In April, with the collaboration of police and fire officials, Redondo Union High School called its seniors in for a special assembly. Officials at the suburban Los Angeles school told the teens that the night before, a horrendous drunk-driving car accident had killed one of their classmates and badly injured another. For dramatic effect, a tow truck dragged in a mangled car, allegedly the vehicle involved in the crash.
The school kept the students going for about 10 minutes, then told them that it was all a hoax—for their own good, of course. The idea, presumably, was to scare the kids away from driving while drunk, not to teach them to disbelieve anything the authorities tell them.
In a metropolitan area where more than a few carloads of teens have been in fatal accidents in recent months, the story hit close to home for some students. "I totally fell for it," one senior later told The Los Angeles Times. "It scared me. I got really upset." School officials have said the negative reaction to the skit has made them think twice about pulling the prank next year.