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Crash Course in Reality

Nutley High School’s Student Assistance Coordinator, Mrs. Lisa Cassilli, organized this year’s Crash Course in Reality program which has been teaching students in Nutley the potential outcome of distracted driving for the past 20 years.


On Tuesday, June 5, NHS juniors and seniors gathered in front of John H. Walker Middle School to witness a hypothetical alcohol-influenced car crash between peers. A Nutley police officer, walked student bystanders through the accident, and explained the consequences and risks of distracted driving of any kind.


This simulation was made to look as realistic as possible. In an effort to show students how destructive distracted driving can be, two vehicles filled with student participants in special effects makeup, were seen in “critical condition” in a head-on collision on Franklin Avenue. An ambulance, fire trucks, and police cars rushed to the scene and took away the participants on gurneys, and made the “influenced” driver take a sobriety test. The actions first responders took made the demonstration far more effective. “It was a little scary because it felt real. I wouldn’t want to be in that situation in real life,” NHS junior participant, Jaileen Murillo said.


The program offers much insight into the effects of poor decision-making. “I hope students think twice about getting into a car with someone under the influence,” Mrs. Casilli said.


Juniors and seniors appreciated the opportunity to learn about the risks of driving under the influence and the consequences of such. Senior bystander Sean Mac Donald said that, “the detail the first responder went into was eye opening. It was surreal to see what kind of force they bring to an event like that.”


The committee Mrs. Cassilli has behind Crash Course in Reality (the police department, fire department, public works, emergency rescue team, and support from the BOE) has helped the program leave a mark on students that they will not soon forget.