FAYETTEVILLE — Be smart and use a little common sense.
That's the message local authorities and school officials want to drive home to students as they prepare to drive home after upcoming prom and graduation events.
At a special demonstration Friday on the upper parking lot at Fayetteville High School, local authorities staged a demonstration aimed at warning students of the dangers of drunk or distracted driving. Friday's activity was ahead of Fayetteville High's prom, which is tonight at Adventures on the Gorge.
As part of the outreach effort, Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley said his office is making a point to address students at each high school in the county ahead of prom night. FCSD Cpl. Nick Hall talked with students at Valley High in Smithers on Friday, a day head of the Greyhounds' prom.
The message is straightforward. "Don't text and drive; don't drink and drive," the sheriff said. The visual effect of such demonstrations helps make teenagers more "aware of the consequences" if they choose poorly.
Similar discussions are planned for Oak Hill, Midland Trail and Meadow Bridge high schools, Fridley said.
Fridley and others Friday said it's foolish to think that some of the youth won't drink. But, if they choose to do so at a prom or other gathering, they are urged to make other arrangements besides getting behind the wheel themselves and embarking on an illegal and potentially deadly endeavor.
"Call and we'll give them a ride home," Fridley said.
Chris Pennington, sponsor of the Fayetteville High chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), said the demonstration was planned to guide students toward making wise decisions during the busy time that is prom and graduation season, and beyond.
Friday's staged scenario included an automobile wreck in which an intoxicated driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed after prom. In the simulation, the driver was ejected through the windshield and died from injuries. Three passengers in the car were transported to the hospital. Two other individuals were arrested after they impeded emergency response.
"I care about these kids," said Pennington, a third-year math teacher at the school. While he says he knows students will experiment with alcohol, law enforcement and school staff "want them to know they can reach out to people." Students worried about a safe trip home can rely on a variety of sources, he said. Among those are Uber, a designated driver, parents or 911. They should enjoy themselves, he urges, but be "responsible and safe."
According to Fayetteville Police Dept. Capt. Chad Davis, Fayette County Sheriff's Department Cpl. Andy Hudson stressed to the students to utilize common sense. "If they are impaired, call a family member or the 911 center," Davis said. "We advised them to use smart judgment and enjoy themselves."
Among the others responding Friday was Sgt. Glenn Chapman, of the Fayetteville PD.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @gb_scribe