“This year we are doing a series of drug-related rallies for the schools,” said Los Banos police officer Dusty Norris, who is heading an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention campaign. “My biggest thing is to educate children about what drugs are out there.”
This week and next, schools are participating in dress up days and door-decorating contests that incorporate drug, alcohol and violence awareness.
Charleston Elementary is having week-long activities that will conclude with a Say Goodnight to Drugs day on Nov. 1, when students get to wear pajamas to school.
Westside Union Elementary’s week-long activities include a Halloween parade and bracelet giveaway for students.
Mercey Springs Elementary will be having a poster contest.
“Each year we celebrate Red Ribbon Week at Charleston Elementary by having dress-up days, poster contests, and we always ensure that our students receive some type of gift to help them remember good character traits, saying no to drugs and stop bullying,” said Lou Ruiz, Charleston’s principal. This year all students will receive a bracelets that say “One School, One Goal, Bully and Drug Free” and “Never bully others, say NO to drugs.”
“Red Ribbon Week presents a critical opportunity for parents, educators, and communities to fight the constant battle against drugs by talking with children about the real issues around drug use and abuse,” Ruiz said. “Starting a conversation about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs with your kids is never easy, but it’s also not as difficult as most parents think.”
Norris said he uses a PowerPoint presentation to show kids the effects drugs can have on ones body.
“Most kids do not know that (drugs) are made out of harsh chemicals and they are usually surprised when they see this,” he said.
Norris shows students a drug project called Faces of Meth—which shows mugs of repeat offenders to demonstrate the damaging effects methamphetamines have on its users.
“We try to help deter them from using these drugs,” Norris said. “My hope is to give them enough information to deter them from trying or using drugs. Making them aware, makes them think twice.”
Ruiz said, “There's almost no way you can shield your kids from finding out that illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco exist, but you can educate your child about drugs and drug use so they can make good choices on their own.”