Many high school kids believe they are invincible. 

They hear about other kids their age dying in tragic drinking and driving incidents, getting killed while texting and driving, but they don’t believe this could ever happen to them.

But it can.

No one would ever want that to happen, but to say that it couldn’t is out of our hands. Kids who are old enough to drive need to realize this and use sound judgment when they are behind the wheel of the cars.

That is why an event like “Ghost Out” is such an important one. “Ghost Out,” which recently was organized here by the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and other organizations, is an event held at high schools to teach juniors and seniors about what could happen to them if they drive impaired or irresponsibly. 

The program involves students holding candles and being approached by a six-foot, eight-inch “grim reaper” who taps a student on the shoulder. The student blows out the candle and two paramedics grab him by the arms and lower him to the gym floor. They cover the student with a white sheet. A friend walks up and places a single red rose on the sheet.

After this, the obituaries of those students who “died” are read while other students listen to what caused their death and in some cases, the aspirations for their life. In some scenarios, the grim reaper approaches students who do the right thing such as calling someone for a ride because they could be intoxicated and realize they could be a danger to themselves or others. Those who do the right thing are allowed to leave their candles lit.

This type of program has to be surreal for these students. Many students who hear the false obituaries being read are surely friends or acquaintances of them. That not only makes them think about losing a close friend in a horrible accident, but it has to make them question their mortality.

If hearing obituaries wasn’t enough to help these students realize what could really happen if they get behind the wheel impaired or get busy text messaging while driving, then walking past a steel casket with a mirror inside where they could see their reflection had to really make them think.

Holding programs such as “Ghost Out” has to have the effect of instilling in students’ minds what could happen to them or their friends if they make one mistake while behind the wheel. 

We are hopeful that it does.