A Hit On The Wild Side MAG

By Jennifer M., Dracut, MA

   The school cafeteria was silent with the exception of cries of terror. Girls sobbed, and boys slammed walls in fury. We all watched as they handcuffed our school hero. Chad* was our star varsity basketball hero. He had everything going for him: great looks, a beautiful girlfriend, a lot of friends, and the admiration of the whole school. Now, we all watched as they took him away for drunk driving. The story had spread throughout the school by lunchtime. That's the way things are in a small school. Chad had been out drinking the previous night, and had supposedly hit someone coming home from the big party. The story was that he and his girlfriend had hit something and assumed it was a cat, so they kept going. The story grew. There had apparently been a hit and run that night and a woman was killed. Now our Chad was being arrested for her death.

They put him against the wall, read him his rights and took his girlfriend in for questioning. The student body watched the whole thing. Some tried to be encouraging by patting him on the back and saying, "We're here for ya, pal." But most cried. Holes were punched in the wall, fights broke out. Where we are such a small school, everyone was affected by others' problems.

Sixth period, following lunch, was the worst because teachers tried to act like nothing was going on when half of the class was crying. After a half an hour, the principal, sounding quite upset, came over the loud speaker and announced an assembly in the cafeteria.

We gathered in the caf, and our principal began lecturing us that what we do outside of the school reflects upon our school's reputation. Then the police officer who arrested Chad came and yelled at us like it was our fault that Chad drove drunk. One of the students stood up and protested the officer's accusations between tears. The officer motioned him into silence and pointed toward the door. In walked no one other than Chad and his girlfriend. They entered the room and softly began to explain that the entire event was made up. It was only an act put on by S.A.D.D. to deter teens from drunk driving. A good number of the students became outraged and walked out, yelling choice words to the principal, the S.A.D.D. members, teachers, and Chad. The rest of the afternoon was spent crying and telling the faculty how they toyed with the students' emotions, when in fact, a lot of the faculty knew only about as much as the student body.

By the end of the day, the students felt a lot better and were hugging Chad and his girlfriend thanking them for proving to them that drinking and driving did not mix.

This event, which took place on the first day of May, wasn't completely a waste. Although it hurt and offended many students, it proved a point that will stay with the students of our small private school for a lifetime. It made many students question the values of Students Against Drunk Driving groups, but if it saves one life, it was worth the heartache. n

*Names were changed to protect the identity of students involved.

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