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Your Classmates are dead. Ha Ha, Just Kidding.

When I was in high school, one Monday the morning announcements told us that one of the students had died over the weekend. She was an underclassman, a special ed kid. No one in my classes knew her, but it was still stunning news. It was wrong, it was creepy, it was scary – kids our age weren’t supposed to die in real life. And even though none of us knew her, there was still a sense of loss.

Last week,. in Oakland CA, police officers visited 20 classrooms in the El Camino High School and informed the students that several of their classmates had been killed in drunk driving accidents over the weekend.

But… it was a hoax. Ha Ha, just kidding. No one had died; the school administrators cooked up the scheme to “teach” the kids about the dangers of drunk driving.

The kids were furious, and shouted at the teachers during the assembly when the truth was announced. Some held up protest signs. But at least a few were accepting. 15-year-old Carolyn Magos said “You feel betrayed by your teachers and administrators, these people you trust. But then I felt selfish for feeling that way, because, I mean, if it saves one life, it’s worth it.” Congratulations, Carolyn, you win two awards with that statement – the Mindless Drone awards and the Nanny clichĂ© award.

When I first heard this story (sent to me by Parrot) I was seething. This is beyond vile, beyond appalling. Every police officer, school official and teacher who participated in it deserves to be horsewhipped in the town square, literally horsewhipped, then fired and banned from ever working in their profession again, for life.

But because they’re government drones, they’ll probably be promoted.

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12 Comment(s)

  1. It’s the most disturbing thing I’ve seen in recent memory, and I knew you’d want to comment on it.

    Don’t be too hard on Carolyn, she’s the victim of a school system that just doesn’t encourage independent thought.

    She just wanted to trust her elders so much that she was willing to make excuses for them.

    I do share your anger that this kind of sentiment is being repeated by one of the very people this incident has hurt, though. As I ranted in my email to you:

    What’s next? Is it worth one life if we tell kids that their parents have died in a drunk driving accident? Or maybe that a good chunk of their extended family died? Say, how about we hook electrodes up to all the kids genitals, then show them random images and give them painful shocks whenever an image related to booze or drugs shows up! Would that be worth it if it “saves just one life”???

    Parrot | Jun 24, 2008 | Reply

  2. Carolyn is also only fifteen, and very few people her age have a healthy or realistic view of the world. There is still plenty of time for her to wake up and realize that her feelings of betrayal are legitimate and not at all selfish, and to conclude she shouldn’t accept these dirtbags behavior as something done “for her own good.” Everyone involved in this deserves to be despised by her and every one of her classmates, and never, ever trusted again.

    Dave Hitt | Jun 24, 2008 | Reply

  3. Carolyn is right, in a way. A feeling of distrust and skepticism about things authorities say is definitely worth saving a life.

    Ilya | Jun 25, 2008 | Reply

  4. A feeling of distrust and skepticism about things authorities say can save your life. So in that way, I guess, they’ve done the kids a favor, by teaching them to never trust anyone based on their position.

    But you’re not justifying what they did, are you Ilya? What would your reaction be if they did that to your kid?

    Dave Hitt | Jun 26, 2008 | Reply

  5. Carolyn is right, in a way. A feeling of distrust and skepticism about things authorities say is definitely worth saving a life.

    So it’s okay for the authorities to lie to the public if it may possibly, somehow, maybe save a single life?

    What else is it okay for the authorities to do under that justification?

    Parrot | Jun 27, 2008 | Reply

  6. I think what Ilya is saying is that the school taught the students that authority figures lie.

    It seems a safe assumption that this was not the intent of the school.

    So the whole thing was a breach of trust – the poor kids learned that the teachers and school authorities that you are supposed to believe in are idiots. And a cynical view is that sets you up correctly for dealing with authority in the modern United States.

    That’s not justifying what the authorities did, that’s condemning it.

    sylvia | Jul 6, 2008 | Reply

  7. You sanctimonious people are ridiculous. Haven’t you ever been lied to? Did you whine incessantly about it? Were you traumatized? Do you take pills, even now, because you were lied to when you were 15?

    I actually think this was a smart way to present this issue (drinking and driving) and probably influenced a lot of kids to think before drinking and driving. These days, kids have so many distractions in their life, they will not tune in unless something is shocking.

    These kids are 15 year olds! not little babies that need to be protected from harsh, unfair thing in life..

    Godaweful police | Jul 13, 2008 | Reply

  8. I’m sure it also influenced a lot of kids to think of their teachers, administrators and the police as lying scumbags. Because they were.

    The Ends Justify The Means has never been a good argument.

    Dave Hitt | Jul 15, 2008 | Reply

  9. Ok first of all I’m 15 but I’m not stupid. I know what they did was really low but this wasn’t supposed to be a joke. The police officers came to our classroom and told us people were dead not because it was funny or amusing but because they’re tired of having to see people hurt or dead because some jackass decides to drink and drive. Everyone was pissed off and now I’m a “mindless drone” for trying to see things in a different way? I’m not some conforming idiot who listens to everything authorities tell me. I know lives were saved and I know this changed people so I stick by what I said.
    Plus no one was traumatized by this I’m not going to whine because my feelings were hurt. So yeah I felt like crap for 10 minutes but now everyone thinks next time they’re about to let someone drive drunk. Some of you people just want to piss and moan about something.

    Carolyn | Jul 19, 2008 | Reply

  10. It doesn’t matter whether people were traumatized or not, this isn’t about protecting people from being traumatized! Don’t try to turn this into an issue of “coddling” our children.

    This is about the right and wrong way to convey a message. You tell the truth, and if that’s not enough to convince people then so be it! If you lie just for that emotional punch then you’ve lost all credibility.

    “But they need to be scared!” – BULLSHIT! Fear is not an educational tool. Fear obscures rather than illuminates the truth. If the truth isn’t scary enough on it’s own, then let it be.

    Carolyn – you can’t justify what they did. If you think that you can you’re just fooling yourself. You should be pissed to your gills, and there’s something very wrong with the fact that you’re not.

    Parrot | Jul 21, 2008 | Reply

  11. Carolyn, while I completely disagree with your viewpoint, I admire your courage in coming here, defending yourself, and takeing the fire.

    The next time someone in authority gives you traumatic news, will you trust them? Will you believe them? If they tell you to do something immediately because there’s an emergency, will you do it, or will you hesitate because you suspect they’re lying to you?

    How can you ever trust a cop or a teacher again?

    They manipulated you. They toyed with your deepest emotions. If fellow students had done it to you, would your reaction have been different?

    Dave Hitt | Jul 22, 2008 | Reply

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    Fredrick | Jan 7, 2009 | Reply

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