HANSON — Chief Michael Miksch and Superintendent Jeffrey Szymaniak announce that the Hanson Police Department and the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District, with assistance from the Hanson Fire Department and Whitman Police and Fire Departments, will be sponsoring a mock car crash tomorrow to educate students on the dangers of impaired driving ahead of the Whitman-Hanson Regional High School senior prom.
Representatives from the Hanson Police and Fire Departments, Whitman Police and Fire Departments, and the Whitman-Hanson Regional High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club will all take part in the event. Officers will be available for interviews following the crash presentation.
TOMORROW, Wednesday, April 28. The crash presentation will begin at 8:10 a.m. Members of the media are asked to arrive at the school no later than 7:45 a.m.
Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, 600 Franklin St., Hanson.
Media members planning on attending are asked to park along the school’s main driveway in a marked parking spot and gather near the tents in front of the school. Officers and school officials will then guide the group to the viewing area.
As part of the presentation, seniors at the school will view a mock car crash in the area outside the school. Local first responders will respond to the crash as a way to show students the dangers of impaired driving and what can happen when students drink and drive.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional High School senior prom is scheduled for Friday, May 7. The evening of senior prom is a time where officers often see a spike in underage drinking, which can lead to serious and fatal crashes on the road.
“We want everyone to enjoy themselves and have a good time on prom night, but we know how this can easily lead to impaired driving and it is critical that students are educated on the dangers this can present,” said WHRHS School School Resource Officer/Hanson Police Officer Derek Harrington. “While we can tell students about these dangers, seeing a ‘fatal crash’ firsthand involving their own classmates makes the lesson all the more real. We hope it makes any student think twice and reconsider if they are in a position to drive while impaired or ride in a car with an impaired driver on prom night, or at any other time in the future.”
Prior to the presentation, students will watch a video produced by the school that shows a house party with six students. In the video, two students who have refrained from drinking try to convince four of their classmates who have been drinking not to get behind the wheel. Later that night, the two groups of students are involved in a motor vehicle crash, with one of the “sober” students losing their life.
The proceeding mock crash presentation will show what a similar crash would look like, including the arrest process, and will feature student actors from WHRHS. Students will then go back into the school for a discussion with officers about what they witnessed, what the aftermath of a crash entails, what the specific laws are about impaired driving and underaged drinking, and more.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 prevention measures, media will only be permitted to attend the outdoor mock crash portion of the event, not the discussions held inside the school before and after the crash presentation.
“Senior prom is an event that students look forward to for quite some time, and after such a challenging year it will be exciting for our students to take part in this great tradition. However, it is critical that students use sound judgement and stay safe during the event and during the hours that follow,” Superintendent Szymaniak said. “We thank the Hanson and Whitman Police and Fire Departments for all they do to educate our students on the dangers of impaired driving, not only as it relates to prom but throughout the year.”
In keeping with the latest COVID-19 safety guidelines, anyone attending the event will be required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing at all times. Typically the presentation is shown to seniors and juniors at the school, but this year only seniors will take part in an effort to reduce the size of those in attendance.