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Beep Day crash may cloud senior class activities

Posted by Your Town  May 29, 2009 12:21 PM

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By Erica Noonan
Globe Staff

It isn't clear whether Thursday morning's "Beep Day" parade mishap will prompt Wellesley High School officials to prohibit student-planned slate of senior class graduation season events.

Nine Wellesley students suffered minor injuries when four cars collided during the annual decades-old, unsanctioned senior class procession.

Wellesley police said the four cars were in a chain reaction rear-end accident about 10 a.m. on a residential stretch of Forest Street, shortly after the traditional parade of decorated cars carrying graduating seniors, honking their horns and cheering, departed the high school parking lot.

Occupants from the two most damaged cars went to Newton-Wellesley Hospital by ambulance, said Wellesley Police Sergeant Marie Cleary. A short time later, other students riding in less-damaged vehicles sought medical care after telling their parents about the accident.

Wellesley High principal Andrew Keough hasn't commented on whether school officials are considering placing limits on the remainder of the senior graduation celebrations, or will move to ban the parade next year.

He said in a mass e-mail to parents shortly after the crash that the school was investigating the accident.

"We are thankful no one was more seriously injured and will be investigating further what happened so that this type of incident will not happen again," he wrote.

Police had given seniors safety instructions for Beep Day about two weeks ago, Cleary said.

"We don't sanction it. We just offer safety guidelines," she said.

That has been the department's long-standing routine for the unofficial celebration, which dates back more than 50 years and is generally unpopular with school officials because of the noise and disruption it causes.

Drivers in the three cars that hit the vehicles stopped in front of them were issued citations for following too closely, Cleary said today.

This certainly wasn't the first Beep Day fender-bender, she said, but authorities could not immediately locate records of past incidents.

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29 comments so far...
  1. Students should not be allowed to drive to school. Walk, bike, or take the bus. These children are not old enough to understand the responsibilities involved with driving a vehicle. They drive too fast, go through red lights, and talk on the phone. Ban cars from schools and there will be no more accidents and dead children like the girl killed in Methuen four days before graduation when she was speeding and drove into a tree.

    Posted by Highandinside May 28, 09 04:26 PM
  1. buncha knuckledraggers hootin' and holleran' like common morons when they shoulda been in school gettin' the lernin dun. flunk 'em for bein' jus plain ignerant!

    Posted by sam smith May 28, 09 04:34 PM
  1. If you don't stop it you are sanctioning it. They are your students.

    Posted by s fischer May 28, 09 04:49 PM
  1. These are not "kids"...these are high school seniors! And it's a stupid fender bender caused by inexperienced drivers who were too busy doing everything else but paying attention to the road. Guess someone will be paying an arm and a leg for car insurance now...

    It's funny how you don't call "kids" those same aged people who join the army...

    Posted by summer_cyclist May 28, 09 05:26 PM
  1. They are going to have it whether you stop it or not. With no guidelines it'll turn MORE dangerous as they sneak around and do it somewhere else....

    Posted by Not a student anymore May 28, 09 05:31 PM
  1. Highandinside:

    I'm with you! Those kids with those XX skateboards and rock music ...

    Posted by Jon May 28, 09 05:32 PM
  1. what is wrong with you people. almost 40 years without a problem and now there is one accident and your response ban cars. What's next burn books you don't like? Hell don't let them think there own thoughts. Better yet don't let them go to college, they might drink. Keep your children locked in your over protective houses so you can hover over them. How's this, teach your children how to be responsible and mayby while you're at it get a life.

    Posted by smartypants May 28, 09 05:33 PM
  1. Take a chill pill people, the kids drive at 20-25 mph the whole way on a set route with police posted along it. This is not some sort of race but rather a procession and celebration. It's too bad that there was an accident but this in no way even rivals all towns high school dances, to which kids not only show up drunk, but also drive to drunk.

    Posted by G Miao May 28, 09 06:00 PM
  1. No, if they aren't on school property or attending a school sanctioned event, then these aren't the school's responsibility. As their parent, they are your responsibility.

    Posted by A1T May 28, 09 06:01 PM
  1. ok i live in wellesley and worse has happened at this event in the past. Heck i am a senior at WHS. yes i freaked out when i heard my friends were in a crash but i knew they were ok cause we were going btwn 10 and 15 miles per hour! so if you don't live in wellesley and don't get why this tradition is important to use then back off. we knew the consequences of beep day but we decided to have one. This may be the last beep day for a number of reasons but since everyone is ok i would say that it was a over all success. now back off. we maybe kids to some of you but we r just showing our spirit and we know a lot more about what was going on than you do.
    BEEP DAY FOREVER! WHS CLASS OF 2009!

