Written by Jaime L. Tomeo Friday, 06 November 2009 00:00
For the third consecutive year, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice brought Choices and Consequences, her driver-education program aimed at teaching high school students about the dangers of drunk and reckless driving, to Levittown high schools.
The Oct. 15 presentation at Levittown Memorial Education Center featured a 90-minute slideshow and interactive speech by Rice, as well as testimony from actual young people who have been arrested for drunken and reckless driving, spent time in jail, and seen the consequences of their actions.
“Car crashes are the number one cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years old,” Rice said. “I believe we can and must do something about that. By educating young drivers about the realities of the road and the consequences of poor decision making, we can reduce the number of fatalities and injuries we see each year.”
Each presentation ends with a skit performed by students and a demonstration by a Nassau County police officer of the criminal process drunk and reckless drivers must go through after arrest. The DA’s program has visited more than 100 schools since its inception in 2006 in an attempt to educate young drivers of the unfortunate fact that automobile collisions are the number one cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24.
Over the past two years, this program has been presented during Levittown’s LEADD Week (Levittown Educators Against Destructive Decisions) activities.
Division Avenue High School Drug and Alcohol Counselor Alice Anderson said this “consciousness-raising program complements other prevention activities and the health curriculum.”
“This presentation by Maureen McCormick, chief of Vehicular Crimes, effectively captures the interest and attention of the students,” she added. “Her presentation is reality based and delivered with strong convictions, emotional authenticity and with a clear definition of the laws. The heartbreaking stories of the victims and their families is further enhanced by the statements and stories of those who have chosen to drink and drive. The devastating painful effects on everyone involved are realized. Students are moved by this presentation and students always remain afterwards to speak to Ms. McCormick about either personal experiences or concerns.”
“The speakers delivered powerful messages about the ramifications of drinking and driving, and presented authentic news clips and videos of much publicized Nassau County cases of vehicular homicide,” MacArthur Assistant Principal Joan Lorelli added. “There were testimonials by young adults who were victims and offenders in drunk-driving accidents, and we found that these first-hand accounts were most effective, as they visibly moved the students in the audience.
The DAHS SADD chapter usually fluctuates between 25-40 students, while MacArthur does not have one.