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.