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  • McNeil High School, 5720 McNeil Drive, Austin, TX 78729

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Dramatic Disaster

Disaster Response classes collaborate with theater students to stage mock bus crash

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Taking the learning outside the classroom, Disaster Response teacher Quin Parthasarathy, with help from the drama department, staged a disaster simulation to test how his students would actually respond to mass casualties.

“The class is called Disaster Response,”  Parthasarathy said. “The best way to see if they can respond to a disaster was to throw them in one.”

All the actors were given scripts, fake blood and prosthetic makeup, making for a realistic bus crash.

The students set up a triage and a morgue, practiced how to properly lay patients on a stretcher, dress wounds and ultimately had a rude awakening in bedside manner as the drama students were told to play heightened versions of hysterical patients.

“Dealing with patients was hard,” sophomore Kaitlyn Ledden said. “They were all screaming so it made for a stressful situation; but it was good practice of what we learned in class.”

For the theater students, the simulation was a chance to show off their talents and to experience working with people from outside the acting world.

“It was different from what we usually do because it was clear that these people aren’t actors,” sophomore Birdie Stabeno said. “Seeing how disasters could actually happen and how whether you live or die depends on someone else was memorable but scary.”

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Dramatic Disaster