Letter: Students get first hand look at DUI tragedy | April 13, 2011 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Viewpoint - April 13, 2011

Letter: Students get first hand look at DUI tragedy

Last week Menlo School produced "Every 15 Minutes," a two-day program that challenges high school students to think about drinking and driving, and the impact their decisions can have on themselves and others. The entire student body experienced the emotional consequences of a simulated fatality and the injury of classmates as the result of a drunken driving crash.

On the first day, volunteers from the CHP, Atherton Police Department, Menlo Park Fire Protection District, American Medical Response, the County Coroner and Stanford Hospital worked with Menlo students and parents to portray a crash scene and the resulting response of emergency personnel. A Palo Alto Police Department cell and a San Mateo County courtroom helped illustrate the legal and judicial ramifications of a DUI.

The community came together on the second day as parents of the "dead" child and the DUI driver, along with District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe and others, led the speakers in a memorial for the victim of the car crash.

This influential program happened with the support and participation of extraordinary people from our community. While there is not space to mention them all, a few justify special recognition: the CHP, with Art Montiel as liaison, sponsored Every 15 Minutes at Menlo. Lt. Joe Wade (APD) and Jon Johnston (MPFPD) provided invaluable guidance and a dedicated response team. Tully Vogt of the coroner's office sensitively assisted in portraying the most painful aspect of a crash — the unnecessary loss of a young life. Finally, the staff at Stanford Hospital's emergency room, let by Dr. Peter D'Souza and Ellen Corman, helped provide a realistic and caring hospital trauma experience.

We are grateful to live and send our children to school in a community where dedicated, hardworking emergency responders give so generously of their time to make preventative education a priority. We thank them all.

Laura Foster and Jan Harris, co-chairs, Menlo School


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