Seamy Side

Successful Farming - - PRODUCT TEST TEAM -

Ru­ral Amer­ica is filled with images of 4-H kids show­ing pur­ple-rib­bon win­ning steers, high school heroes scor­ing touch­downs, and lazy days at the lake. There’s a seamy side, though, that per­vades the coun­try­side.

Metham­phetamine rav­ages ru­ral ar­eas. “It’s the big­gest drug prob­lem we have,” says Dale Elsen, who has been Mar­shall County, South Dakota, sher­iff since 1983.

Other cases Elsen en­coun­ters are just plain evil. Last Oc­to­ber, Mar­shall County was rocked by a re­port of five res­i­dents charged with mul­ti­ple sex­ual abuse charges, in­clud­ing rape and pos­sess­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, or dis­tribut­ing child pornog­ra­phy.

So how can ru­ral fam­i­lies keep their chil­dren on the right path?

One ad­van­tage small schools have is that they of­ten need stu­dents in or­der to make school ac­tiv­i­ties go. This keeps stu­dents busy and out of trou­ble while giv­ing them a sense of be­long­ing, says Monte Nipp, su­per­in­ten­dent of Lang­ford Area Pub­lic School in Lang­ford, South Dakota.

“Diane Hoines (play direc­tor and a re­tired teacher) makes it her goal to have ev­ery se­nior in the se­nior class play,” Nipp says. “She doesn’t care if you can’t sing, act, or dance, she will find a place for you.”

Dale Elsen

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.