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Every 15 minutes

North Union students shown consequences of drinking and driving during intense mock program

April 9, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor (dswartz@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

By David Swartz

Managing Editor

ARMSTRONG - Five North Union High School teens were in an accident on Thursday with one dying at the scene.

Article Photos

Yes, the accident was staged, but it also provided a sobering look at what can happen when drinking and driving as well as texting and driving.

North Union students were given a front-row seat to the accident during the "Every 15 Minutes" program that was planned by area emergency personnel.

The staged scene was set up at the football complex next to the bus barn in Armstrong.

Fact Box

Editor's note: Life's lessons are best learned through experience. Unfortunately, when the target audience is teens and the topic is drinking and texting while driving, experience is not the teacher of choice. The Every 15 Minutes Program offers real-life experience without the real-life risks. This emotionally charged program, entitled Every 15 Minutes, is an event designed to dramatically instill teenagers with the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking alcohol and texting while driving. This powerful program challengse students to think about drinking, texting while driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved. Selected North Union students helped bring the message to their classmates this past Thursday and Friday with help from law enforcement, first responders and special speakers. The program is highlighted by a staged accident that results in the 'death' of two students.

Students lined up in a half circle around the accident scene.

Senior Derek Thompson, the 'drunk driver' who caused the accident, began the scene by getting out of his vehicle and calling 911 for help.

In a voice so all could here, he told the emergency operator about the accident and that he had a couple drinks. He was also looking down at his phone and then couldn't stop in time, hitting another vehicle with three other students in it.

Lying on the hood of his vehicle was his 'passenger' Hope Steinberger, who was flung through the windshield.

While Thompson was still talking on the phone, sirens were heard in the distance with Armstrong police arriving first followed by Emmet County Sheriff personnel, Armstrong, Ringsted and Swea City ambulances and the Armstrong Fire Department.

Earlier in the day, the "Grim Reaper" calls students who have been selected from a cross-section of the entire student body out of class. One student is removed from class every 15 minutes. A police officers immediately entered the classroom to read an obituary, which has been written by the "dead" student's parents, explaining the circumstances of their classmate's demise and the contributions the student has made to the school and the community. A few minutes later, the student returns to class as the "living dead," complete with white face make up. From that point on, 'victims" don't speak or interact with other students for the remainder of the school day.

At the conclusion of the accident scene Thursday, funeral directors from Henry-Olson come to collect Steinberger's body, as those students who 'died' earlier in the day form a half circle around her and her distraught parents.

The students watching the drama returned to the high school where an operating scene showed another of the accident victims dying on the scene.

Their mock funerals were held Friday morning.

Parents of children in the school system are encouraged to speak with their children about their experience in the program and use it as an opportunity to continue a dialogue about the dangers of drinking and driving.

 
 
 

 

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