    Posted by swonderfulgal May 28, 09 06:37 PM
  1. Kids in highschool for at least the past 20 years have grown up in a CNN news all the time culture with the importance of doing well academically, physically in sports, and giving to community service along with anything to excel above and beyond is encouraged in the relentless drive to get all of them into top tier colleges. It is a lot of pressure and they have made it to their senior year. Rituals are what create community and the joint memories are what mark the meaning and purpose of life. As a previous commentator pointed out ... this is the age we encourage to pick up arms, stand strong and fight in wars that older learned men don't have figured out. It was an accident what happened. Stupid accidents can happen to seniors as well as middle aged adults and one fluke shouldn't punish and clamp down on everyone going forward. It is smart of Wellesley's police to attempt to provide guidance and education rather than prohibition. Hopefully they will stay the course of moderation.

    Posted by Addie May 28, 09 06:38 PM
  1. and you go smartypants! you are totally right except there have been minor problems in the past. not major things but little things like breaking the guidlines that r set down by the police and the school

    Posted by swonderfulgal May 28, 09 06:41 PM
  1. "With no guidelines it'll turn MORE dangerous as they sneak around and do it somewhere else...."
    No they won't. The point is to get the attention of (aka DISTRACT) other Wellesley High students INSIDE the school during classes. They're what-- going to go beep in front of Framingham High all day? I'm sure the Framingham Police will be glad for the extra revenue...
    Just put some aggressive police officers out there and ticket the heck out of the precious little snowflakes.

    Posted by Wellesley High Alum May 28, 09 07:38 PM
  1. #10: All the points you were trying to make were lost in the words that were spelled wrong: "so if you don't live in wellesley and don't get why this tradition is important to use then back off. " (I am assuming you meant to say 'why this tradition is important to us--and shouldn't 'wellesely' be capitalized?'). "we maybe kids to some of you but we r just showing our spirit and we know a lot more about what was going on than you do." (I am assuming you meant to say 'We may be kids'-- and it is 'are', not 'r'. You are not texting your friends here, if you expect to be taken seriously in the real world, substituting 'r' for 'are' doesn't cut it.) Perhaps staying in school to learn the proper way to spell and use diction is warranted, instead of driving around making a ruckus on 'Beep Day'.

    Posted by Ron Thibodeau May 28, 09 07:56 PM
  1. Was someone texting their girlfriend?

    Posted by 57-states May 28, 09 08:44 PM
  1. Not every day you can read about a multi-car collision and laugh your a*& off! Thanks for the A-1 reporting, phew, so glad I didn't miss that one!

    Posted by mary shelley May 28, 09 09:54 PM
  1. #10 - They are going to let you graduate? I thought Wellesley had a good school system.

    Posted by Dankat May 28, 09 10:46 PM
  1. AAAAAAAAAAAAA Ron Thibodeau, I understood exactly what she was saying in her post. I can honestly say, without hyperbole, that nobody has EVER won an argument by dissecting the grammar of someone else's statement. Many people of that age group are going to continue communicating like that throughout their entire business careers, you're going to have to adapt. Comment on the content, not on the style in which it was delivered. Not a slam at you Ron, I've just been wanting to say that every time I see a post like that and for some reason I figured why not now...

    Posted by john May 29, 09 12:15 AM
  1. 12 years of school, they're entitled to celebrate with a minor organized prank or hack, or a beer in the parking lot of their father's stadium. Give them a break.

    Posted by Fishwood May 29, 09 12:18 AM
  1. As I sat in a science class as a Wellesley Junior High 7th grader in 1975, I was delighted by the seniors beeping past our windows. The "distraction" lasted all of 2-3 minutes. Every year Beep Day was welcomed by students sitting in their classrooms because it meant summer vacation was almost here. After all the hard work and pressure of high school, the least these kids should be able to do is celebrate a little. And please, don't belittle the pressure of hight school...I did 4 years of college, got a master's, had children, AND have worked for a living for decades. I can say from experience that being in high school is a lot pressure! This incident is not the crime of the century, and if school officials "crack down" on future festivities, it would be a major overreaction. Congratulations to all the graduating seniors, and I hope the injuries aren't too painful.
    p.s The science teacher was Wally Brazier...remember him?

