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The Pow Wow

The School News Site of Bonner Springs High School

The Pow Wow

The School News Site of Bonner Springs High School

The Pow Wow

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BSHS DUI Experience

Dainan+Whetstone
Dainan Whetstone

The BSHS Prom is this weekend and with that comes the concerns of students driving unsafely, such as driving under the influence of alcohol. With that in mind, Captain Heather Pate with the Bonner Springs Police Department worked with the BSHS school board and administration for three months to put on an event for students to demonstrate the importance of safe driving. “I’m hoping it’ll go prom and beyond to include graduation parties and everything that’s coming up at this time,” says Captain Pate. 

 

During lunch hour on Wednesday, students were able to go to the gym and go through the featured activities. They could put on a pair of goggles that demonstrated impaired vision with varying levels of drunkenness and try to ride a four wheel bike through cones. With the goggles, students were led through a heel-to-toe test by a police officer. 

 

In front of the school, the BSPD brought a simulator that showed students how important it is to wear a seatbelt. “The tools utilized were to show students that when impaired by drugs or alcohol not only is their decision making impacted, but the motor skills necessary to operate a motor vehicle are severely diminished,” SRO Officer Watson states. 

Dainan Whetstone

If students weren’t up for the activities, they could go talk to the two panels of nonprofit organizations that help victims impacted by DUIs. The panels consisted of the DUI Victims Center of Kansas and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Both organizations have the mission of bringing more awareness to traumatic events that can happen and supporting victims and families involved. 

 

The DUI Victims Center of Kansas started in 1987 after CEO Mary Ann Khoury lost her childhood friend – who was also three months pregnant at the time – when a repeat offender was drunk driving and killed her. After not finding proper support she created the nonprofit that has since helped serve over 100,000 people. Their mission is to reduce the impact on victims, survivors, and families. They also help victims navigate the Judicial system, educate new drivers, and provide support through grief. If you would like to learn more about the DUI Victims Center, click here for their website: DUIVictimsCenterofKansas.com.

 

MADD started in the 1980s, a mother who lost her child due to drunk driving channeled her grief into making a change. MADD’s mission is to end driving under the influence, support the victims of these crimes, and prevent underage drinking. MADD provides support nationwide with guidance through the criminal and civil process, assistance finding financial support, emotional support, and a 24/7 help hotline. If you would like to learn more about MADD, click here for their website: MADD.org.

Dainan Whetstone

During seminar on Thursday, juniors and seniors were given a presentation that started in the auditorium with speakers Mike and Debbie Kleczka. The Kleczkas talked about their 19-year-old son, Benjamin, who was killed by a drunk driver going over 100 mph. After that presentation, students were guided to the parking lot where the BSPD and the fire department had set up a demonstration of how they would rescue people injured in a teen drunk driving accident. With help of Mr. Hoffman’s Forensics class, students saw a real-life scenario where the police tested the “driver” with heel-to-toe walks, standing on one leg and counting, eye tracking, and even demonstrated a breathalyzer. Senior Aiden Mosqueda says, “I think it was put together very well and I enjoyed it very much.” The fire department showed how they would cut open the car with the most damage to get the driver out. 

 

According to a 2019 survey from Responsibility.org, there were a total of 91 alcohol impaired driving fatalities per 100,000 in Kansas and 10,142 nationwide. For people who were underage, there were 6 total alcohol impaired driving fatalities in Kansas and 906 nationwide. In Kansas, there were 65 underage arrests for DUIs and 3,092 nationwide. In total, there were 5,672 arrests for adults in Kansas and 1,024,508 arrests nationwide . In 2021, it was reported that every 39 minutes someone was killed due to drunk driving, causing 13,384 deaths. Every year, about 315,000 people are injured due to drunk driving, costing our nation approximately 312 billion dollars. 

 

Some may say, “what do those stats have to do with prom?” Well, according to the CDC, about one third of alcohol-related teen fatalities happen during prom season (April-June). When young drivers (ages 16-20) have a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher, they are seventeen times more likely to die compared to being completely sober. 

 

Driving under the influence is a choice. To choose to drive under the influence is to choose to harm other people and yourself. So this weekend, when you and your friends are enjoying prom, be smart and don’t drive if you are under the influence. Getting a ride home from your parents and risk being grounded is way better than risking your life or someone else’s.

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About the Contributor
Katelyn Fogelman
Katelyn Fogelman is a Senior and this is her third year on the Pow Wow staff.

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