Skip to comments.Teachers defend shock tactics in DWI program
Posted on 06/12/2008 2:00:27 PM PDT by Snickering Hound
OCEANSIDE, Calif. On a Monday morning last month, highway patrol officers visited 20 classrooms at El Camino High School to announce some horrible news: Several students had been killed in car wrecks over the weekend.
Classmates wept. Some became hysterical.
A few hours and many tears later, though, the pain turned to fury when the teenagers learned that it was all a hoax a scared-straight exercise designed by school officials to dramatize the consequences of drinking and driving.
As seniors prepare for graduation parties Friday, school officials in the largely prosperous San Diego suburb are defending themselves against allegations they went too far.
At school assemblies, some students held up posters that read: "Death is real. Don't play with our emotions."
Michelle de Gracia, 16, was in physics class when an officer announced that her missing classmate David, a popular basketball player, had died instantly after being rear-ended by a drunken driver. She said she felt nauseated but was too stunned to cry.
"They got the shock they wanted," she said.
Some of her classmates became extremely upset, prompting the teacher to tell them immediately it was all staged.
"People started yelling at the teacher," she said. "It was pretty hectic."
Others, including many who heard the news of the 26 deaths between classes, were left in the dark until the missing students reappeared hours later.
"You feel betrayed by your teachers and administrators, these people you trust," said 15-year-old Carolyn Magos. "But then I felt selfish for feeling that way, because, I mean, if it saves one life, it's worth it."
Officials at the 3,100-student school officials defended the program.
"They were traumatized, but we wanted them to be traumatized," said guidance counselor Lori Tauber, who helped organize the shocking exercise and got dozens of students to participate. "That's how they get the message."
The plan was to tell the truth to the students at an assembly later in the day. But word that it was all a hoax began to spread before the gathering. Tauber said some counselors and administrators revealed the truth to calm some students who had become upset.
Oceanside Schools Superintendent Larry Perondi said he fielded only a few calls from parents, while the PTA chapter said it had not heard any complaints. Perondi said the program would be revised, but he would not say how. And he said he was glad that students seemed to have gotten the message.
"We did this in earnest," he said. "This was not done to be a prankster."
I’m sure the teachers wouldn’t mind if a student told them that another teacher had been killed in order to really stress the moment.
If these things had really happened, it would have been a truthful teachable moment for the students. But to make it all up, that seems wrong to do that.
Why do we let stupid people become teachers and administrators?
this program used to be that some dude dressed up like the grim reaper pulled certain popular kids out of class, and they parked a wrecked car in front of the school and had a discussion about drunk driving...
they obviously have enhanced it a bit.
Sounds like a money-making opportunity to me. Can you say lawsuit?
This isn’t a new tactic. I remember something very similar to this happening at a private school I attended in high school many, many years ago.
I frankly don’t see the problem with it. It was a dramatization.
IMO this is worth a lawsuit. These “officials “ think it’s OK to terrifye students, but hey, no Bibles in class...A student who pulled a prank like this would be facing hard time....
It didn't go very well because hundreds of parking lot stoners in Iron Maiden shirts were laughing and hooting derisively yelling that they hoped his head went through the windshield, "Don't worry, his brains are in his ass", that he was a stuck-up retarded jerk anyway, and started shouting 'Don't take him alive!' to the police sergeant who blew the act when he started laughing his ass off.
The mid-80s was a different time in Southern California.
No, a “dramatization” is putting on a school play or showing a movie about drunk driving dangers. THIS was emotional exploitation of children and it stinks.
Trust your instincts, kid. That's the real lesson here.
"But then I felt selfish for feeling that way, because, I mean, if it saves one life, it's worth it."
It only took you a heartbeat to betray yourself.
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves." - William Pitt
This is the state proving that they own our children.
It was blatant emotional abuse and I hope the school gets sued for it.
Government schools are run by government idiots.
Perhaps they should build that onto the scenario for next year, just to make sure the families appreciate the gravity of how risky a profession police work can be.
Oh? I thought the leftists in education and elsewhere were firm believers in the fallacy that "the ends justify the means."
Jeez. When the teachers aren’t having sex with students they’re scaring the hell out of students.
Sometimes both at the same time...
LOL...Virtually the same exact scenario unfolded at my high school in Western PA during the same timeframe...except I think the stoners were wearing Motorhead T-shirts.
It is cruel and it’s obvious school officials didn’t think this thing out. I mean, there has to be at least a few really unpopular “emo” type kids at that school. They shoulda said they were the ones who were killed.
This can serve as a lesson for all the lies authority figures are going to tell you later in life.
Interesting, though, that apparently this was done with the voluntary cooperation of a significant number of students. I’m withholding judgement here. At least one girl interviewed seems to think it was effective, and the “missing” students were obviously all consulted beforehand, and none of them saw fit to register a formal complaint in advance of the event. Maybe the teens know what gets through to teens. I do hope the parents of the “missing” teens were consulted in advance, though. If not, I definitely have a problem with this.
