Town Square

Pleasanton students witness mock tragedy caused by drunken driving

Original post made on Apr 11, 2013

The aftermath of a horrific car crash, a dead principal, a badly injured student helicoptered away for treatment, and another arrested for drinking under the influence.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, April 11, 2013, 3:13 PM


Posted by Rick, a resident of Parkside
on Apr 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm

This program is important. You can talk all you want about drunk driving, but 'seeing' a scene like this will hopefully have an impact.

If it serves as a reminder to even 1 student, to not get behind the will have served it's purpose.

Please, PLEASE do not drink and drive

Posted by Dave, a resident of Canyon Creek
on Apr 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Dear Rick,
It's a pretty expensive program to just be a reminder of 1 student. Give me back my tax dollars and show you how I can put money to far more effective use. Typical liberal wanting the Nanny state to throw barrels of money at a small problem. You should read your constitution.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 8:05 pm

The post immediately above has to be one of the most insipid ever to appear on this site, and that's saying a lot. Anyone who has ever seen or participated in an Every 15 Minutes event will attest to its impact and value. "Dave" should be ashamed.

Posted by Peter Malloy, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Rick- You are ignorant, sir.

Posted by Peter Malloy, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 11, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Apologies to Rick. Dave- you are ignorant, sir.

Posted by Idiots, a resident of Avignon
on Apr 11, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Before you go bashing things that you do not know, this program is expensive and the staff of the high schools and PUSD spends their time seeking grant funding to finance it. No school funds are used for this experience. Please appreciate the intent of the program. We are all in danger when kids act recklessly, remember they could end up killing you or one of your kids.

Posted by Dave's Right, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 11, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Grant funding is just another name for tax payer dollars. I'm not saying the program is bad. What I am saying is that I had no say in the matter. Give me the money they're squandering without my constitution generated consent and I'll spend it in a far more productive manner. I will put the money to work in a value additive way - something our union Sandinista teachers will never do.

Peter Malloy - you sir, are one confused little puppy.

Posted by Christina, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Apr 12, 2013 at 8:51 am

This sounds like a fantastic program! Thank you to the PPD and the PUSD (and ValleyCare) for supporting it. I'm sure a lot of adults could benefit from a program like this too.

Posted by LaS, a resident of Valley Trails
on Apr 12, 2013 at 9:16 am

Our daughter participated in this event. She said it was so real and sad that it she was somber all day. We knew it impacted her tremendously. Sometimes education comes in different forms or should I say that not all education is taught in a classroom.

Posted by resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2013 at 10:18 am

Great program but shouldn't it include required participation of the parents? When we have such upstanding parents as those in Ruby Hill who not only provided the booze for high school kids but charged admission to the party, how is something that leaves out those parents going to have enough impact?

Posted by Mrs. I. , a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 12, 2013 at 10:33 am

My son came home yesterday and mentioned how surreal it felt. He said that everyone could feel the tension and seriousness of it. It gave him a real sense of what the consequences are. He even talked about it with his younger brothers. I think it was his way of warning them about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Posted by Sherri, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Apr 12, 2013 at 10:54 am

I think it is a great program. As an ER nurse who has donated time to participate in this program, I have seen the value in it. Even if we only capture one person (which I highly doubt this program only touches on child), then it is worth it. I look forward to my kids participating in it when they get to high school. It is a shame that several of you think that a program that is geared at helping to save lives isn't worth it.

Posted by Susan, a resident of Val Vista
on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

I have participated in this program for many years as Part of the coroners office and Ive seen the impact in hundreds of kids. Now as a Parent I am happy to have some of my taxes or whatever go to such an important program. I would, in fact, gladly pay additional funds to make sure this program continues.

Posted by Rick A., a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:32 am

Now that the partisan bashers have had their turn complaining about this public service program, I'm glad to see that parents are commenting here with a bit more civility.

