Return to Headlines

Poland health students learn about DWI dangers, try goggles

Nov. 30, 2020


 Poland safety patrol officer Heather DuPont speaks in front of a classroom of health students


Herkimer County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Heather DuPont, the Poland Central School District safety patrol officer, speaks to one of teacher Sandy Hitt’s sixth-grade health classes on Wednesday, Nov. 18, about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.


 

POLAND – After wearing goggles designed to simulate alcohol impairment while trying to mark an X on a target, write their name on a line or pick up paperclips, Poland Central School District sixth-graders in teacher Sandy Hitt’s health class said they saw how disorienting and unpleasant the experience could be.

Herkimer County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Heather DuPont, the Poland safety patrol officer, provided goggles that simulated various levels of blood-alcohol content. Students said the normally simple tasks DuPont asked them to try became challenging, and some of them still felt a little dizzy or out of it a couple minutes later.

“It messes with you, right?” DuPont said. “So that’s what it’s going to look like when you’re behind the wheel at those levels.”

DuPont recently visited Hitt’s sixth-grade and senior-high health classes to talk about the dangers of driving while intoxicated and allow students to try the goggles and ask questions. DuPont’s presentations tied into the alcohol unit in the health classes.

Having DuPont in the school is a resource that Hitt wants to take advantage of whenever possible, she said.

“I just think she can make it more real,” Hitt said. “We’re so lucky to have her here and for her to bring us the goggles to use.”

DuPont talked to students about the entire process of what the process would be like to pull someone over for a suspected DWI. She spoke about the questions she would ask, what she would be looking for, the tests she would have people attempt and what the consequences are.

Using the goggles at the end of the class helps because instead of just telling students about the dangers of DWI, it allows them to realize that’s the way you would see things if driving while intoxicated.

“They see it is hard, what it does to you,” DuPont said.

Doing the presentations also allows DuPont to interact with students and get to know her a little bit, she said.

“I think it helps familiarize them with me and helps them know they can talk to me,” DuPont said.

Hitt said the opportunity for students to meet DuPont is part of the reason she likes to host the presentations. It helps students realize they can talk to DuPont in the hallway or in her office, Hitt said.

“And now you have another person in the building to go to if you have an issue,” Hitt said.



Poland Safety Patrol Officer Heather DuPont motions with her hands while talking to students who are sitting at their desks


Herkimer County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Heather DuPont, the Poland Central School District safety patrol officer, speaks to one of teacher Sandy Hitt’s sixth-grade health classes on Wednesday, Nov. 18, about the dangers of driving while intoxicated.




Student Logan Gemelli walks with DWI goggles as Sandy Hitt and Heather DuPont look on


Poland Central School District sixth-grader Logan Gemelli tries to walk on Wednesday, Nov. 18, while wearing goggles designed to simulate alcohol impairment, as Poland health teacher Sandy Hitt and Herkimer County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Heather DuPont, the Poland Central School District safety patrol officer, look on.




Student Lia Dutcher writes her name on a dry erase board while wearing DWI goggles as Heather DuPont looks on


Poland Central School District sixth-grader Lia Dutcher tries to write her name on a line on Wednesday, Nov. 18, while wearing goggles designed to simulate alcohol impairment, as Poland health Herkimer County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Heather DuPont, the Poland Central School District safety patrol officer, looks on.