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franklin county times
1- (From left) Tanner Warhurst, Peyton Bingham, Kaleb Bray, Megan Smith, Eli Hiser and Cortny Williams are the SADD officers at Belgreen High School, who helped organize Red Ribbon Week.

Schools observe Red Ribbon Week

In an effort to increase drug prevention awareness among youth, schools all across Franklin County celebrated National Red Ribbon Week in various ways Oct. 23-31. The Red Ribbon Campaign is the largest drug prevention program in the nation.

At Phil Campbell High School, Students Against Destructive Decisions led the school’s National Red Ribbon Week involvement under the leadership of instructor Libby Devaney.

“We need to bring awareness to the community about the destructive decisions that teenagers can make,” Devaney said.

Throughout the week Devaney said students and faculty wore special T-shirts with sayings like “Say Boo to Drugs” and “Respect Yourself, Be Drug Free.” They also decorated the school with banners, balloons and signs that sported the Red Ribbon theme, “Your Future is Key, so Stay Drug Free.”

A special effort the PCHS SADD group is making is setting a goal to be the first generation of students who are tobacco-free as part of SADD’s national campaign for tobacco-free kids.

“It’s a national competition, but it’s really about educating the students and the community about the importance of living a tobacco-free life,” Devaney said.

The campaign will continue into November, but students have already taken the pledge by signing a banner and spreading awareness at homecoming and their fall festival.

“We hung up pictures of people who have been negatively affected by tobacco use so people could see the dangers it presents, and we also labeled all of the candy (given out at the festival) with phrases like ‘Don’t vape or smoke,’” Devaney explained.

Tharptown Elementary School recognized Red Ribbon Week by hosting dress up days all during the week and holding an art contest.

“It’s about raising awareness of the harmful effects of drugs and preventing kids from getting involved with them at a young age,” counselor Susan McRight said.

Monday, students wore boots and red shirts for “Kicking Out Drugs.” Tuesday they wore neon or bright colors to represent that “Our Future is Bright Without Drugs.” Wednesday they “Hid from Drugs” in camo. Thursday they “Team[ed] up Against Drugs” in their favorite team shirts. Friday they wore their favorite caps or hats to “Put a Cap on Drugs.”

Each grade had a first-place winner of the art contest, except for sixth grade, which had two winners because it was “just too close to choose,” Principal Kelby Daniel said. The overall winner came from the sixth grade and earned the class a popcorn and movie party.

“Research shows that reaching the kids at a young age like this is more effective at preventing drug addiction and involvement,” McRight said.

Dress-up days were also a central part of Red Ribbon Week at Belgreen High School, organized by the SADD Club, which is sponsored by Beth Lane.

Monday students wore blue and white for spirit day for “These Paws Don’t Touch Drugs.” Tuesday the club gave out mints and encouraged people to wear red and “Make a Commit-‘mint’ to Being Drug Free.” Wednesday they handed out Smarties and asked people to wear nerdy clothing because “Smarties Don’t do Drugs.” Thursday students wore crazy hats to represent “Hats off to Being Drug Free.” Friday club members gave out Dum Dums suckers and wore collegiate clothing or dressed up as a future career because “Drugs are ‘Dum’ but my Future is Bright.”

“The sheriff’s department helped create our drug-free program last year. We continued it on this year, and it’s been great,” guidance counselor Wanda Lemay said.

Clint Holcombe from the Franklin County Sheriff’s office and Russellville City Councilman Jamie Harris spoke to fifth-graders during the week, and juvenile probation officer Kevin Strickland spoke to the freshmen through seniors.

“The biggest takeaway the kids had was that these people are here to help them, not hunt them down and get them in trouble,” Lemay said.

Angela Camp from Bradford Health Services visited the school Oct. 26 to talk about “The United States of Numb: Current Adolescent Drug Trends & Social Media Impact.”

“We’re just trying to raise awareness to the kids about not starting drugs – don’t do them,” Lane said.

 

 

 

 

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