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South High holds prom safety awareness event

April 26, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

As South Hagerstown High School students walked down the main hallway to leave school Friday, 121 students in red shirts, representing teenagers who have died from distracted driving accidents, stood on either side of them and did not say a word.

They held up signs such as “I wanted to be a veterinarian” or “I wanted to graduate,” in addition to providing statistics about distracted driving accidents.

Many of the students entering the hallway who first acted surprised, making jokes and talking loud about the situation, began to quiet down and read the signs as they continued to walk down the hallway, with many of them silent by the time they went outside.

“It was overwhelming and sad,” South High Freshman Hannah McIntyre, 14, said. “It’s crazy how many people die from distracted driving.”

South High senior Brandon Bloyer, 18, added that he was “shocked” when walking down the hallway.

“That’s a lot of body bags,” he said. “It felt a little awkward.”

The student government members and students from various other clubs took part in the event, which was held the day before the South High prom and is meant to raise awareness to the dangers of distracted driving, including drinking, texting, talking or speeding, said Caitlin Myers, who teaches social studies at the school and organized the event.

Students wearing red could not talk all day, acting as if they were “dead.”

Myers described the program as a “visual representation” of the effect of distracted driving.

“If this was real, everybody coming to school would not see the kids in the red shirts anymore,” she said. “With the amount of unfortunate deaths we had last year, kids need to be scared into facing reality.”

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