I’ve done 3 pre-prom presentations during the last 2 days. It really is fun talking to all those teens (hundreds of juniors and seniors), although I still have reservations about the effectiveness of the faked crash re-enactments.
I do take pride that I seem to have rapt attention from the teens as I speak. As I said during a brief talk I gave for a video being shot at yesterday mornings event, I think that the verbal parts of the events can have some impact. I told them many things, all factual and none of it an attempt to scare them straight. I told them that alcohol and drugs can and will affect their brains under construction. Those effects are both short-term and long-term, making it more difficult to “second guess” or reconsider their actions before they take them. I told them to stay out of my office/morgue; that I had enough business without their deaths. I told them, should they be in an accident and survive, that they will be saying “I’m sorry” for the rest of their lives.
I over-heard a couple of the teens talking yesterday afternoon about an event I had participated in 2 years ago, it is interesting that their recollection of the “crash” itself was imperfect (actually wrong), but their overall impression was more “on the money”. They understood what it was all about. Did it change or impact their behavior? I don’t know, they didn’t discuss that within my earshot.
This year I added to my presentation the statement that I get goose-bumps at these events this year. I attribute that to the fact (which I discussed in my talks) that my 16 year old went to her 1st prom this year. These crashes are just the mental pictures I had while she was out. They put a face on my fear. I hope they got that. Maybe that will make it a bit more personal for them, so that they don’t take chances and make good choices. I hope we don’t have any prom related deaths and, maybe, no more teen drunk (intoxicated/impaired) driving related deaths.