Schools program worthy of praise

Published 6:16 pm Saturday, October 30, 2010

Many a life has been brought down or cut short because of drugs, and Suffolk Public Schools are doing what they can to influence students against using illegal substances.

Schools in the system marked “Red Ribbon Week” this week with a variety of lessons and activities designed to encourage kids to be drug-free.

Elementary schools, especially, got into the act, allowing students to dress in a variety of crazy outfits they may not have ordinarily been permitted to wear. For example, students at Creekside wore their shirts backwards to “turn their backs to drugs.” At other schools, students arrived in sweats because “being drug-free is no sweat.”


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Middle and high schools participated too, but it’s especially significant that the division’s youngest students took part in the activities and wrote essays on the importance of being drug-free. It’s well-known that children are at their most impressionable in their younger years. Many of the students, perhaps, have family members or others in their lives who have drug addictions. They may already be hearing from older siblings or friends that using drugs is cool or fun.

With these influences in their lives pulling them toward drugs, it is important to counteract those pressures while the children are still young. Silly activities, the participation of their friends and the encouragement of their admired teachers can help pull them toward being drug-free.

Just one week a year isn’t enough, though. The school curriculums should regularly incorporate the damaging effects of drugs into as many places as possible.

Even more important than that, though, is the influence of parents and other older family members. Children whose parents do drugs are more likely to become addicted themselves, so family members can have a positive influence on their youngsters by shunning drugs themselves and having regular conversations with their kids about the dangers.

The next generation won’t be able to tackle the challenges it faces unless it remains drug-free.