Every Fifteen Minutes — Staging Life Lessons
By Bill Tamburrino
Every Fifteen Minutes is too real.
Ramona High School teamed up with the California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire and the San Diego Sheriff’s
Department last week to implement EFM.
“EFM is a two-day program that challenges students to think about drinking, driving, personal safety, the responsibility of making mature decisions, and the impact their decisions have on family, friends, and many others,” said Ramona High School Principal Tony Newman.
Education is more than passing tests, learning data, and applying knowledge. Life’s lessons are more important than any questions on mandated tests. EFM is education in its highest form.
The program relies on the element of surprise. The students and faculty are caught completely off guard when uniformed officers enter classrooms every 15 minutes and read death notices and obituaries of students in the class. The students are removed from class and become a part of the “living dead.” They signify the people killed as the result of drunk driving every 15 minutes in California.
The Living Dead are marched to the scene of a simulated drunk driving accident involving RHS students in front of Olive Peirce Middle School. Junior and senior students are on hand as witnesses as the accident and the response to the accident unfold.
The simulated accident is very powerful, emotional, and real. Six students are chosen from a cross section of the students of Ramona High School to take part in the simulation.
Grant Faddis and Taylor Narde are the first on the scene of a head-on collision. They know the victims of the accident. Christian Glotfelty and Aja Oberlies are hit head-on by a car driven by Jared Godes, whose passenger, Dana Drew, is thrown through the windshield and is dead.
There are empty beer cans and a whiskey bottle in Jared’s car, and Dana has some prescription drugs in her back pocket. The prescription, however, is not hers.
- Grant calls 911 and Taylor checks the scene and is over taken by the carnage. Christian and Aja are unconscious
with critical injuries. Dana is beyond help. Jared is not injured and is not so- ber.
The audience is caught up in the emotion and witnesses the arrival of Cal Fire’s ambulance, the CHP and sheriffs. The first responders do their jobs. Christian and Aja are removed from their car and transported to a hospital in an ambulance. Dana is covered by a blanket. Jared is given a sobriety test and is questioned at the scene. It is too real.
Asked if the officers invovled received any special training for the program, a CHP sergeant replied, “None. This is what we do. This is how we do it. We see this all too often.”
Dana is put in a coffin and taken from the scene.
Jared is arrested and taken to court where he is indicted.
On Day 2 of the program, the parents of those involved and the students come to an assembly. The results of the court proceedings are reported. The results of the accident are made known, and a video taken at the accident site is shown.
Parents visit a graveyard where the tombstones of the “living dead” are located along side the two vehicles in the accident.
“We just hope that this program makes our students think about the consequences of their decisions,” said Newman.
CHP Officer Christy has a student at Ramona High School. He was the arresting officer at the simulation and he displayed the professionalism it takes to be a member of the CHP.
“I hope that what we did will help these students make good decisions,” Christy said before the assembly on the second day of the program. “Students never have to drive when they are under the influence and they should never get in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking. There has to be somebody to call. Every parent should let his or her children know that they can call them if need be. ”
Prom and graduation are coming up. Those are the two most dangerous and fatal days for high school students. Spring break is also a time when too much drinking and driving takes place.
“I am so proud of the students who participated. They really took the event seriously and made it a life changing event,” said Lisa Filice, who coordinated the event for Ramona High School.
The simulation hopefully will help students make wise decisions so that the CHP, sheriff, and Cal Fire won’t have to do the real thing. The simulation was real enough.
Every Fifteen Minutes is powerful, emotional, educational and a real-life learning experience.
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