FORREST CITY, Ark. —On Monday morning paramedics and first responders showed up in force at Forrest City High School. The school's cafeteria was transformed into a "mass casualty" scene as part of "Safe Prom 2019."
The staged scene included students in prom wear and traumatized parents. Officials say it's designed to help students remember that any distractions behind the wheel can be fatal. That means no alcohol and no cell phones while driving.
"The number one reason people use their cell phone behind the wheel is cause they don't want to miss out. But think about all the things you're going to miss out on if you have an accident and you seriously injured yourself or kill yourself?" Michelle Paden, President and Co-Founder of Families Against Distractive Driving, said.
This demonstration shows from beginning to end how prom night can turn to tragedy in the blink of an eye.
"We emphasize to them that, you know, bad decisions this weekend can null everything you've worked up to so far," Shane Dallas, with St. Francis County, said.
But "Safe Prom 2019" is unique because it's not all about scare tactics. During breakout sessions, students discussed proper attire for the big night, prom etiquette and even a warning about taking embarassing pictures that could wind up on social media.
Kourtney Blanchett, senior class president, just hopes her friends get the message. "As a senior, I try my best to encourage everyone to be safe and take part in safe actions after prom," she said.