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Ghost Out event moving to Cumming Fairgrounds
This year's event will be held March 24

An event aimed at promoting teen safety that has been part of local high school life over the last few years has a new home.

At the Cumming City Council’s work session on Tuesday, council members voted 4-0, with Councilman Christopher Light absent, to waive fees for Ghost Out, an annual program put on by local agencies at county high schools that aims to prevent intoxicated and distracted driving. 

Instead of being at a school, this year’s event will be held at the Cumming Fairgrounds on March 24. Ghost Out is planned to remain at the fairgrounds through 2019.

“Ghost out is an event we have put on at our local high schools for many years,” said Steve Honn, school safety manager for Forsyth County Schools. “Due to growth, capacity and the resources we use for Ghost Out, we cannot do this at every school. We cannot do this on multiple days.”

Honn, along with Lindsey Simpson, presented the plans at Tuesday’s meeting. He said holding the event at the fairgrounds would mean students from multiple schools could attend and the covered arena meant the program could go on even if it was raining. 

Ghost Out is open to students in eighth grade and up.

“My event involves a mock accident scene in which kids may be injured or even killed in the event,” Honn said. “They are actors from our local system, and at this point, it will be Forsyth Central. What we do is bring in all of our resources, including life flight.”

Honn said the event could include a simulated DUI and arrests. Local agencies including Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Forsyth County Fire Department, Cumming Police and the Georgia State Patrol will be involved. 

The event will also have a teen maze — a life-size game in which students will deal with the results of randomly-selected lifestyle choices. 

“There are about 14 to 15 stations,” Simpson said. “It includes things like substance use. This year, we’re going to be adding in some mental wellness [portions] because we know that is something our kids are faced with.”

After Ghost Out, teens will go the teen maze, and parents will have a chance to also go through educational materials related to teen safety. 

“We really do try to look at is as we’re reaching the [students] as our primary goal, but while we’ve got the parents there, we might as well tack on to them and provide them with some information as well,” Simpson said.

Fairgrounds Manager Dave Horton said he had already waived some fees before the council decided to waive all fees.

“If we’ve got any wiggle room on our fee, then that enables them to be able to do more stuff in the event for the kids,” said Mayor Troy Brumbalow.

Councilman Lewis Ledbetter said the city needed to be involved in the program and promoting teen safety.

“Anything anybody can do to help combat the situation that these teenagers are in, we need to do it,” Ledbetter said.