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Forest Lake teachers rewrite old song with new words to produce anti-vape video

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Teachers dancing on desk in video
Teachers from Forest Lake Middle School, pictured in this screenshot, created an anti-vaping video to warn students of the potential health risks of using e-cigarettes.
Courtesy Forest Lake Middle School

An eighth grade science teacher at Forest Lake Area Middle School decided to put a spin on a classic record to get out a new message on the dangers of vaping.

Using the 1990 hit song, “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe, Genise Brothers created a song and music video with the help of her husband, Joey Peters, and other staff members to warn students of the dangerous side effects of vaping nicotine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns vaping is associated with lung injury. There have been over 2,000 cases of probable lung injury cases and 42 deaths, with three deaths in Minnesota.

Some studies have shown that as many as 1 in 4 high school students vape using e-cigarettes and some federal officials have called vaping an epidemic, and the FDA notified four manufacturers to pull flavored e-cigarettes off the market in August.

“The students are aware of it, they're seeing what's happening in the news right now,” Brothers said Thursday.

The idea for the video started with “boring” anti-vaping posters her principal showed Brothers. She thought the messaging could use a little more pizzazz.

“They were really boring,” she said. “Not something that necessarily an eighth grader or a seventh grader would really take to.”

She and another teacher were poking fun at the posters, but that quickly gave way to a brainstorming session about what would work for students. The teacher mentioned the song “Poison,” and soon the idea took off.

She and her husband remixed the record to “Poison,” which debuted to students Wednesday. The five-minute video shows staff dancing on top of tables and Brothers rapping about the toxins in e-cigarettes. She said the video took about a month to put together.

Although the original song predates the students, Brothers said the tune stuck.

“I got lots of high-fives and fist-bumps in the hallway afterward and it was nice because I heard kids singing it to each other,” she said.

“We wanted this to be something that stays with them, is fun,’’ she added, “they can sing it back, and it delivers that message all at the same time.’’