Do We Really Need To Be Holding Mock Funerals In Our Schools?

distracted driving

This is ridiculous.

Here’s the thing: Don’t drive distracted. Don’t be texting on your phone. Don’t spend too much time fiddling with your music or the radio. Don’t let that attractive jogger pull your eyes away from the road.

It’s dangerous, and it’s not just your life you’re putting at risk.

All that being said, do we really need to be staging fake funerals in our schools?

INKSTER, N.D.—On Wednesday, high school students quietly filed into Midway Public School gymnasium and sat a few feet from a casket.

During the mock funeral, a teacher strode up to the podium to tell students that senior Carly Magnus, who lay motionless in the coffin, died from distracted driving.

“We are gathered here today to remember the life of our dear friend Carly,” teacher Liz Grzadzielewski said. “To think of this girl not being a part of our lives is unbelievable.”

After the ceremony, students clustered in the hallway. Freshman Ogden Wasylow said he was shocked at first.

“It shook me up a little bit inside,” he said. “It makes you think a little bit more about things in life.”

Just to be clear, only 40 percent of our state’s students are proficient and math, and only 46 percent are proficient in English. But we have time for this sort of ghoulish charade?

I know, I know. They’re “raising awareness” or whatever. And sure, distracted driving has become something of a fad issue in recent years. But it’s overblown.

When I ran the numbers back in 2014 I found that distracted driving caused by cell phones was a factor in less than 1 percent of all traffic accidents in North Dakota. Other distractions, such as eating or talking to other passengers, contributed to far more.

But sure, let’s take all the kids out of class and make them sit through a bit of stupid theater, complete with one of their classmates playing dead in a casket, to address something that contributes to a fraction of a fraction of traffic accidents in the state.