The heightened excitement of the upcoming prom can sometimes lead to laxness when it comes to staying safe. The temptation to drink alcohol, use other drugs, or to take chances on the road, such as texting and driving, can lead to unfortunate outcomes.
To raise awareness of the dangers that can result from poor decisions, and to drive home the importance of staying safe, Cuyahoga Heights High School (CHHS) juniors and seniors participated in the Prom Promise May 10 at Klima Gardens. The activity preceded the 2022 Senior Prom held on Friday, May 13.
With the assistance of Hilltop Towing, and police and fire departments from Cuyahoga Heights, Brooklyn Heights, and Valley View, the students gathered to witness the aftermath of a simulated two-car crash involving seven CHHS students who portrayed passengers in the vehicles.
“One student was arrested for drunk driving, another was dead on the scene, one had possession of marijuana, and everyone suffered various injuries,“ explained teacher Kelsey Mason, who coordinated the event with the assistance of the student actors. With police and fire responding to the scene, the “injured” were taken away by ambulance and the “drunk driver” was made to undergo a sobriety test. The student who was “dead on scene” was taken away in a hearse.
The next day at school, juniors and seniors attended an assembly to hear about the aftermath of the crash. The police and fire departments explained their roles following the incident. “The police officers took the students through the OVI (operating a vehicle while intoxicated) arrest and what the sobriety test given on scene consisted of. They also shared information about the jail time and fines that an individual arrested could face,” said Mason. A representative from the fire department described what takes place to triage an accident and how EMS treats patients on the scene. The student actors gave testimony to how their decisions and actions led to the situation that would affect them for years to come.
The students were asked to sign a "Prom Promise" in which they made a commitment to their family, their school, and their friends to avoid alcohol, not use drugs, to wear their seat belts, and not to text and drive.
“We want their safety to be a top priority and the reenactment of the Prom Promise provides a reality that we do not want them to experience in our community,” said Superintendent Tom Evans about the importance of the events. “We want prom weekend to be memorable for our high school seniors for all the right reasons. We’re hopeful that the demonstration encourages them to make the right choices so that they have a fun and safe prom weekend and graduation season.”