Old lessons, new methods: health class case studies
During last year’s school-wide push to help students understand the implications that come with the decision to take part in underage drinking, the health classes started a new program. “Class Action” was brought into the sophomore health classes,
Class Action provides students with five specific case studies, each pertaining to a different scenario in which one minor or a group of minors were drinking. This year, the five cases deal with drinking and driving, school sports policies, rape, vandalism, and domestic violence.
The goal of the program, is to “teach students all about liability and the consequences of negligence,” said Joe Porrell, a Wayland High School gym teacher.
“In the books that [students] are reading, there are a lot of laws that tell them about their specific case, so they get to learn and apply different laws pertaining to alcohol,” he said.
Classes split up into teams of six, and each chooses one of the five cases. The students become part of the trial, representing the plaintiffs in the case.Their goal is to show negligence on the part of the defendant by proving that the defendant didn’t act as a reasonable person would act in that situation.
In the case study on drinking and driving, parents provided alcohol to their underaged son and his friend. The two boys left the house, and ended up in an accident, and the boy’s friend was left in a coma. Now, the friend’s parents are suing the parents responsible for giving the two boys alcohol in the first place.
Porrell thinks case studies will help students become more aware of the severities of dealing with alcohol. “It shows that when you get involved in alcohol you can end up involving the whole community,” he said. “In these cases, we have parents, coaches, friends, witnesses. All people having to testify.”
These case studies provide an alternate way to teach students about the dangers of alcohol, rather than simply scolding them not to drink. Allowing students the opportunity to learn about these consequences on their own has proved to leave a positive mark.
“From middle school on, we were repeatedly told that drinking alcohol can lead to very bad situations, and that we shouldn’t do it. The cases prove that these scenarios can happen to anyone, and I think that’s the part that gets people to listen,” said junior Rebecca Goldberg.
Like many of her fellow classmates, sophomore Elizabeth Place agrees. “It’s something we’ve never learned before, and it’s something you can’t get off the posters around school,” she said.