Shattered Dreams Program Presented at McMillen HS
During the Shattered Dreams program presented at McMillen High School on Mar. 21, students portrayed a very realistic crash scene that occurred due to a student who had been driving while intoxicated (DWI). As McMillen High students formed a circle of “witnesses” around the scene, first responders from Murphy Police Department, Murphy Fire Rescue and state troopers from Texas Highway Patrol arrived on scene.
This program is orchestrated by Murphy Police Officer and McMillen Student Resource Officer, Kris Riebschlager. He said, “We hope to convey to the students the dangers of drinking and driving, and the amount of loss that can occur in just one day. Statistically, one person is severely injured or killed in an alcohol related incident every 15 minutes. In the course of one school day, that means we lose about 24 students. As a school resource officer, I have seen some of our new drivers caught for drinking and driving.” This program occurs every other year at McMillen.
At 9:05 a.m., The Grim Reaper (portrayed by Isaac Downs) arrived in a classroom and walked around the room. An officer announced the death of the student and the student stood. The officer read the student’s obituary. The student then left the classroom. This course of action was repeated throughout the day in 15 minute increments signifying the number of alcohol related incidents that occur daily.
Murphy resident Layla Bensellam is 16 years old and a sophomore at McMillen. She played the role of the drunk driver during this presentation. Putting herself in character as the drunk driver she said, “Seeing my friends lay there was heartbreaking. I immediately regretted my decision to drive drunk. It wasn’t worth it at all.” Regarding why this program is important to her, she said, “Millions of lives are taken each year because of drunk driving. It is important to make students at a young age see how deadly drunk driving is.”
Adam Humphreys is also a 16-year-old sophomore at McMillen. He portrayed the role of one of the three fatalities in the DWI accident. He was the driver of the other vehicle. He said while performing, he wondered if his classmates were taking this seriously and if they were learning lessons that should help them make good decisions in regards to drinking and driving. He said, “I care about other people’s lives. I want them to live long lives and don’t want them to ruin their lives driving drunk. I hope my performance showed them that you can die when you make bad decisions.”
This year, an afterschool portion of the program was added for those students who participated in the Shattered Dreams presentation. The overnight retreat included going to a North Dallas funeral home then to the Murphy Community Center (MCC). At the MCC, participants listened to victim impact speeches. Officer Riebschlager said, “The first victim speaker spoke of her husband that was killed by a drunk driver in front of Murphy Middle School at 2:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. That driver has received 12 years in prison for intoxication manslaughter. (The) Second victim speaker spoke of her 18-year-old son who was a passenger in a vehicle with a friend traveling at a high rate of speed that was involved in a one vehicle accident. The driver of that vehicle later received 7 years in prison.”
Additional activities included team building in the gym and writing and reading letters the participants wrote. Officer Riebschlager said, “Letters are written to their parents at the end of the night after hearing the speakers, who present their stories of loss from a DWI accident. These letters are written from the standpoint that the students have died in a DWI accident and they want to tell their parents what happened from their words.”
Wylie Auto Towing, CareFlite, Baylor Scott & White Emergency Hospital and Aria Funeral Homes assisted in this Shattered Dreams presentation.