Meade County High School holds mock student funerals to teach po - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Meade County High School holds mock student funerals to teach powerful lesson

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BRANDENBURG, Ky. (WDRB) -- A faux funeral was held Friday afternoon for a dozen students at Meade County High School. With a casket, flowers and the students covered in white sheets, it was a powerful image with a deep impact.

The Kentucky Office of Highway Safety brought the Ghost Out program to the school to educate students on the dangers of drunk driving, texting and driving, any type of distracted driving and not wearing a seat belt.

KOHS says 656 people have died on Kentucky roads so far this year. And for 15-to 20-year-olds, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death.

Throughout the morning, 12 students were pulled from their classroom by a Grim Reaper, each one representing a victim of distracted of impaired driving.

Later in the afternoon, they were escorted into the gymnasium filled with 1,600 of their peers, teachers and family members, where an obituary was read for each student.

“It makes you kind of nervous just thinking about it,” said Stephen Knott, a student chosen to be part of the faux funeral.

“I couldn't imagine how my family would feel,” said Garrett Ammons, another student participating in the faux funeral.

But there was one Meade County family who can painfully imagine it. David Taylor cautioned the students that life is not a game.

“You only get one chance," Taylor said. "Be smart."

He lost his daughter Brianna when she was killed by a drunk driver.

“There's nothing I can say, there's nothing I can do," he said. "I was a kid just like you once, but I can tell you this much. You do have control over yourself."

Each student's life came to a fictional end as their candle went out and a white sheet place over them. It was a compelling expression of poor decisions made behind the wheel.

“It is a scare tactic, but sometimes that’s what teenagers need in order for the point to be driven home,” said Meade County High School Youth Coordinator Nicki Banks. “If we save one kid … If one kid buckles that seat belt or doesn’t look at that text message, then it’s a job well done.”

“I hope I never have to hear this in real life,” said Ashley Stull, whose son was participating in the faux funeral. “As a mother, your greatest fear is having to bury one of your children.”

“Hopefully this will make them realize that they're not invincible, and it can happen to them too,” Knott said.

KOHS travels around the state bringing the Ghost Out program to several high schools a year.

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