Arizona Charter Academy Addresses Drug Use During ‘Red Ribbon Week’
During the Recent Week, Teachers and Staff Discussed Drug Use, and Had a Daily Theme that Visually Supported the Anti-Drug Campaign
SURPRISE, Arizona—Recently, the teachers and staff at Arizona Charter Academy in Surprise spent a week talking with the elementary students about a very difficult subject: drug use.
As part of Red Ribbon Week, students from kindergarten through sixth grade learned about drugs, how and why they are not safe for their bodies, and how to be safe around prescription drugs that might be in the home.
Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention campaign. It serves as a way for communities and individuals to take a stand for the community’s children through a commitment to drug prevention and education, as well as a personal pledge to live drug-free lives.
Amie Lee, a sixth grade teacher at Arizona Charter Academy, helped organize the various events and discussions that were part of Red Ribbon Week. For the younger students in kindergarten through second grade, she said the emphasis was on prescription drugs, and how important it is to never ingest anything that a parent or other trustworthy adult has not given them.
“For example, the teachers discussed not putting a parent’s medicine or anyone else’s medicine in their mouths, and also never tasting cleaning items that they find inside or outside. They learned how doing this is never healthy for their bodies.”
For the third through sixth graders, the discussions centered around information about drugs and drug use, and how to say “no” if someone else suggests that they try them.
Each day had a theme that related to Red Ribbon Week and its goals; for example, on Monday the students and staff were encouraged to wear sunglasses as a way to prove that their “future is too bright for drugs.” On Wednesday, kids wore their shirts backwards to represent “turning their backs on drugs.” And on Thursday, the students wore tennis shoes to symbolize “running drugs out of the school.”
Lee said Red Ribbon Week was a great way to address the important topic with kids.
“All of the students really seemed to focus on the discussions and having the daily themes added a bit of levity to such a serious topic,” she said, adding that she is also extremely grateful to Ed McDonnell of the Sun City Elks, who supplied materials for the event.
“We were glad to be part of Red Ribbon Week and certainly plan to participate in the program again. It definitely seemed to have a positive and meaningful impact on our students.”