Oct. 30, 2009

Halifax County Schools seeing red in fight against drug and tobacco use

HALIFAX — Students, teachers and administrators came together during this week to say “Drugs are not authorized in My Space” in the Halifax County School District. They did this by wearing red ribbons and Doris Thompson, Southeast Halifax High School’s program coordinator, was excited about her school’s activities. “We (the district) combined Tobacco Reality Unfiltered (TRU) with the Red Ribbon activities and called them our TRU/Red Ribbon Week,” she said.
Thompson said Southeast kicked off activities Monday with the Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) members releasing 25 red balloons in the senior courtyard.
She said other activities include renewals of pledges to remain tobacco and drug free, “Because tobacco is a drug, too,” she said. Students also received red wrist bands, Wednesday. Later this week they receive “Smarties” candy to remind them to “Be Smarties. Don’t use tobacco and drugs.”
While all schools in the district participated on some level, the high schools seemed most involved in the activities. Students at Northwest wore red ribbons or dressed in red Wednesday to celebrate being drug and tobacco free. They hung red ribbons in the halls and on doors, and participated in other activities.
Ebony Hamiel a senior at Northwest Halifax High School said being drug and tobacco free gives her feelings of self respect and self worth. “Being drug free helps me think better,” she said. She said she believes people can get further in life and have a better outlook on life if they stay drug free.
Raven Lee agreed. “Drugs aren’t good for you. I plan to go far in life, so I plan to stay drug free. Also, I’m part of TATU.
MATCH administrative assistant and coordinator of many of the districts events, Regina Lewis said there are lots of good reasons for schools to celebrate and encourage students to be drug and tobacco free. She also said there’s a history involved in the nationwide observance.
In a news release, Lewis noted the observance stemmed from the March 1985 slaying of federal narcotics agent Enrique Camarena in California. “A letter was circulated across the country calling for Americans to unite in their commitment to work to reduce the demand for illegal drugs in their communities. The red ribbon would be a symbol of their commitment,” she said.
This year Oct. 26-30 is Red Ribbon Week across America. “Americans are asked to come to a greater understanding of the threat to their society in terms of lost potential, more violence, and the impact on our quality of life,” said Lewis.
Lewis said watching the destructiveness of drugs is disheartening. “Although in the years since 1985, much has been done to increase awareness, to educate our young people, and to reduce the demand for drugs ... We must remind ourselves that there is such justice in our cause that it can be embraced and supported by millions. We should continue to be uplifted by every red ribbon we see, united in our purpose.”