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Red Ribbon Week promotes drugs, alcohol education

For the past few weeks, local schools joined in a national campaign to celebrate Red Ribbon Week and educate students on the importance of staying free of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Most schools passed out educational material to students, and some schools welcomed speakers to come – including Lamont Dupree, who visited Phil Campbell High School, and Jocelynn James, who visited East Franklin Junior High School.

“I think it hit home with several of our older students,” said East Franklin Junior High School guidance counselor Lori Scott of James’ visit. “She was telling them things that happened to her while she was on drugs, and I think it really opened some of their eyes.”

Students of all ages participated in Red Ribbon Week through classroom material and dress-up days. East Franklin Junior High School even had a day when students took a field trip to the movies.

Dress-up days varied among schools and ranged from more traditional themed days to more unusual inspirations, such as “meme day.” Some schools held Red Ribbon Week the same week as Halloween and incorporated costumes into one of the days.

West Elementary School Principal Deanna Hollimon said it can be difficult to educate younger students about these topics, so it is important to take advantage of every opportunity and really key in on the message.

“A lot of the times it can be difficult for a little child to differentiate between the dress-up days and the point behind it all,” Hollimon said. “That is why we try our best to focus on the message and educate our students that way.”

Scott said she hopes educating students at all levels on a regular basis will hopefully make a bigger impact.

“If we start educating them young, and we teach them every year, hopefully they will be more aware and stay away from drugs,” Scott said.