By CRISTINA JANNEY
Police Chief Don Scheibler and Hays High School Principal Martin Straub hung out for a good cause on Friday.
Both of the men agreed to be taped to the wall of the HHS gym with duct tape as a part of a human trafficking prevention fundraiser.
Hays High seniors Kaitlyn Schaben and Lisa Schoenberger with their peers in the HHS DECA club organized a week-long awareness campaign complete with speakers, posters and the fundraiser on Friday.
The students raised $1,500, which will be donated to Options Domestic and Sexual Violence Services in Hays.
The local Kiwanis organization supported Scheibler with a $500 donation and Auto Collision Specialists’ Mary Schoenberger gave $125 with the majority of the rest of the money coming from individual students at the high school.
Schoenberger will be attending college in Lincoln, Neb., in the fall and found through research Lincoln is a top city for human trafficking. This sparked her interest in informing her fellow students about the dangers of human trafficking.
Schaben said, “We have had some very positive feedback, and students said they did not know that went on and how easy it is to be a victim to that.”
Scheibler said the students and the local media have helped spark a discussion in the community about human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry next to only drugs. One reason it is so successful is the high profit and the lack of information and the lack of education,” he told the students Friday. “This group and Hays High has made the city of Hays safer today.”
Straub said he received several emails from parents who said their students came home and talked about the human trafficking issue after attending one of the assemblies at the school this week.
“Whether people think this is a good or bad idea, it has let people talk about the issue,” he said. “Hopefully, it helps keep our kids safe when they leave us and go to communities where it is may more prevalent.”
Although Straub said he got rather hot being stuck in the duct tape for a half hour, he wanted to support the students.
“It is really not about me,” Straub said after he came down off the wall. “It is about trying to make a difference. We can humble ourselves and be part of some fun. I don’t think it was a thing of disrespect. I think it was a thing of fun, and sometimes we just have to have fun with the kids.”