It is the time for high schools across our great nation to start getting ready for the prom. What an exciting time for the kids, to dress up in their finest duds, beautiful dresses and great looking tuxes to attend their high school prom. Making decisions on who you are going to go to the prom with and what activities you are going to participate in the next day. It takes time and planning and is usually a big topic of discussion during this time of the year among the teenagers and their parents.
But something most teenagers don't think about is safety. Some area schools have shuttles or trollys to help transport kids to and from the prom. But most kids don't want that. They have cars. And cars and teenagers is a topic for worry. Most parents won't sleep prom night just worrying about their kid. It is a worry shared by all parents across our nation on prom night. Drugs and drinking are a huge worry and a dangerous act that some kids participate in and it can destroy their lives. Another new concern these days is the use of cell phones and texting while driving. As we parents know an accident can occur in a split second. We do understand the finality of death but some teenagers think that something like an accident and death will never touch them. How wrong they are.
At the high school my son attends, every 3 years an accident is staged on the front lawn of the school to show the student body what can happen if they are doing things they shouldn't while driving. The community of police, firemen, and the coroners office help in the planning and implementing of this presentation. Usually 3 students are asked to be part of the simulation of a drunk driving accident. These 3 students are sworn to secrecy so that on the day of the simulation a degree of shock will be imparted upon the student body. My son Danny was one of the participants. The parents of the 3 students were informed of the presentation because of that shock factor.
On the day of the accident as it were, the 3 students arrived at school as they normally would, but went to the principals office instead of class. Their make-up was applied to each of them to simulate injury. The parents of the 3 kids were also present to take pictures. I informed the principal that I would be posting an article about this event online in several different places in the hopes of reaching more kids about this important issue. She agreed to this and loved the idea. All the parents also agreed to having their son or daughters pictured viewed online.
Once the make-up was completed the firemen and police explained to the kids what their role was and how to perform. One student would be the drunk driver and only slightly injured. The female Jaclyn was that driver. One student would be critically injured and would be laying half way outside the car through the windshield and that was Danny my son. The other student would be some feet away from the car, lying on the ground and he would be dead. That student was Jimmy.
Once all the kids were in place, the firemen set off a loud firecracker to simulate the sound of the crash and an announcement was made for all students to go to the front lawn. The police, paramedics and the fire department arrived on the scene and went about their tasks. It was determined that the student away from the car was deceased and was covered with a sheet for the whole student body to see, and let me tell you that was when I started to cry. It was shocking to see. The paramedics were attending to the student who was critical on the hood of the car and the police started to question the driver. The drug dog was brought in and found drugs and booze in short order. The coroner was called and took pictures of the deceased student and the funeral home was called and arrived. The driver was given a sobriety test, arrested, handcuffed and taken away in a police car. The critical student was treated on the scene and taken to the hospital by ambulance. All while this was going on another firemen was explaining what was taking place and the many dangers of doing drugs, drinking, texting and using the cell phone while driving. All the parents in attendance were sobbing me included. I looked at some of the kids closest to me and some were visibly upset and some were not.
To make this all as real as possible the 3 students involved with the simulation were not in school the rest of the day. The next day the high school staged a funeral with casket and all for the student body to witness. The driver was in attendance in prison garb and handcuffed. The other 2 students were not there as one was the deceased student and the other was in the hospital due to injuries. Of course this was all staged and no one was in jail or otherwise. Again these 3 students had the day off to make this as real as possible.
The Point of All of This
Some people may think that this was way to graphic a demonstration, but in my opinion, sometimes a kid has to be shocked to understand. I know when I was a teenager I thought nothing could hurt me, until I lost a friend to drunk driving. For me the most awful thing that could happen in my life today would be to lose my child. If they are shocked by this, if they have nightmares, if they can't sleep thinking about what they saw. OH WELL. Better that than being dead, better that than being in an accident where they lose a friend or become so injured they lose some of their mental capabilities or become paralyzed and spend the rest of their life in a wheelchair. Or lose a limb or any of the other horrible things that can happen in an auto accident. To graphic you say. I don't, I think they need to see this kind of stuff. Maybe they will think twice about getting into a friend's car who they know has been drinking or doing drugs. I think this type of simulation or demonstration should be adopted by more schools to show these kids that death is final and that it can happen to anyone, even them. If this demonstration can reach just one kid, make them think twice I think it was worth it. There is a commercial on TV by Allstate Car Insurance and they say something that tears my heart out every time I hear it, it goes like this, 6000 kids go out for a ride every year..........and never come back.
Show Your Teenagers
If you have a son or daughter maybe they should read this article. If you are concerned this is to graphic, think how much more graphic the horror movies are that the kids like. That is fake, this is reality. My son doesn't drink or do drugs, he signed a contract with me and the school. He is a member of Captains, a school organization of students that hate drugs and drinking and are examples to their peers. I know what you are thinking and you are right, how do I really know he is not drinking and doing drugs. But that is the point how do any of us as parents really know for sure. The answer to that is WE DON'T, we can only hope.