No, the “kush wasn’t too loud.” It was a social experiment. We went into this experiment more with the concern that nobody would help Anna — instead, there was a flood of people gathering in worry and confusion.
Standing by the side of the ramp as Anna lay face down on the sidewalk, Caroline prepared to reassure the few students we expected to help. The experiment started out slow, but as Anna continued to lie prone, people became genuinely concerned. Caroline tried to maintain the flow of students by passing out slips explaining the experiment to those who approached Anna. Some moved on quickly after receiving the slip, but others became enraged. Caroline had many students tell her that the experiment was “ridiculous” and “f—king disgusting.”
Only a few students stayed for a longer period of time to see if Anna was OK. One girl tried to call 911 and did not acknowledge Caroline’s attempts to explain the situation, forcing Anna to “break character.”
Caroline was confronted by Assistant Principal Garry Thornton. Even though Principal David Jaffe had approved the experiment, she was told that they could not cause this much “hysteria” at school. Meanwhile, Anna still lay sprawled across the concrete, gaping at Caroline as she shivered in her Steve Madden boots.
We retreated to the journalism room afterwards to check Twitter for the student body’s response. And … it wasn’t pretty. People were tweeting about how it was the “dumbest demonstration experiment” they had ever seen. Again: the “dumbest demonstration experiment.” People were “shaking [their] heads” and proclaiming, “officially,” that we had “no chill.” Harsh.
Some comic relief came from a Snapchat of Anna lying on the ramp with the caption: “when the kush too loud.” It was appreciated amidst the storm of angry comments, which continued on campus even days after.
Ultimately, the purpose of the experiment was not to terrify the student body, but to gauge its reaction: half were indifferent to the matter, and many were just confused. Only a small minority were proactive enough to help out. We suppose that it might have also been a test of moral character, and that minority “passed” spectacularly. But our intent was not to be sanctimonious in our judgment, so the morality test was more of a background factor.
It was, indeed, uplifting to find that students were willing to sacrifice their own time in order to help out instead of passing the baton to their peers.