Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 18, 2013

Being aware of dangers

Red Ribbon Week at AISD campuses

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The end of October takes on a special meaning with the observance of Red Ribbon Week, a prevention program designed to make students around the nation aware of the dangers of drugs.

Students at the different campuses in the Athens Independent School District will be participating in the way they dress, and by attending programs and spirit week activities.

Bel Air Elementary School Counselor Cheri Mahan said the students in her school look forward to the week.

“It is a wonderful teaching opportunity for them,” Mahan said. “They’ll remember some of the demonstrations we’ll have in the classrooms, easily two or three years later.”

The students can compete for prizes in a poster contest, and there’s also an essay contest for the second and third graders, with prizes.

Mahan said some of the students have first-hand knowledge of the presence and dangers of drugs.

“The stories that I hear are just amazing, because they know more than I do sometimes about certain situations,” Mahan said. “It’s heartbreaking, but also eye opening. And as a counselor, I’m able to help those kids more because of it.”  

The program began in 1985, in response to the murder of DEA Agent Kiki Camerena by drug traffickers in Mexico City.

Both Bel Air and South Athens Elementary students will wear crazy socks on Monday as a signal to “sock it to drugs.” On Tuesday, is “Don’t flip for drugs, give drugs the boot.” On that day, the students can wear flip-flops or boots.

Wednesday the theme is “You won’t see me wearing drugs,” with the students dressed in camouflage tops with their dress-code pants.  Thursday it’s “Stay in the game, don’t do drugs.” Students have a choice of jerseys or spirit shirts as the attire of the day.

The week ends Friday with the students wearing jeans as their way of saying “I’m a jean-ius, I’m drug-free.” On Friday, students can also wear pink shirts for breast-cancer awareness.

“It’s my favorite week of the year, actually,” Mahan said. “It’s very needed and the kids just respond so well to it.”