"My students and I are a little worried about you," Yellow Medicine East sixth grade teacher Stacy Hinz told an auditorium of 7th - 12 graders. "We are worried that you are going to die in an accident or you're going to kill us, to be perfectly honest."
If you're a smart phone owner, chances are you've done it. And if you've done it, you know how dangerous it is because it is so obvious to what degree one's attention is diverted when driving and operating their phone.
On the Thursday before Christmas break, Hinz and her students took a light hearted approach to relay a serious message to students and parents: when it comes to texting and driving "It can wait."
Hinz was motivated to put together the presentation of skits and to produce a music video with their own words set to the tune of "It's Time" by the group Imagine Dragons after asking students about their daily drives to school. According to the instructor, all of her 27 sixth graders, save four, either ride to school with their parents or other students who have a propensity to text and drive.
"They were telling me, and I'm not going to single anybody out, they were telling me that you're bringing them to school and you're texting and you're tweeting, and you're chatting and you're posting and you're 'whatevering' while you're bringing them to school... How dare you," Hinz said, before adding: "Now don't get me wrong. I love my iPhone, I am hooked to it, I am addicted to technology... I get it. But I would rather have you all here."
Adding further justification to the event was the response received when Hinz asked the audience if they themselves text and drive and or ride with folk who do. All but about 10 students appeared to raise their hand skyward.
The ensuing production, including multiple skits, the music video, lighting and sound effects, were all put together by the sixth grade students themselves. Simple but effective, it was hard imagining that any of the students wouldn't recall the spectacle next time they themselves are driving or are riding as a passenger.
And that's the point.
"We want you take a stand and we want you take that phone out of your hand. That's our goal," said Hinz. "But we need some help from you."
As a last point, students and parents were invited to go onto the school's website and sign a pledge that they would not text and drive. One can still sign the pledge today.
Funding facilitating the production was provided by Granite Falls Kiwanis and Granite Falls Bank. Later this month the students will present to Youth Area Resources (YAR), of Marshall, in hopes that the organization will allot the student a $1,000 grant that they plan to use to continue getting our their message.