Photo/Story Gallery 2007
FHP Hosts a Ghost Out at Area High Schools
Recently, the Florida Highway Patrol hosted Ghost Out Day at two area high schools. The Ghost Out events involve a costumed Grim Reaper who “ghosts out” (takes the life of) one student every thirty-three minutes, which unfortunately represents the rate by which a person is killed by a drunk driver in the United States.
Pictured left, A coffin bears a banner that asks an important question: “Is it worth the risk?” and right, Clint Hutchinson, a guest speaker, Troop F Occupant Protection Specialist Trooper Lucy Papp, the Grim Reaper, and Sergeant Barbara Brown work the Ghost Out Day event held at two area high schools.
The first Ghost Out Day was held at Clewiston High School where the local S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions) chapter brought several guest speakers who helped spread the message about the dangers of drinking and driving for the audience of seniors. While the speakers stood at the podium, students were reminded of the serious consequences of drinking and driving as two bodies were carried out on stretchers covered by emergency blankets. The faces of the victims were covered, but students could see they were each wearing John and Jane Doe toe tags.
The rules of the Ghost Out game are grim, but simple. After each student is “ghosted out,” he or she must wear white face make-up and put on a black T-shirt to designate that he or she is no longer among the living, but is just a memory. Thereafter, his or her tombstone, which has been waiting for them in the make-shift cemetery, is uncovered by fellow students to signify that he or she is dead and buried in the ground. In addition, the “ghosted out” students are not permitted to speak to anyone for the rest of the day, which is logical since they are dead.
The second Ghost Out Day, held at Labelle High School, included another group of guest speakers and a power point presented by the Florida Highway Patrol. The images that were projected on the screen showed a series of graphic and realistic depictions of what drinking and driving can do. In addition, crashed cars were displayed outside on the school grounds so students could see the physical devastation that alcohol-related crashes can cause. Students also listened to the first-hand testimonial of Clint Hutchinson who was involved in a drunk driving crash that caused the death of his best friend. He spoke to the students about the pain and suffering of living with the aftermath of a DUI crash.
The Ghost Out Day presentations sent the message home that students need to make good decisions, like deciding not to drink and drive and deciding to wear a seat belt, every time they get behind the wheel or ride in a car with someone else. Traffic crashes can and do happen. However, students need to do everything they can to increase their odds of survival and not become another statistic.