How do you get through to teens about the dangers of drunken driving?
A uniformed police officer arrived in several classrooms at El Camino High near San Diego to tell students a classmate had been killed in a drunken-driving accident.
About 10 a.m., students were called to the athletic stadium, where they learned that their classmates had not died. There, a group of seniors, police officers and firefighters staged a startlingly realistic alcohol-induced fatal car crash. The students who had purportedly died portrayed ghostly apparitions encircling the scene.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) came up with the hoax scenario to make students think about the risk of drunk driving.
â€œWhen someone says to me, ‘Oh, my God, you’re traumatizing my children,’ I’m telling them, ‘No, what I’m doing is waking them up,’ â€ said (California Highway Patrol Officer Eric) Newbury, whose father was killed by a drunken driver.
. . . â€œI want them to be an emotional wreck. I don’t want them to have to live through this for real.â€
Via Radley Balko’s MADDsteria at Hit & Run.
Does playing at tragedy — “ghostly apparitions” — persuade teens to change their behavior? I doubt it. It’s easy enough to find real victims of drunk driving — guilt-wracked drivers, scarred survivors, parents of victims — who can talk about the pain. Even that, won’t get through to everyone, but it will reach the reachable.
When my daughter found out her sixth-grade classmate had been killed (by an unlicensed driver), she was alone. I was at Back to School Night crying with the parents and teachers, who’d just found out. I came home. Allison was sobbing. The girl was in three of her classes. They’d been working on a project that day. She was an emotional wreck. Death is not something to play at.