus to learn about the possible consequences of choosing to drop out of school, which studies show is all too often a life of crime and prison sentences. More than 1.2 million students drop out of school every year, at the rate of more than 7,000 students per day. According to statistics, approximately seventy-five percent of state prison inmates, and fifty-nine percent of federal inmates, have dropped out of school, and more than eighty percent overall are illiterate. The premise behind The Choice Bus is that keeping kids in school will help keep them out of prison.

“The United States Attorney’s Office is especially pleased to be able to provide this opportunity for students to spend some time thinking about the important choices ahead of them and realizing the lifelong benefits to be gained from staying in school,” stated Acting USA Jividen. “We applaud the Administration at Wheeling Park High School for taking a pro-active approach by educating our high school students, and we hope to bring The Choice Bus to other schools throughout the district in the near future.”

The Mattie C. Steward Foundation is a national non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the dropout rate in our nation’s schools. The presentation lasts approximately twenty minutes and includes a four minute movie featuring some powerful testimonials from prison inmates. Students participate in a question and answer session and then tour the life size replica of a jail cell, where they can see firsthand the stark reality and uncomfortable living conditions experienced by many who drop out of school and into a life of crime.

More information about The Choice Bus is available on the website of the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation at :