I was there to watch the entire program yesterday and it was incredibly powerful and moving. The emergency personnel treated it as if it were a real incident, only breaking character twice: 1) the sobriety test was not conducted immediately, as it would have been; and 2) the lead firefighter checked on one of the "dead" accident victims, who had been laying atop the hood of a car in the hot sun for over an hour.

When one of the drivers called 911, it was riveting. When the helicopter flew over our heads, it was chilling. When the injured were immobilized for transport, it was gripping. All in all, a uniquely powerful experience.

Posted by mooseturd, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:36 am

mooseturd is a registered user.

No program like this existed when I went to HS back in the dark ages. Our community did however bring a wrecked car driven by one of our friends and parked it on the school lawn. It had been cut open to retrieve the bodies. Blood was still present.

Hopefully, this program can have the same effect without fatalities.

Posted by Ed, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:42 am

I'd like all the naysayers here to spend just five minutes looking at the faces of the students witnessing the event. Tears in the eyes of even the "toughest" and "coolest" of students. Utter despair at what they're witnessing. And - most importantly - absorbing one of the most important messages they'll ever receive. This is an exceedingly valuable program. Kudos to all involved.

Posted by Stella, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm

DAVE: that one kid that is saves-could be your kid.

Posted by Stella, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

does Foothill have their own? I noticed this was amador and Valley christian. If so, is Foothills still coming up?

Posted by Steve, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Amador and Foothill alternate years.

Posted by Beth, a resident of Happy Valley
on Apr 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

As a Foothill High graduate, I am thrilled to see this program. 3 of my 4 high school yearbooks have in memorium pages.

Posted by Mr. Bill, a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I'm from Chico and I can attest our high school buried 2 to 4 kids a year due to alcohol related accidents, especially around Pioneer Week. We had Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), but SADD really didn't have an impact on our graduating class. We also had the smashed up car with blood in it. Kids think they are indestructible and "it can't happen to me..." Much has changed since I graduated in 1985. More stress on our kids to succeed, more stress at home, which creates ways to cope, including partying. I think this program is awesome, because kids don't learn unless they experience it themselves. This program is just like the real thing, without the bodies. When our kids grow-up and go away to college, they will remember this event...and take a taxi. Another reason parents live in Pleasanton...a Community of Character. For those who think this is a waste of money and time...without perspective, life is self correcting.

Posted by Amazon, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Have you noticed how there is always a naysayer who gets on whatever topic and just gives the same pat response to whatever topic is being posted - i.e. my tax dollars, my constitution, the liberals, blah blah, blah. And this same old script always goes up as one of the first comments in whatever topic thread - as if they are just sitting there waiting to cut and paste "the script" on whatever topic. Reminds me of those guys who stand on a soap box and just rants on and on...while they loses relevance because they don't speak with people - they just speak at them.

Posted by Pam, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Our young drivers have never experienced the crunch of the metal or the injuries an accident can cause. What's wrong in showing them the repercussions, both physical and emotional? To the entitled who think they have a say in how their tax dollars can be spent, where would you rather see your money go - into this program that will make our kids more responsible drivers or paying for their prison time if an unfortunate event does happen. Let's simply say thanks to everyone who's making a difference in our kids' lives.

Posted by anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Both of my kids were chosen to participants in the E15M program when they were in high school. I had to write an obituary for each. Let me tell you, it is a very real experience, for the students participating, watching and the family members. Here is hoping this presentation keeps these kids from drinking and driving.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm

My kids didn't say a thing at the time when they witnessed this program at AVHS. Daughter did this past year - she was applying it (junior at college).

This program is extremely effective in reaching out to our kids - more than movies, words, etc. Both of our kids said so - a dinner conversation at their school break where they brought up the topic.

Any college can be a party school - some just have more of a reputation. My brother aced in partying at Carnegie-Mellon. We didn't have such programs when I was in high school. I remember at a hs reunion several said about binge drinking in college - I used to think "how juvenile!" we got over that in high school. We had all graduated abroad where there is no carding and the legal age is 18. Each of those alumni support E15M program whether or not they drank back then because it works. BTW none of us "drink and drive" then or now.

