The Burbank Police Foundation (BPF) has announced that they will lead fundraising efforts for an “Every 15 Minutes” program at a High School in the Burbank Unified School District.
“This program can save lives,” said Michael Hastings, Burbank Police Foundation President. “After what our community has lost recently, we (the BPF) decided that we want to do everything we can to keep this kind of tragedy from happening again.”
Hastings went on to say that he understands the Burbank Unified School District operates under a tight budget, and that the BPF wants to alleviate any financial burden from them to get this important program implemented as soon as possible.
The Every 15 Minutes Program is a two-day event designed to dramatically instill teenagers with the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking alcohol and texting while driving. This powerful program challenges students to think about drinking, texting while driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved.
On the first day of the event, students are removed from the classroom and costumed with make-up, a coroner’s tag, and a black Every 15 Minutes t-shirt. They are no longer able to interact with the other students because they have become “victims” in an alcohol-related collision. Officers make death notifications to the parents at their home or place of employment or business. The students gather to view a simulated traffic collision. Rescue workers treat the injured students and the coroner removes the fatalities from the scene. Police officers investigate, arrest, and book the student “drunk driver.” The students, who actually participate in the staged event, are transported to the hospital, morgue, and/or police station. The “drunk-driver” attends a court session.
On the second day, the entire 11 and 12th grade student body attends an assembly for a simulated memorial service. The students view a video of the first day’s events. Speakers include students, who read letters to their parents; police officers; and hospital personnel, who share their emotional trauma of dealing with kids killed in collisions. The focus of the assembly stresses that the decisions to consume alcohol can affect many more people that just the one who drinks. This very emotional and heart-wrenching event illustrates to students the potentially lethal consequences of alcohol use, regardless of how casual they believe their use to be. The program depend on the participation of the Police and Fire Departments, high school staff, local hospitals, video production crew, community officials, District Attorney’s officer and a broad cross-section of the community.
“We really care about our community; and we believe this program will make a difference,” said Hastings.