Students at a North Texas high school witnessed a devastating accident this morning.
Don’t worry, it was all staged.
Every two years, as part of the school’s “Shattered Dreams” program, students at Birdville High School stage a major accident to show the effects of driving while distracted or impaired.
“It’s a very realistic accident scene with a scenario that the students came up with,” said Carissa Katekaru, spokeswoman for the North Richland Hills Police Department. “(It’s) very powerful. It talks about the dangers of impaired driving or being distracted.”
Around 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, all junior and senior classes at Birdville High School drove into the parking lot and saw two vehicles that appeared to have crashed into each other.
The cars had been involved in previous accidents and had been donated by a local salvage yard.
Students studying to become firefighters at the Birdville Center of Technology and Advanced Learning joined North Richland Hills firefighters in extracting students describing wreckage victims.
“They actually put them in the ambulance, transported them to the hospital (and) took them to the emergency room,” Katekaru explains. “A student will actually be air-ambulanced to the hospital.”
The parents, who were all made aware of the event, were later informed that their child had been involved in a devastating accident and were told which hospital they had been taken to.
North Richland Hills police also arrested the student actor playing the offending driver.
“The child actor who is arrested is placed in the back of the police car,” Katekaru explains. “They phone the parents when the child arrives in jail. The child enters the juvenile booking area and is placed in a jail cell.”
This year’s event was coordinated by Jeremiah Jimenez, a junior at Birdville High School.
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“I definitely have a different perspective on things, especially on the parent side,” Jimnenez says. “I’m, of course, a thinking teenager, let’s have fun doing whatever it is. I got to see that perspective (and it) really opened my eyes.”
Birdville High School has held this drill every two years since 2008.
“It’s always a whirlwind of emotions,” says Jason Wells, principal of Birdville High School. “You know, teenagers, you never know how they’re going to react. But overall they take it very seriously and it has an impact.”
And hopefully it will inspire young drivers to take extra care when getting behind the wheel of a car.
“Our hope is that this is the only time they have to see a scene like this here, under these circumstances,” Wells said.
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