True, but most teenagers nowadays have spent a lifetime in front of extremely realistic violent TV shows, movies, and video games. It would be tough to get anything but giggles out of them with the act you described.
>>we wanted them to be traumatized
Where are the grief counselors?
How many kids do you think decided to go out and get drunk after this.
Don’t believe everything you hear, kiddos.
I’m sure the spouses and older children of police officers are well aware of how dangerous it can be. They’re also well aware that the purpose of the work justifies the risk. That’s quite different from the purpose of partying teenagers drinking and driving. Many police officers suffer permanent psychological scars from things they see at the scene of drunk driving accidents — much deeper scars than any of these kids will suffer from their brief involuntary participation in this well-intentioned hoax.
Headline 14 months from now...
Oceanside school district settles out of court for undisclosed sum....
Interesting, though, that apparently this was done with the voluntary cooperation of a significant number of students. Im withholding judgement here.
Its an astonishingly stupid thing for the school to do. I wonder what the school would do if, for instance, a group of students "voluntarily" got together and planned a similar charade -- maybe something like "Johnny and Billy said they are coming to the school tomorrow with guns because they are unhappy with how they have been bullied in school."
No doubt the school administration (and the local police) would consider that a great way to teach everyone how important it is to respect one's classmates. -- NOT!!
http://www.archive.org/details/WAROFTHEWORLDS2 (free mp3 download)
scared lot's of folks (morons, mostly).
To me this is like the police crying: ‘WOLF!’ now these youngsters will have even less faith in the police.
A boy’s doodles of stick figures with guns are so traumatic and threatening to the mental health of the other inmates that the perpetrator needs to be expelled... but public employees in a position of authority telling you your friends are dead is just a valuable teaching tool.
These people should be filing for unemployment next week.
Here is the point.... did the parents give permission for their children to be either used or be victems of this “life lesson?”
What if there are kids in that school that had lost parents or brothers and sisters to a drunk driving accident....
” er... uh....hmmmm maybe not such a good idea”
This ABC News story has a long comment section afterwards, with comments from a lot of parents, including a couple who have children at this school. The parents are overwhelmingly supportive of it. I’m not going to fault the school officials for it, when parents were involved in planning and executing it, and there seems to be little or no protest from the other parents.
Here’s the lession I would get if I were a student there - don’t believe anything these idiots tell me.
They may know it on an intellectual level, but the purpose of this excercise was to bring it home on an emotional level.
So I'm with Joe here, I'm sure that a policemans family knows intellectually that he may be injured or killed, but they really haven't experienced the emotional impact such an event would have.
If it is good for the children, it certainly is reasonable to consider that it may be 'good' for the family of a police officer.
I don't think it's good for either, and someone should get a severe reprimand.
Why are school teachers so dumb?
the teenagers learned that it was all a hoax
Never lie unless you’re a politician whose career path requires it.
So lying authority figures are better than the blood and guts movies they showed us in Drivers’ Ed class?
The purpose of school is not for a bunch of cops and school employees, with the "permission" of idiot teenage participants, to take other children apart psychologically.
The people who planned and executed this don't look to have two decent brain cells to rub together.
I'm sure that anyone present who had suffered a loss at the hands of a real drunk driver or who had recently lost a loved one in any other way found this entire exercise hilarious. I'd strongly encourage them to show their appreciation by suing the school system.
We just lost one of our soon to be graduates to a drunk driving accident. The driver of the car she was in was drunk and hit the guard rail on the highway killing the young woman instantly. She would have graduated on the 18th and was going to study nursing in the Fall.
At least these kids will get to talk to their friends again.
Read the comments on the article I linked to. One is from a woman paralyzed as a teenager by a drunk driver, in an accident which also killed her boyfriend. Another is from a mother whose teenage son was killed by a drunk driver. THEY wholeheartedly approve of this. The “purpose” of school, quite frankly, should be whatever parents think it should be, and in this case the program had the overwhelming support of parents (only one parent was willing to speak against it, and she wouldn’t give her name, suggesting that she doesn’t have much company).
Again, most of the PARENTS supported it. This is not a situation of stupid educrats doing things the parents disapprove of.
I don’t care who approved of it.
I find it somewhat surreal that someone with the ID of “Government Shrinker” is ok with the government messing with children’s minds, lying to them, and making them cry in mental anguish.
Because it is not ok. Not even for a “good reason”.
Not for any reason.
It is not their job to psychologically dismantle individuals. Even if some of the parents approved, it is not the job of the police or of the teachers.
I disagree, though, about the lessons these children may take away. The lesson they may take away might be that adults, particularly the police, lie and are devious, and why should they listen when they are told not to do things?
"Maybe what they told me about drinking and driving was a lie, too? Maybe what they told me about drugs being addictive was a lie as well."
I have never known great good to come out of lying when the truth would suffice.