BURLINGTON (CBS) — Three days before prom, safety officials put on a presentation at Burlington High School Tuesday to make sure kids understand the risks of drinking and driving–and all of it played out in real time.
It started inside the school, where they watched Burlington High student actors play out roles in a video in which they decided to drink alcohol and get in a car. The car crashes, and a 911 call is heard.
That’s when the students were taken outside to see the mock head-on collision, with rescue crews on the way. With a body laying in the road and injured student actors inside the car, they watched fire crews work to save a life in the realistic reenactment–to no avail.
Students watched in silence as a sheet was placed over one of their classmates, as a medflight helicopter arrived for senior Carolyn Cavino, one of the actors involved in the dramatic presentation.
Cavino told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker that playing the role was very emotional.
“One of my friends was crying next to me, and I couldn’t help it, I was even crying,” said Cavino. “It felt so real and so serious, and this can actually happen, I want people to realize that.”
As Cavino was flown away, students saw their other classmates taken away in a hearse.
Health teacher Amy Doughty said that watching this all play out sends a strong message to the students–grabbing their attention more than just a mundane presentation would.
“We talk about it all the time, but actually seeing it, seeing the destruction that it can cause to their cars, to their friends, and the impact that it has on the community is the important piece of it … I think it’s important for them to see it, and feel the shock.”
Burlington Traffic Safety Officer Bernie Schipelliti said the presentation is powerful.
“It really is,” Schipelliti said. “When the kids are watching this unfold, and it unfolds in real time, you can hear a pin drop. Everyone’s watching, they’re mesmerized. It really hits home … The best thing they can walk away with is making good decisions, especially when they’re behind the wheel or in a motor vehicle.”
Cavino hopes the presentation has a wider reach.
“People are going to tell their friends from other towns, and hopefully it can start to spread and then other towns can pick it up and do it themselves,” she said.
In the end, Cavino was carried away in the medflight chopper, but she’s okay–and that’s what police and administrators hope will be the case for all of the students when prom season ends.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports