STURGIS, S.D. — Sirens flared as emergency responders from Sturgis performed an exercise for freshman at Sturgis Brown High School.
It was the 10th year in which upperclassmen organized an Emergency Response Exercise.
It all started with the simulation of a party, where students of the school’s Youth Leadership Team and police reenacted a scene to show different situations, which could bring different types of charges.
Then as part of the simulation, disaster struck.
First responders depicted a two-vehicle crash in which some student actors were injured and unconscious, while a driver of one of the vehicles is tested for impairment and drunk driving, ending in incarceration.
A scene serving as a message to parents to talk to their kids, who police say are very impressionable at a young age.
“Have these conversations, be open with em’ and you know, just letting you know that you’re there for em’ if they get into a situation like this where you can come get em’ and hopefully we don’t run into a scenario of this magnitude,” said Benny Page, School Resource Officer for the Sturgis Police Department.
The victims of the crash exercise were taken into the gym where medical personnel talked to students about the suspected injuries but added a little twist.
“It varies from year to year, this year we had a drug overdose that they’re treating,” Page said. (The) patient comes in very sick, vomiting and I think she ends up going unconscious in there and they end up treating that part.”
The exercise continued with a trip to the court room.
“On the night in question, the defendant chose to go to a party where she chose to break the law and consume alcohol despite being underage,” said Meade County Deputy State’s Attorney, Tanner Jackson.
But Elisabeth Ortiz, the exercise coordinator, along with her peers wanted to go further.
“We added a presentation about sexual assault it happens a lot and a lot of students don’t know what to do if they are sexually assaulted or if they know someone that has been and so we thought it was really important to add that,” Ortiz said.
Exercises illustrating the harm a single choice can make and what students can do to say safe.