BEAVER TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – Every school year around prom and homecoming season, there is a big push to talk to high school students about not using drugs and alcohol.
Now the same lesson is being taught to elementary students at one Mahoning County school. It is all part of Red Ribbon Week at South Range Schools, which has activities going on all week, starting with the kindergarten students.
Red Ribbon Week is a nationwide effort to talk to students about making the right choices with drugs and alcohol.
On Monday, South Range Elementary first-graders were learning about healthy habits they can practice every day.
“We are learning about how drugs are bad for your body and we are learning how to stay healthy and not use drugs,” student Laila Murray said.
“Our hope is to be proactive and instill these good healthy values in children at a young age,” South Range Elementary guidance counselor Kim Hvizdos said.
She goes into classes and talks about drugs and alcohol on a level that kids can understand.
“Here at the elementary school, we remind children that drugs are medicine that is not for them. We really try to emphasize that they only take medicine from a safe grown-up,” Hvizdos said.
It a message third-graders and fourth-graders said they are not too young to hear.
“I actually think it is a good time to learn it because if you learn it later, it might be too late and might have already took drugs,” Laila said.
Her classmate, Christopher Colucci, agreed.
“Some people would say it is hard to say no, but some people might be like ‘whatever, let’s just do it’,” Christopher said.
The elementary school has activities planned all week, including speakers, for students to learn about making the right choices. It is something the school resource officer is proud to be part of.
“They are really impressionable and it really means something to them. They have a ton of questions after we go into a room and talk with them. They ask you questions for the next week or two when they see you in the hallways or at lunch,” Beaver Township Police Officer Brian Hartman said. “The older people get without a good, strong message, I believe it is harder to reach them.”
Hartman was accompanied by the police department’s K-9, Hero.