During morning announcements at Brodhead High School in Wisconsin last week, students were told that four of their classmates had died in a car accident involving texting and driving. The victims' names were read aloud, and students started crying and calling their parents. Then, 10 minutes later, another announcement let students know that their four classmates were actually still alive, and that the fake announcement was part of a campaign meant to raise awareness of the importance of safe driving, the Washington Post reports. Throughout the day, more students were named as car accident casualties during announcements, NBC 15 reports. The students whose names were used knew about the simulation in advance.
The principal says the drill was part of a campaign put on by the student council, but some students are unhappy and a few parents called to complain. The district superintendent says the stunt gave students a realistic look at the consequences of unsafe driving, but he acknowledges to the Post there were "flaws" in the way it was carried out, and apologized for any stress caused. A student council member was unswayed by the reaction: "I hope you're upset about it because I would rather have you upset and pissed off at the student council and the principal for a day, instead of being depressed because one of your classmates ACTUALLY died," she posted on Facebook. (A funeral home also took an unusual approach to the issue.)