LUMBERTON — Traveling throughout the district for the past week you will possibly find students dressed in some unusual attire.
Some schools have wacky day to illustrate how drugs can make them wacky. Some are in bright colors as they let their true colors shine through. It is all an effort to support a drug-free lifestyle as the district celebrates Red Ribbon Week.
The Red Ribbon Campaign is now the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation, reaching millions of young people during the week of Oct. 23 through Oct. 31 each year. The theme this year is “A Healthy Me is Drug Free.”
All schools within the district received pencils and wristbands inscribed with “PSRC is Bully and Drug Free” in support of this effort. All across the district dozens of students have put their drug-free message into artwork. Union Chapel Elementary School hosted a “Red Day.” Students at the school are studying about the importance of being healthy and drug free. The students painted signs illustrating the effects of the drug use. The students carried their signs in a parade behind the school. The dangers of drugs message is illustrated in four murals painted along the walls Purnell Swett High School.
Drug abuse is a prevalent problem among young people across the nation. Today prescription drug abuse is second to marijuana use among young people. So drug prevention plays a daily role across the district. Red Ribbon Week unites all schools across the district in a united effort to educate students, families and staff about the problems of drug abuse.
Dozens of students have put together drug- free messages for the annual Gertrude Oxendine Locklear Drug Awareness Contest. The 2013 theme of the contest is Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse. Oxendine was an advocate for drug and alcohol prevention. An award program was created which established the annual drug awareness contest for the Public Schools of Robeson County students. The contest, which will be judged in the coming week, challenges students to submit artwork that advocates the message of being drug free. Some students created a message with empty pill bottles, while others painted their anti-drug message on paper.
As students are educated at each school, the Public Schools of Robeson County administrators are in the process of putting together a prescription drug free program from a $25,000 donation from the community group Natives for Progress. The program is called Kill the Pill. Administrators are looking at integrating a curriculum component and public service announcement on drug prevention.
As each school hosts a variety of events to spotlight the week, educators across the district hope the message will carry on throughout the year for each student.
This story was contributed by Tasha Oxendine, a spokesperson for the Public Schools of Robeson County.