Posted by EFM Parent, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 13, 2013 at 10:03 am

As a parent of one of the participants, I can say this program does have an impact on the students. Before the students who would watch the program arrive, the crash scene is set up and the participants get in place and the whole scene is covered and shielded by tarps. When the tarps were pulled, the dead silence that fell over the the whole student body viewing section was chilling and very telling of the impact that this would have on them. My son had the same comment to me, saying, "Dad, I never thought it would get so quiet. There wasn't even a student whispering." The student participants swear secrecy that they are involved, so even their closest friends get impacted.
Friday during the funeral assembly there were many, and I mean many, students and parents very emotional and openly crying. This program does have an impact and I, as a parent of a participant, was very fortunate to see this first hand and up close.
Call where the money comes from what you want, whether its donations, grants, our tax dollars, volunteers, etc. I believe this program is worth every man hour and dollar spent.
A big thank you needs to go out to all the student leaders, participants, teacher advisors, Pleasanton Police, Livermore/Pleasanton FD, CalStar, the ambulance service (sorry, forget their name) ValleyCare, Coroners Bureau, Hilton Hotel and many others...

Posted by Mike Sedlak, a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm

The ambulance & crew was Alameda County's Emergency Medical Services Advanced Life Support Paramedics Plus Unit.

Posted by toni hume, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

Both my daughters had the opportunity to have this program offered at AVHS; while they were students there and it does make an impact that leaves a deep impression. Having all our students, both at Foothill and Amador participate in this re-enactment ,every other year, could not come at a much needed time. Alcohol poisoning is on the rise across campuses state wide and nation wide. One can never talk enough about this topic to our children.

To the nay sayers, you have your opinion and that is just what it is, an opinion. If you have a better solution work with all the emergency teams and schools that participate in this event and come up with a better plan.

Posted by nicole, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm

I went to Amador Valley 10 years ago and this programmed helped our graduating class a lot. I was a senior when it was held at Amador and I can still remember parents of the "victims" coming to Amador to attend the assembly. I grew up in Ptown and one of the dads that I have known since I was 6, was one of the parents that spoke and his words will haunt me forever. He wept when the coffin rolled into the gym. The program works and it makes everyone adults and students fear drinking and driving. Because of this program all my friends and I have always had a DD and never drink and drive. Thank PUSD for doing this program!!! I wish all high schools could do this!

Posted by Clif, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Apr 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Great program and from what I saw, kids were extremely emotional. You could not watch this and get into a car with someone that has been drinking or doing drugs. For that, it works. Hopefully they will always remember this lesson. Great job.

Posted by Great program, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 16, 2013 at 6:41 am

Powerful stuff. Sounds very realistic. Huge kudos to all involved. As a police officer, I'm exposed to DUIs & the damage they cause on a daily basis. Since my wife & kids can't ride in my patrol car every night and see what I see, this is the next best thing. It can make a huge difference. Thanks again Pleasanton PD for being so proactive. You, as always, have our support. Be safe.

Posted by Rachel, a resident of Mission Park
on Apr 17, 2013 at 7:20 am

As an employee of AVHS I can tell you that the impact this has on a great many of the students that I spoke to and observed afterwards is nothing short amazing. You see them swaggering out to view the "performance" like happy young teenagers and then you watch them return stone faced. Look at their faces in the photographs. If it saves ONE life it is worth any money spent on it. It is hard to be a parent now! It can be wonderful and it can be heartbreaking. We think we know our kids but we can't be with them 24/7 and these kids are growing into their "ultimate world" FREEDOM...Even the brightest of them can act impulsively because at this age you have no perseption of "Mortality" Loosing a child is every parents worst nightmare. This program makes it as real as it can get without actually living it. It is emotional for the kids that watch it as it is for those that participate in it. Please support it. Human life has no monetary value...Love has the MOST value of all. ALSO....Kudo's to Mr. Hansen for his participation. He has made a great impact on many of these childrens lives. A man to look up to and model. He wll be missed after his retirement this June, and always, alwasys, loved for the his work.