Ex-con speaks to students

Tuesday, March 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Here's a follow-up to a story we've brought you over the past 10 years. It's the story of Roscoe Dabney. The first time we met him, it was 1994, and he was in prison. Last year when we caught up with him, he'd just been released. Now he's trying to keep others from following in his footsteps. KOTV's Jenny McNeill has his story.

Roscoe Dabney isn't a certified teacher, but he's teaching. It's something he's wanted to do since his days in the Oklahoma Prison system. The 32 year old was shifted from prison to prison for 8 years with a list of offenses, including shooting at rival gang members.

Dabney says, "shooting with intent to kill, possession with intent to distribute, robbery by force, auto theft." Several years before his 1999 release, Dabney says he came up with the concept he's now taking to schools. Talking to students, "my name is Roscoe Dabney, President and CEO of PEERS." PEERS is a non-profit organization he's trying to get off the ground to help teenagers stay out of trouble. He's in the process of signing up students who need encouragement and those who want to encourage others.

Dabney says the message is simple, break bad habits and cycles before it's too late. "I spent half of my life in trouble caught up in cycles not even realizing I was hurting me." Dabney is a roofer, a minister, father and now the President of PEERS. He says when he talks to students about turning their lives around he feels like he is getting through. "I see this in their eyes I like I want you to help me. You're saying exactly what I am going through."

McLain High School Junior Eric Foster says Dabney's message is making him take a second look at life. "He came through the problems and stuff and I feel that I could do better with myself you know and do better things with my life." Dabney says that's what he likes to hear.