Dysart High wrestling coach Brian Crosby speaks to Dysart Elementary students about wise decision making during a Choices Make a Difference campaign assembly this month.

Nick Cote/Today staff

Brian Crosby visits area schools and emphasizes to students that they should never fail the “headline test.”

Crosby, a wrestling coach at Dysart High School and motivational speaker, stresses to students the need to put themselves in good positions and not make poor choices when it comes to classroom work and behavior, bullying, health and wasteful spending, among other issues facing adolescent youths.

That’s because, Crosby said, youths will feel better about themselves and have an improved chance to succeed in the world if they make positive choices, rather than having to explain to mom and dad that they made poor choices that got them in trouble at school or with the law.

All that could lead to their name appearing in the newspaper for all the wrong reasons.

“If you think the decision is wrong, it probably is,” Crosby said earlier this month at Dysart Elementary School during an assembly about positive choices for fifth- and sixth-graders.

El Mirage police officer Paul Lezinsky provided students with statistics about juvenile arrests and explained that they should be prepared to make many tough decisions as they grow older. He said speaking with teachers, parents and other responsible adults can help lead them down the right path.

In the past year, El Mirage police have made 20 arrests for shoplifting, 20 for disorderly conduct, 19 for assault, 17 for criminal damage, 17 for alcohol and 13 for drug-related offenses with teens and adolescents.

Lezinsky explained giving into peer pressure is not a valid reason for participating in an activity that could lead to detention or arrest.

“This is the time of your life where you’re no longer little kids anymore and you have to start taking responsibility for your actions,” he said.

Crosby concluded the presentation with an open discussion about making choices and how they can affect youths in the short and long term. With regard to bullying, Crosby called for an older, bigger male to stand on stage and pretend to bully a younger, more petite-sized female student.

When asked if bullying is the right thing to do, the 100 or so students in the school’s auditorium yelled, “No!” The students were convinced even more when Crosby invited a high school wrestler on stage to “break up” the bullying incident.

When the older high school student tapped the sixth-grader on the shoulder, the youngster showed obvious signs of intimidation, thereby quelling the situation — much to the students’ delight.

“It’s not a good idea,” Crosby said of bullying. “We don’t accept it.”

Crosby also spoke about the importance of completing homework on time and studying to succeed in the classroom.

“Academics come first, and everything else is second,” he said, noting students could face consequences or lose privileges like being grounded or not being able to play video games. “Study hard now, so you don’t have to struggle later.”

Zach Colick can be reached at 623-876-2522 or

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