News release - 4/30/2013
Published 4/30/2013 (all press releases for this day)
OXNARD POLICE DEPARTMENT
(OXNARD, Calif)– Tomorrow, Wednesday May 1, 2013, officers from the Oxnard Police Department will be coordinating the Every 15 Minutes (E15M) Program at Oxnard High School (OHS). Unique in its design and powerful in its impact, the E15M Program is an educational experience that reminds us all of the dangers associated with driving while impaired by alcohol and/or other drugs.
“We look for creative and meaningful ways to engage and drive deep-rooted messages to the core of our young individuals,’ said Tenille Chacon who serves as the School Resource Officer at Oxnard High School. “Students are amongst the most creative, and dynamic people in our community, at the same time amongst the most impressionable. Our hope is that this program sparks conversations amongst friends, and reaffirms tenets of responsibility and accountability,” she said.
Every 15 minutes in the U.S., someone is killed in a crash involving an impaired driver. The E15M program includes student participants being removed from their class every 15 minutes throughout the morning by an Oxnard Police Officer who acts as the Grim Reaper. An obituary is read to the class and the student participants later return to class as the “living dead”, complete with white face make-up. From that point on (since the victims are “dead”), they will not speak or otherwise interact with others for the remainder of the day except to be present in their regular classes.
Starting at about 11:25 a.m. on May 1, the OHS student body (all Juniors & Seniors) will assemble in the football stadium to witness a mock head-on crash scene and simulated rescue that will include a full emergency response by Oxnard Police, Oxnard Fire, Gold Coast EMS, Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office, and McCarty & Sons Towing.
At the end of the school day, instead of returning home, student participants made into the “living dead” or those who were “killed” in the crash, together with several adult chaperones, will be transported to a local hotel for an overnight student retreat, facilitated by a support staff of counselors and police officers. The participants will continue to be out of contact with their family and friends overnight to simulate their separation/death.
The E15M program will continue on May 2, 2013 with a mock “funeral” assembly in the Oxnard High School gym starting at 11:30 a.m. where participants and their parents will share personal and often very emotional letters they wrote to one another the previous evening that begin with “Dear Mom & Dad, Every 15 minutes in the United States, someone is killed in a crash involving an impaired driver. Today I died. I never had a chance to tell you…” This is arguably the most powerful, impactful, and emotional part of the 2- day program. While the crash was staged, the emotions of the funeral assembly are very real!
“This is the first year I have been a part of E15 at OHS,” says Chacon. “The last time OHS participated in E15 was in 2008. The impact I have seen at CIHS at PHS is huge. You see some of the toughest students break down during the retreat after the first day. These students really come to realize what an impact they could have on their parents and loved ones if something was to happen to them. Similarly, I have witnessed students left in the stands crying after our mock funeral and presentation. It hits some of these kids particularly hard because they have had a loved one die or impacted in a significant way due to a drunk driver.”
This powerful no cost educational program, funded by community donations and sponsored by the Oxnard Police Foundation, will challenge teenagers and others to think about the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved.
This year Oxnard High School participants are:
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