If the photo shocked you, it was supposed to, just as it shocked the students in the background.
This is a mock accident staged as part of Operation P.R.O.M. (Please Return On Monday), a warning to students about drinking and driving on prom night. It was quite the production, including local police and emergency services, the Red Cross, a Lifeflight helicopter, our coroner and funeral home director, and a speaker who lost her son to a drug-related car crash.
I’ve seen a couple of these before, and it’s still tough to watch. I don’t work closely with the students in our district, but a few times I had to remind myself it was just a drill. Even stranger, half the emergency squad were students who graduated within the last couple of years. Watching them load their pretend-dead former classmate into a hearse was a bit surreal.
I think the students got the point. There were several kids in tears in the audience, and I didn’t see anyone joking or laughing. It rained for a few minutes, and I didn’t hear any complaints.
We held our prom four days later. All of our students were back in school on Monday. Did it change any of the students’ behavior that weekend? We may never know. I think it’s a good program, though, and if nothing else it’s a good lesson in what our police and emergency service crews have to deal with.