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No Empty Chair Campaign

As we approach the end of the school year, we have many celebratory events to look forward to. We are excited to have these events in person in a manner reminiscent of pre March 2020. Unfortunately though, as we prepare for this happy time of year, we also prepare for the most lethal time of year for teen drivers.

In our discussions with parents, staff, town officials and our local first responders, they share with us that the issue of driving while intoxicated during prom and graduation season is of the greatest concern to our community. As many of you are painfully aware, the Rockland County and Clarkstown communities have recently experienced tragic loss due to this issue. 

In response, the Clarkstown Central School District (CCSD) will partner with the Clarkstown Police Department (CPD) and the Clarkstown Council of PTAs (PTA) this month 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 2022 “No Empty Chair” campaign, CCSD and CPD will organize educational activities and student-focused events during this season.

The statewide “No Empty Chair” campaign raises teen driver awareness of roadway dangers in the hope there will be no more empty chairs during prom and graduation season. Regrettably, two chairs will be empty this spring in memory of Clarkstown High School North and Clarkstown High School South students tragically killed in separate, recent accidents. Together, we can, and must, work to have this never happen again.

The 2022 "No Empty Chair" themes are below.  Events and activities to educate and raise awareness will continue throughout the school year. 

  • Monday, April 25, 2022 – Speeding in School Zones
  • Tuesday, April 26, 2022 – Seat Belt and Child Restraints
  • Wednesday, April 27, 2022 – Cell Phone Use and Texting
  • Thursday, April 28, 2022 – Operation Safe Stop
  • Friday, April 29, 2022 - Underage Drinking and Impaired Driving

Learn more here:

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 North and South High School, this issue is particularly painful to discuss because of the 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 I know we all want to make sure it does not happen again.

Thank you.

Jeff Sobel
Interim Superintendent
Clarkstown Central School District