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No Empty Chair

There are many celebratory events to look forward to towards the end of the school year. Although a happy time, it is also a lethal time for teen drivers. In discussions with our parents, staff, town officials and local first responders, they all shared that the issue of driving while intoxicated during prom and graduation season is of great concern in the community. In recent years, the Rockland County and Clarkstown communities have experienced tragic losses due to this issue.

In response, the Clarkstown Central School District (CCSD) partners with the Clarkstown Police Department (CPD) and the Clarkstown Council of PTAs (PTA) to remind young drivers of their responsibilities as motorists and the very real consequences of impaired, reckless or distracted driving. As part of New York State's annual “No Empty Chair” campaign, CCSD and CPD organize educational activities and student-focused events during this season. The statewide campaign raises teen driver awareness of roadway dangers in the hope that there will be no more empty chairs during prom and graduation season. We must work together to prevent this from ever happening again.

The 2024 "No Empty Chair" themes are below. Events and activities to educate and raise awareness will continue throughout the school year. 

Monday, April 22 – Speeding in School Zones
Tuesday, April 23 – Seat Belt and Child Restraints
Wednesday, April 24 – Cell Phone Use and Texting
Thursday, April 25 – Operation Safe Stop
Friday, April 26 - Underage Drinking and Impaired Driving

As an integral part of the program, the Clarkstown Police Department will increase patrols near CCSD schools focusing on the "No Empty Chair" themes including: speeding in school zones, cell phone use and texting while driving, passing stopped school buses, and underage drinking and impaired driving. 

We urge everyone — parents, caregivers, coaches, club leaders, mentors and others — to speak with our children and young drivers about safe and responsible behaviors. We recognize that at both Clarkstown High School North and Clarkstown High School South this issue is particularly painful to discuss because of recent losses. We ask that everyone be as sensitive as possible to those who have been personally impacted by such events. We understand that there can be different views on the best way to address this challenging issue, but we all want to make sure that it does not happen again.