Every 50 minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related collision according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Every 15 Minutes campaign was founded in 1995. The campaign visits high schools all around the nation to teach students about drunk driving, driving under the influence, and making smart decisions while operating vehicles.
The SGA started planning the program’s three-day visit to the school on March 15, 16, and 17 as part of their spring project. Major planning from the SGA was required to make sure the project ran smoothly, including selecting students to participate in the program and contacting the police and fire department in order to help set up the crash. The first day of the program consisted of students being warned by SGA representatives about the dangers of operating a vehicle from an Every 15 Minutes presentation.
The second day consisted of one student being removed by the Grim Reaper from class every 15 minutes and pronounced dead. After the student was announced dead a real police officer came in and read a fake obituary written by the “dead” students’ parents. Later on the student returned to class covered in make-up to add to the reality of the situation and these students were instructed not to talk or interact with anyone for the rest of the day. Then after school they were secluded for the rest of the day, spending the night in a Best Western and unable to attend any after-school activities.
Last Thursday a fake crash was staged in front of the school, consisting of senior Julia Stern acting as the drunk driver, junior Hunter Band as a passenger killed in the crash, and junior Aaron Lazar, a pedestrian killed as a result of drunk driving. It was an emotional scene in the front of the school while Lazar and Band carried off by an ambulance. Stern performed sobriety tests in front of the school and during this she was arrested and then escorted away in a police car. Even though students knew the scene was fake, the image of their crash was difficult and emotional, leaving students crying and in tears as they saw their friends and loved ones dead. “The idea of my friend being dead was too difficult for me to handle even if it was fake. I never want to see or even think of anything like that again,” junior Jared Rabin said.
Friday consisted of an assembly performed by the SGA, including a video of what happened leading up to the crash, the crash itself, and the impact it had on the victim’s friends and family. The assembly included emotional speeches from members of the crash and from the living dead. Each discussed the impact the experience had on them, their loved ones, and the entire community in order to emphasize the serious nature and dangers that can relate from drunk driving. “I never want to inflict pain to my family, friends, or my community because of any impulsive decisions I make as a result of alcohol,” Band said.
The assembly concluded with a very emotional speech from David Murk the father of Alex Murk a former Wootton student who was killed in an alcohol related collision back in the summer of 2015, also resulting in the death of Calvin Li another former Wootton student. Murk went on to describe the serious dangers of drunk driving and how he had discussed these same dangers with his son multiple times. “Alcohol can cause you to make impulsive decisions,” Murk said.
Some students thought that the program was too extreme and drastic in how they displayed the dangers of drunk driving, while members of the SGA believed these drastic measures were necessary in order to better understand the impact drunk driving can have. SGA thought it was necessary to address the problems and prevent any further accidents.