Elementary students pledge to stay drug free

Published 8:19 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

Red Ribbon Week has arrived, and John Small Elementary School kicked off a full week of activities in honor of it.

A nationwide campaign, Red Ribbon Week is dedicated to keeping students drug free by educating them and encouraging parents to talk with their children about drugs.

On Sunday, John Small Elementary’s administration sent out a call to parents to ask them to talk with their child about drugs and alcohol. Then, on Monday, Mayor Mac Hodges signed a proclamation declaring this week as Red Ribbon Week in Washington.

Hodges was joined at the short ceremony by the following character education all-stars: Jocelyn Cuello, Walker Selby, Zion Collins, Jakob Villegas, JahMiere Blackledge, Yeilyn Maldanado, Luis Arriaga Arvizu, Ava Ingalls, Ashley Culajay, Daniel Sparrow, Kenny Briley, Chris Credle, Kymori Berry, Andrew Hopkins, Lane Brown, Wayland Mitchell, Daja Gregory, Brandon McEachin and Drake Foster.

As of 2015, more than 10 percent of Americans age 12 and older reported using an illicit drug within the past month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is one of many reasons why organizers host Red Ribbon Week each year, and also why the national D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program is incorporated into schools at all grade levels.

As part of the program’s elementary curriculum, officers focus on the Socio-Emotional Learning Theory, which focuses on teaching students how to control impulses and think about the possible risks beforehand, according to information from D.A.R.E. As the curriculum progresses, it brings in examples of real-life situations and the options of how to react.

Students at John Small Elementary will complete the D.A.R.E. program this Wednesday through Friday, with the help of Sgt. Ben Correa with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. Prior to that, JaNell Lewis, of Beaufort County Health Department, will visit John Small students today to give a presentation on making healthful choices.

Red ribbons, posters and decorations are also placed around the school to commemorate the week of activities.

“We are looking forward to an awesome week,” school counselor Chynna Bonner wrote.