Every 15 Minutes
During the school year of 2004, the Old Town Police Department offered an emotionally charged drinking and driving campaign at the Old Town High School. “Every 15 Minutes” is designed to impress upon junior and senior high school students the potentially dangerous, and unfortunately deadly, consequences of impaired driving. The name of the program “Every 15 Minutes” was adopted from the fact that every 15 minutes someone dies from an alcohol related traffic accident in the United States.
On the first day of the program, students were removed from class by the “Grim Reaper”. One student was removed every 15 minutes. The students, which were selected beforehand, were representing a cross section of the entire student body. Once the student was removed from the class, a uniformed police officer would enter the classroom and read an obituary that was prepared by the “dead” student’s parents. Shortly thereafter, the student would return as “the living dead”; with white painted faces and black “Every 15 Minutes” t-shirts. The “living dead” would not speak or interact with other students for the remainder of the school day. As this was occurring at the school, uniformed police officers would make death notifications to the parents of the “living dead” at their home or place of work.
At noon a mock motor vehicle collision was held involving two vehicles in front of the Old Town High School. All Juniors and Seniors experienced first hand the harsh reality and sensations of being involved in a fatal traffic accident. Two occupants were deceased at the scene and one occupant would be airlifted with serious injuries. A fourth occupant would be treated and released, and the operator of one vehicle would be arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol and was taken to the county jail and booked on an OUI charge. The accident was investigated by the Old Town Police Department with assistance from other agencies involved in the program. EMS and Fire services were provided by the Old Town Fire Department and LifeFlight.
Later in the evening participants would assemble for an overnight retreat. The retreat would
simulate the separation from friends and family. Police officers and counselors
were on hand during the duration of the retreat. Each student had to write a
letter to their parents beginning with:
"Dear Mom and Dad, every fifteen minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related traffic accident, and today I died. I never got the chance to tell you……." Parents would also write similar letters to their children. These letters were be read on the following day at a school assembly.
On the 2nd morning a mock funeral assembly was held at the Old Town High School. This began with a brief funeral service for the two deceased students followed by a video reflection of their lives. Speakers included students, parents, police personnel and other key note speakers. An emotional presentation was offered by a parent who lost a teenager in a real life tragic automobile accident.
The focus of this emotional, heart-wrenching event was to guide the audience through the devastating effects of losing a friend or loved one. This program had opened student’s minds to think about drinking and their personal safety, as well as the adult responsibility to make mature decisions where human life is at stake.
Click to View 2004 Pictures