In an effort to grab attention and change behavior, a group of Harker Heights High School students made a statement saying nothing.
The school’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter sponsored a campaign Thursday in connection with a national day of pledging against texting and driving.
Participating students, mostly from teacher Amber Beasley’s classes, dressed in black and painted their faces white to represent the 13 percent of automobile accidents connected to texting and driving.
The white-faced “dead” agreed not to speak except to teachers and wore a badge explaining the campaign against driving while distracted by devices.
Participating students watched a gripping video that showed biographical information about victims and survivors of actual texting and driving accidents.
The students also collected pledge signatures during lunch periods.
“This is about trying to get their attention,” said Beasley, who helped students dab on white face paint at the beginning of the school day.
She said her students responded well to supporting a cause that strikes close to home, noting that it revolves around changing a learned behavior. “When the phone buzzes, you don’t have to pick it up,” she said.
Students used social media outlets to get out the word to friends that texting and driving is hazardous.
In the video students watched, they learned about drive mode phone apps designed to send return messages notifying senders the recipient is driving.
Alexis Cox, a Harker Heights senior and the FCCLA president, said she and her friends put on “ghost makeup” to represent those who died from texting-related accidents.
“We are hoping to get people to pledge and to stop texting and driving,” she said. The FCCLA’s theme this year is related to keeping the community safe.
She said young people with cellphones often text and drive or at least check messages while driving and many don’t see a problem with it.
After spending half of the school day wearing white makeup and not talking, sophomore Taya Peterson said keeping silent was challenging, but the campaign seemed effective.
“It’s hard not talking to people,” she said, “but it’s fun to see their reaction. They want to know what it’s about.”
To learn more about the campaign, go to http://www.itcanwait.com.