The city of Santa Clarita, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and Valencia High School officials will join in partnership Thursday and Friday, April 12 and 13, to conduct the Every 15 Minutes program at Valencia High School.
Funding for the program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
This emotionally charged program is an event designed to dramatically instill teenagers with the consequences associated with drinking alcohol, reckless driving and life choices. The program will challenge students to think about personal safety and the responsibility of making mature decisions. The main goal of this powerful, high impact and very emotional program is to educate all individuals regarding the severe dangers awaiting those who make these choices, particularly those related to reckless driving, speed contests, drinking alcohol and driving, and now distracted driving and texting.
Deputies will join forces with school officials and selected students to “drive” the message home. Several students will be taken from classes on Thursday, as if they had been “lost” in a tragic incident. They will be joined by other student program participants at a driving under the influence (D.U.I.) simulated collision scene, which will be set up near the school for the students to view, depicting fatalities and serious injuries to several students. During many of the programs, the Air-5 rescue helicopter, from the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Aero Bureau, is used to simulate an airlift of a critically injured student to a local hospital. Several other “injured” students will be treated at the scene by the Los Angeles County Fire Department and taken to a local hospital. The drunk driver will be arrested and will be taken to the Santa Clarita Superior Court where a simulated conviction for manslaughter will occur.
Following the school demonstration and court proceedings, the program participants will visit the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Grove at Central Park and the Eternal Valley Mortuary. Guest speakers will talk to program participants at the Youth Grove. The students involved in the 2-day program will then visit a local hotel for dinner, where community members, who have experienced real-life drunk driving related tragedies in their family, and counselors will speak to them about how it feels to lose a loved one in a drunk driving related incident. The student participants will also draft a letter to be given to their parents that begins with this phrase: “Yesterday I was killed by a drunk driver and I never got to tell you….”
An assembly will be held at Valencia High School on April 13th for the entire student body where several guest speakers, who had family members killed in crashes in the Santa Clarita Valley in past years, will convey their strong and emotional messages. All involved hope to send a poignant reminder about the dangers associated with poor life choices. All family and community members are encouraged to get involved and frequently talk to their youths about the topics. Credentialed members of the press are invited to attend.
For additional information or to participate or contribute to the event, contact Deputy David Shoemaker at 661-799-5110.
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