The letter L stands for LIFE.
As a writer of YA fiction, I love to observe the young adults around me and their reactions to life ... and death. This week at school, they are participating in a program entitled: Every 15 Minutes
Parents received warning emails about the program. The email asked us to not talk to our youth beforehand but be prepared to talk to them at the end of each day. It's a two day process. Wednesday, kids were pulled out of class by a grim reaper. Their faces were painted white, and they were not allowed to speak to anyone the rest of the day. They are the walking dead. There was an assembly with a staged car accident (in the middle of the football field) with real students posing as the victims. Police, firefighters, EMTs, and a helicopter were all called in to handle the situation.
My middle child, a 16-yr-old son, was the first to arrive home today. I asked him how the assembly was. He laughed as he told me how cool the car accident was, with victims everywhere. His favorite part was the helicopter. I asked him if he thought it was funny. He said of course it was, because it wasn't real. He said the adults were just trying to scare them, but they all knew it wasn't real. So, it was funny. I tried to explain to him why it wasn't funny.
My youngest child, a 14-yr-old daughter, arrived home next. I asked her the same questions. She said it felt really weird having the kids called out of class and designated as dead. Then her eyes got wide as she told me that a friend of our family was one of the "victims" today. My son laughed. My daughter scolded him telling him it wasn't funny. That it could really happen. She went on to tell me that the victims didn't get to go home that night. They had to sleep somewhere else.
Then, my daughter had friends come over for a class project. One of the friends is the brother of the "victim." I asked him how that felt. He shrugged his shoulders like it was no big deal. I asked him if his brother really couldn't go home. He said that was right, but that all of the victims got to go to a place called "Fast Lanes" and drive cars and have a blast. I asked him if his parents were told ahead of time. He said they've known for two months this was going to happen.
My oldest child, a 17-yr-old son, came home later. He thought it was all kind of funny, too. And he thought it was cool all the victims got to go to Fast Lanes. I asked him why it was funny. He said it was because they don't drink, so they know it would never happen to them.
Well ... it could ... if he was texting, talking, joking, or otherwise distracted while driving ... or even in the other car that gets hit.
I understand the purpose of this program, but I'm not sure it's hitting home with the boys. Maybe it is with the girls, because they're all about drama ...
It will be interesting to see how the kids feel about the program when it's finished. However, my younger two will be heading to a State Speech Tournament tomorrow; so they will miss the rest of the program. My older son will be there, however.
Thursday more kids will be pulled out of class, their faces painted white, and labeled as the walking dead. Police Officers will read the obituaries written by their parents. Videos will be shown to the students.
Life and Death.
Every 15 Minutes.
Do you think these programs are helpful? Or do you think the adults are kidding themselves?