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Students rally for a drug free community

By Staff
MARCH AGAINST DRUGS – Kristen Hall, left, Sara Livingston, Tyler Dodd, Tyquanna Lee and Kennedy Brown, first-graders at Northeast Elementary, carry a poster Thursday in an anti-drug march from the Lauderdale County Courthouse to Meridian City Hall. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
Oct. 25, 2002
Thirteen-year-old Andrew Evans learned an important lesson Thursday on the steps of City Hall.
Evans, a seventh-grader at Magnolia Middle School, participated in the "Freedom is Drug Free" rally.
The rally was one of several drug-resistance activities area students participated in as part of National Red Ribbon Week. The week began Monday and ends today.
Students from 14 area schools met Thursday at the Lauderdale County Courthouse. They marched behind the Meridian High School band to City Hall for a drug prevention and awareness program.
Future shows promise
There, Mayor John Robert Smith a 1967 graduate of Meridian High School said his time in office running out. But he said he's confident of turning over leadership to the next generation.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie, the rally's main speaker, said children should learn about the dangers of drugs and drug addiction when they first learn to communicate.
He asked the students to carry the message to their younger brothers and sisters.
Drug prevention programs haven't been limited just to the National Red Ribbon Week. Some schools have spent the fall semester working closely with students about drug issues.
Drug education helps
For three years, Kerry Lowe has been a drug officer in Lauderdale County. This semester, he's teaching a 17-week drug abuse resistance program to West Lauderdale sixth-graders.
At Northeast Middle School, sixth-grade teacher Kim Pearsell said her students have been learning about the dangers of tobacco through Students Working Against Tobacco, or SWAT.
Meridian School Superintendent Janet McLin said freedom means a lot to Americans and that soldiers fought hard to preserve that freedom.