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Anti-Drinking Demonstration Confuses some Belchertown High School Students

Belchertown HSBELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WGGB) — An anti-drunk driving announcement over the loud speaker Monday morning confused and scared some Belchertown high school students.

“It was crazy it felt real and I was sad when I heard three people had died,” said Blake Mongeon, a junior at the school.

For ten minutes Monday morning, Blake Mongeon and kids in his class were shocked by a fake announcement that said three students were killed in a morning car accident.  The students who were named were part of the demonstration.

“The girl sitting next to me in class was one of her close friends and she started crying and everyone else went silent,” said Mongeon.

The announcement was part of the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) White Out Day.

Blake says there was mention of a student demonstration, but him and his fellow students thought it was about an assembly scheduled for Tuesday morning.  He wishes the fact Monday’s announcement was part of a student sponsored demonstration was made more clear.

“He should have said it at the end that it was fake as well when everyone was fully engaged,” said Mongeon.

Blake’s mom Robin also thinks it should have been handled better.

“Right away, I thought oh my word, that is so cruel, really, really cruel,” said Robin Mongeon.

She called the school right away to complain.

Monday afternoon, Belchertown High School Principal Chris Vigneux sent an email to parents. It reads in part:

“This demonstration was meant to raise awareness and encourage our students to make good decisions before, during, and after school. In the future, you will receive notice of this demonstration before it takes place.”

Belchertown Superintendent Dr. Judith Houle spoke briefly with ABC40 by phone Monday afternoon.  At the time she did not provide much detail about her knowledge of the announcement and said it was most likely a misinterpretation of the about the demonstration.

Robin was pleased to see the school taking action and hopes something like this doesn’t happen again.

“I think this just crossed the line. I don’t think this was thought through,” said Robin Mongeon.

A SADD presentation for the high school is still set for Tuesday morning.  The email sent to parents details what will be covered during that assembly.

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WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.
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