CHICKASAW JOURNAL – Ohm Patel said he knows he will one day be faced with the temptation to do drugs.
“We learned this week that drugs affect your mind and can do really bad things to your body,” said Patel, a 5th grader at Houston Upper Elementary School. “I signed a pledge not to do drugs and we made it into a paper chain.”
Students were led on the playground at Houston Upper Friday afternoon where every class joined their chains together to make a massive loop. Kids were also challenged to remember what they learned during Red Ribbon Week at HUES.
“Each of you will be faced with making the choice whether to do drugs or not at some point in your life,” said HUES Principal John Ellison. “Today, you know what the right choice is and have said what you are going to do. Please, I beg you to remember the decision you made today when that choice comes in the future.”
Each year, schools and communities across the United States adopt a different Red Ribbon theme to use as part of their annual Red Ribbon campaign.
Houston broke their message down into slogans for each day last week.
Monday started with “Put A Cap On It” with kids wearing hats to school. This was followed by “Too Smart To Start,” “Don’t Let Drugs Mess You Up,” Too Bright To Do Drugs,” and it all finished up Friday with “Take A Stand,” where students signed a pledge not to do drugs.
“Teachers incorporated each days’ slogan into their lesson plan and had a special time each day to discuss what illegal drugs can do and how to fight them,” said Creadence Randle, HUES counselor. “This is an important age to present this to kids. I do think it makes a difference.”
Randle told students at Friday afternoons gathering on the playground just how dangerous drugs and the violent drug culture can be.
“Red Ribbon Week began after the kidnapping, torture and brutal murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985,” said Randle. “Agent Camarena had been working undercover in Guadalajara, Mexico for over four years. His efforts led to a tip that resulted in the discovery of a multimillion dollar narcotics manufacturing operation in Chihuahua, Mexico.”
Randle said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) helps fund the program at the national level each year.
Chandra Warren, Chickasaw County school nurse, said while Red Ribbon Week focuses on kids from K-5 to 6th grade, Houlka schools are presenting it at the higher levels.
“Every classroom is decorating their door with an anti-drug message,” said Warren. “The class that wins gets a pizza party.
Warren said all science teachers will be showing a video each day. She encouraged parents to ask their kids what they learned during Red Ribbon Week.
“These kids will learn drug facts, what drugs do to your body and the danger of the drug culture,” said Warren. “We wrap it all up Friday with a commitment to live a drug free life. We hope parents will pick up on that message.”
Red Ribbon Week brings millions of people together every year to raise awareness regarding the need for alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention, early intervention and treatment services. It is the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States.
Red Ribbon Week was observed in all Houston schools. Okolona Schools hosted Red Ribbon week Oct. 21-25 and Chickasaw County Schools in Houlka are observing it this week at both the elementary and high school.