'It was not fun': Students handuffed, shackled by U.S. marshals

News-DemocratNovember 5, 2013 

Belleville West senior Steven Roberts, 17, of Belleville, Illinois, volunteered to be handcuffed and shackled by Deputy U.S. Marshal Ryan Marten during a presentation to high school seniors Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. Deputy U.S. Marshal James Brigham, and his canine companion, Cocoa, were also at the school.

JAMIE FORSYTHE/BND

Belleville West senior Steven Roberts, 17, of Belleville volunteered to be handcuffed and shackled by Deputy U.S. Marshal Ryan Marten during a presentation to high school seniors Tuesday morning.

"It was not fun," Steven said afterward. "I felt restrained. It's something I would never want to experience."

Marten and Deputy U.S. Marshal James Brigham shared their experiences with the students who hammered the marshals with questions including how much they make a year.

Brigham said he will earn about $105,000 this year, "but I got two kids your age so I don't get to have any of it."

Brigham was accompanied by his K-9 dog Cocoa, who never left his side. Cocoa, a 16-month old Labrador retriever, is trained to detect explosives. Brigham said Cocoa can detect 219 explosive odors. "She's smarter than me," he admitted. "I pick up her poop so who's smarter."

Cocoa is able to find guns in vehicles and buildings by detecting the smell of gun powder residue. "Unfortunately in this area, there are a lot of firearm crimes," Brigham said. "We take guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them and get them off the streets."

Marten described the U.S. Marshals Service as "the sheriff's department of the United States." He said U.S. Marshals handle everything from prisoner transportation to fugitive apprehension. "The most important rule of any law enforcement office is 'at the end of the day we all go home,'" he said.

Marten warned the students to stay away from drugs. He said he had a sister and a brother-in-law both die from drug overdoses. "I hate drug dealers," he told the seniors.

Brigham said drug reside can be found on a lot of money being circulated in the United States. He told the students to "wash your hands and don't put money in your mouth."

Brigham said the toughest part of his job is "seeing what little kids are exposed to" including horrible living conditions and violent behavior.

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Kim Young, a teacher at Signal Hill School in Belleville, was recently named a Peabody Energy Leader in Education and awarded $1,000 for her dedication and commitment to students.

A 20-year teaching veteran, Young, who started her career in special education, believes educators should first determine how a child learns best, then execute that learning through differentiation and teaching style. She helps others by mentoring new teachers throughout the year and initiating a supplemental training program tutorial for Signal Hill's special education department. Young also serves on the School Improvement Team and is co-president of the Signal Hill Education Association.

The Peabody Energy Leaders in Education program rewards dedicated education professionals who inspire and motivate youth to succeed. Award recipients are selected throughout the school year by a committee of top educators and business leaders.

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All Highland Middle School students and their parents are invited to the technology and engineering open house from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Highland High School, 12760 Troxler Ave. This is a chance to see some of the projects that are going on in courses middle schoolers might want to take at the high school.

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The national, nonprofit organization Ride For Reading based in Nashville, Tenn., will visit Henry Raab School in Belleville Friday to deliver 400 books. This marks the first time the group has visited a St. Clair County school. In May, Ride For Reading distributed books to students at Kreitner Elementary School in Collinsville. To find out more about the group, visit http://www.rideforreading.org.

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East St. Louis School District 189 and Chartwells Food Service invites East St. Louis community members to a free community appreciation dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14 at Mason Clark Middle School in East St. Louis. The first 1,500 guest will receive a traditional turkey dinner along with a giveaway of hats, scarves and gloves. Chartwells will provide the dinner, and the East St. Louis High School Jazz Ensemble will perform.

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Wolf Branch elementary and middle schools will host an "At the Movies" Trivia Night on Saturday, Nov. 16 to raise funds for the fourth- through eighth-grade band program. The doors will open at 6 p.m. with the trivia game beginning at 7 p.m. at the middle school located at 410 Huntwood in Swansea. The cost is $100 for a table of eight or $15 for individuals if registering before Friday. Next week, a table of eight will be $120 or $20 for individual players. Popcorn will be free, and soda and water will be available for $1. For more information, contact Stefanie Roy at sroy72@yahoo.com.

Do you have an item for Education Matters or an education-related story tip? We want to know about it. Send your ideas to Jamie Forsythe at education@bnd.com or call 618-239-2562. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BND_JForsythe.

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