    Posted by Meginski May 29, 09 09:09 AM
  1. I'd love to know if people would have such negative, opinionated, insensitive reactions to a 4-car accident caused by distracted ADULTS - on a conference call and driving carpool simultaneously, trying to read a map or directions while driving, concentrating on voicemail and writing down a number while changing lanes, etc., etc., etc. - as they do to the YOUTHS in this story and the chance to pick on the young and priviledged (who, by the way, just completed 12 years of school and want to celebrate with one-another in the context of a - very wholesome, I might add - tradition)? I seriously doubt it. Accidents are exactly that: accidents! Mistakes. They happen, and we've all had them. Thank goodness, no one was seriously injured. And thank goodness no one was there to dissect and comment on all the things WE were doing at the time of accidents we've had that we shouldn't have been doing when we got in them. Sam Smith - you should give spellcheck a whirl if you're going to have the audacity to criticize when and how other people should be learning.

    Posted by WHS Alum May 29, 09 12:57 PM
  1. Wellesley is a great school system, the class of 2009 is great and I would know because I'm a part of it. If you look at the colleges people are going to/ have been accepted to, you know that education in this town is not a joke. We got out of school last Friday and what else are we going to do but celebrate with each other about how we are ready to move on? If you want to dissect my grammar, go ahead. Keep in mind that no matter what you all say, it does not matter to us because we honestly do not care what the outside world thinks of us. There are enough misconceptions about our town anyways, and criticisms on Beep Day will not make us feel bad about ourselves.

    Also, for the record, it is the Wellesley Police who do not sanction Beep Day. The administration at the school sanctions this event and provided guidelines twice to the senior class. This accident was not the result of the event, but could have happened at any time. As a senior that drives to school everyday, I have seen more parents almost cause accidents than students driving around the school.

    For those people who have already commented on us "kids" being eligible to fight for our country, we have quite a few people in our class who are planning on pursuing that career path. Someone from our class is even going to West Point. So, we may be young, and enjoy fifteen minutes of fun in order to celebrate our release from 13 years of work in the Wellesley Public Schools system, but we treat responsibility very seriously and feel we should not be judged by this minor accident.

    Kaybye.

    Posted by WHS Senior May 29, 09 02:26 PM
  1. #14 I was typing really fast and didn't have a whole lot of time so i was typing really fast. I am sorry for any errors.

    Posted by swonderfulgal May 29, 09 03:24 PM
  1. Okay So I agree, for anyone who does not know what this is they can not criticize it. I remember all through middle school and my 3 years of high school watching the seniors do this parade and I could not wait to do this. It was been a tradition for years and we are one of the only schools that do it so it is not fair to take it away. As an incoming senior next year I think we should still be allowed to have it. With everything else that is getting taken away during the construction next year such as parking we should still be able to do this event. There have been incidents in previous years that have happened and they didn't take it away then so I htink that people need to stop criticizing the kids involved. This is one of the best traditions at Wellesley High so it can not be do away!! WELLESLEY HIGH CLASS OF 2010!!! LONG LIVE BEEP DAYQWwityh!!!

    Posted by WHS SENIOR May 29, 09 06:32 PM
  1. it was caused by a driver slamming on the brakes randomly. the reason is unknown. alls i know is peace

    Posted by Jo May 30, 09 01:22 AM
  1. I remember doing this back in the '70's only the 'route' was directly to Natick High to rub it into our rival - they were still in class. This is a time-tested tradition like the all-night party.

    Posted by db May 30, 09 12:37 PM
  1. Just to add to my post... That was when we were the Red Raiders not the politically correct name they changed it to,

    Posted by db May 30, 09 12:44 PM
  1. I've read many of the comments here. I presume that most of the negative comments are from people who have never witnessed the parade. There is NO speeding. The cars travel at a very slow speed (generally under 20 mph) the slower the better - as to make the honking noise last longer. I also participated in the parade well over 25 years ago. I hope the school and the town do not ban the senior tradition of the parade. It's a wonderful feeling to know that WHS seniors today still participate in the traditions of yesteryear.

    I am glad no one was seriously injured and hope future graduates will continue the tradition and follow the guidelines put forth by the Wellesley Police Department.

    Go Wellesley! ( Forever A Red Raider )

    Posted by Mummy3 May 30, 09 05:05 PM
  1. everyone needs to chill out... there was a minor car accident, no one was seriously injured, and i'm sure whoever caused this didn't do it intentionally and learned from their mistake. anyone could have done it... it is ignorant to judge whs students and faculty, the wellesley police, and especially the town of wellesley as a whole based on this one small incident.

    Posted by peaceee May 31, 09 02:31 PM