[Editor's note: The following was submitted by the Belmont Police Department.]
The Belmont Police Department, in cooperation with the Belmont Fire Department, American Medical Response and the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office, will be conducting a two-day “Sober Graduation” program on Thursday, March 14 and Friday, March 15 at Notre Dame High School in Belmont.
The program is designed to raise the awareness of teens to the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other controlled substances. A major part of the program is a simulation of an alcohol-related accident scene, which will occur in the front parking lot of Notre Dame High at approximately 1:45 PM, on Thursday, March 14th.
To view a video from the 2011 Sober Graduation, click the YouTube link to the right.
The simulated collision will include an emergency response to the school by police, fire and AMR, and a Stanford Life Flight helicopter. Student participants, with simulated injuries, will be treated by rescue personnel and the coroner will handle simulated fatalities.
Police officers will investigate and arrest the student "drunk driver". The student “drunk driver” will then be taken to the Belmont Police Department to be “booked for drunk driving". At the end of the day, those students who participated in the staged accident will be transported to a local hotel for an overnight student retreat. The retreat will simulate the separation from friends and family.
On the following morning, an assembly will be hosted by project coordinators, who will guide the audience through the devastating effects of losing a loved one due to a dangerous decision. This event will be filmed and the video will be shown to NDHS students, and later will be posted on the Belmont Public Safety YouTube channel.
“In most cases, important life lessons are learned through experience. However, when the audience is teens and the topic is drinking and driving, experience is not the teacher of choice,” said Belmont Police Chief Dan DeSmidt.
“We hope that this powerful program will challenge the students to think
about drinking, using drugs, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved,” Chief DeSmidt added.
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