DoDEA Americas Schools in the News
Burrows Elementary promotes Red Ribbon Week
by Ameesha Felton
Quantico, VA | October 25, 2012
Students signed a large banner in declaration and then crowded in a circle holding up a red ribbon as they chanted “the best me is drug free,” which is Red Ribbon Week’s motto.
Firefighters from the Quantico Fire Department were also on hand to encourage students.
The administrators aim was to create an interactive and memorable way to teach a serious message to Burrows’ 137 fourth- and fifth-grade Red Ribbon Week participants.
“We wanted to engage kids by making it motivating,” said Burrows’ principal, Susan Ransom. “Most students and even adults will always remember the worst lesson and the best lesson they’ve ever had.
During the week students are taking part in various activities including, Crazy Hair Day where students wear crazy hair styles to “keep drugs out of your hair” and Tie-Dye Day, where students intend to “peace out to drugs.”
Michael A. Johnson, Quantico Middle/High School’s principal, who Ransom said is well versed in problems that come up in middle and high schools, also spoke with students Wednesday.
A key topic is a growing concern in the uptick of illicit prescription drug use among youth.
Prescription drugs are the most abused drug, behind marijuana among youths ages 12 to 17, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Even though this issue is more prevalent amid middle and high school students, Ransom said early prevention is key.
“The awareness has to start before the problem,” said Ransom. “This is a critical age when kids are the most vulnerable.”
Lois Donaghey, a counselor at the school, encouraged parents to be proactive.
“Talk to your children, lock up the medicine chest, know what potential dangers are out there and keep track of your medication,” said Donaghey.
The school partnered with the Parent Educators Association, Consolidated Substance Abuse Counseling Center and the Drug Demand Reduction program for Red Ribbon Week. These programs provided water bottles, footballs, T-shirts and other mementos for the students.
Since October is also national anti-bullying month, the school incorporated that message during Red Ribbon Week as well. Students wore “one school, one goal: bully free, drug free” T-shirts and participated in several anti-bullying activities throughout the week.
Red Ribbon Week is part of a national campaign to proclaim intolerance for drugs. Quantico has set up display booths at various locations around the base for those who would like to learn more about the initiative.