'Shattered Dreams' teaches teens consequences

Burnet High School senior Lexey Parker sits stunnd in a vehicle as emergency personnel declare her passenger "dead" during a mick fatality in the "Shattered Dreams" program at the high school on Thursday, March 9.

By Amy Prayer

Burnet Bulletin

There’s a freedom that many teens feel when they get their driver’s license. It is a feeling of independence and in most cases invincibility. It is important for teens to remember, however, that this new privilege of driving also comes with important responsibilities. In an ideal society, teens would wait until they are of legal age to consume alcohol before having their first drink. Unfortunately, peer pressures and outside influences, meaning many teens will have their first drink while still in high school. Teen drivers must be aware of how alcohol consumption, as well as drug use, can impact their ability to drive. On March 9, Burnet High School students witnessed first hand the dangers of driving under the influence. As part of a district program called “Shattered Dreams,” students in the 11th and 12th grades observed a mock car accident involving an impaired driving fatality. Joining forces to help present the dramatic portrayal were the Burnet Police Department, Burnet Fire/EMS, Seton Highland Lakes Hospital and others. Volunteers from Burnet Consolidated Independent School District and Burnet High School, including students and faculty, portrayed the victims as well as the teen driver responsible for the alcohol-related crash. Shattered Dreams is an expansion of a program called “Every 15 Minutes” which began in Chico, California, to warn teens of the dangers and consequences of impaired driving. A video shot for the program shows two faculty members and two students driving back from a regional competition when their vehicle is hit by another car driven by a teen. The video then shows Burnet police and EMS personnel responding to the gruesome scene set in the high school parking lot. In the school vehicle, all four passengers in the vehicle are shown with a variety of injuries and have to be extricated from the vehicle to be treated. A passenger in the teen’s vehicle is shown to have been thrown through the windshield and is laying across the hood, apparently deceased. The Grim Reaper is seen hovering in the background as emergency personnel work on the victims. The teen driver, played by senior Lexey Parker, is shown later as she is advised that her passenger was killed, administered a field sobriety test, given a breathalyzer, read her rights, handcuffed and booked into jail, while hospital staff try desperately, but fail, to save the life of another of the victims. The video can be seen in its entirety on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sQMiSdG254&t=1s. The next day, on March 10, juniors and seniors attended a mock funeral for the victims of the accident to highlight the loss of all lives due to accidents involving alcohol and drug use. According to the program, some of the biggest factors that aid in preventing teens from drinking and driving include parental monitoring, zero tolerance laws, restrictions on the legal drinking age, and graduated driver licenses. All of these factors are responsible for keeping teens safe on the road.

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