San Marin High students get dose of reality

Every 15 Minutes is a two-day program focusing on high school juniors and seniors, which challenges them to think about drinking, driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions. Along with alcohol related crashes, it focuses on the impact that their decisions would have on family and friends.


The Every 15 Minutes program starts months in advance of the actual presentation. This includes all of the involved agencies, students, and administrators from all schools getting together, and planning the event. This includes the selection of the students to be involved in the program.

The day of the presentation starts with a student being removed from class, immediately after the start of the day.

Following that, an additional student is removed from class every fifteen minutes. The students that are pulled from class get made-up to look dead and become the "living dead". They attend their classes for the rest of the day but are not allowed to speak to anyone. Sometime during the day, usually around 1 p.m, a traffic crash is simulated, on school grounds, which involves some of the students. In the planned crash, at least one of those volunteer students is "killed", one is transported to the hospital but dies there, and one student is the drunk driver.

The simulated crash is handled by the responding agencies, such as police, fire and medical services. The drunk driver is arrested by the local police agency. The drunk driver is taken to the local jail and booked and spends the night in jail.

The agencies play out a real scenario of the response to a drunk driving crash, in front of all the students. After the crash scene, the living dead leave school grounds until the next morning.

After the crash scene, the living dead, as well as the members involved in the crash scene go on a retreat. By separating themselves from their communities, the living dead reinforce the sentiment of loss and permanence. At the retreat, students play ice-breaker team building games in order to become close with one another, eat dinner, and eventually engage in a reflective session about the day's events.

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