Students at Fayetteville-Manlius High School received a firsthand look at the consequences of drunk driving on Thursday.
As part of the "Every 15 Minutes" program, about 60 students were pulled out of class to become the "walking dead." They put on white face paint and were asked not to speak to their classmates. The students represented the fact that every 15 minutes, someone in the United States dies as the result of an alcohol-related accident.
Then, the school staged a mock fatal drunk driving accident in the school parking lot. Six students were given roles to play. Two of their characters died, several others were wounded, and one was booked on DWI charges. Organizers also got the students' parents involved.
Parents were taken to various locations based on their child's role, including a hospital, court, and the morgue.
The Fayetteville-Manlius school district partnered with the Manlius Police Department and Manlius Fire Department to teach the students about the devastating consequences of drunk driving accidents.
"We do see it happen," says Lt. Chris Halliday from the Manlius Fire Department. "We see it with adults. We see it with all ages, and we just want to lessen the instances of it occurring."
Some students say the message is sinking in.
"I think it's really beneficial
," says high school senior Alexandria Sarenski
"It gets the student body aware that kids aren't invincible. It can happen to anyone. It doesn't matter what age you are."
The program will finish at an assembly Friday morning. Students will hear from the mother of a drunk driving victim, and they will watch a video of Thursday's events.