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NONFICTION : THE CONTRACT FOR LIFE by Robert Anastas with Kalia Lulow (Pocket Books: $4.95, paperback).

July 06, 1986|Paul D. Wyatt

Teen-agers are not supposed to die. In 1981, Robert Anastas, Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, felt the pain of teen-age death when two of his students died in drunk-driving crashes.

From this tragedy came the realization that his lectures about alcohol and drugs did not work. "They listened to me deliver the facts about drugs and alcohol, but then they went right back out and did drugs and alcohol." His students agreed. Lectures on the dangers of drugs and alcohol were not enough to keep their friends from driving drunk or high. More had to be done, including the development of an agreement (contract for life) between parents and teen-agers that "acknowledges potential problems and the family's desire to face and manage them." Out of this soul-searching by Anastas came a movement that was to spread across the nation. The Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) campaign was launched.

Anastas takes us through the "hard work will get you everywhere" philosophy of his youth and then shares with us the insights of creating a nationwide student movement. Although heavy with absolutes on parent/child relationships and somewhat superficial on what SADD actually does at each high school, Anastas has made a good case for using students to solve the teen-age drunk-driving problem. Parents, teen-agers and educators need to read this book.

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