Schools throughout Turlock Unified School District have been looking significantly redder this week and it’s not due to early Christmas decorations. In fact, the extra hues of red throughout the district can be attributed to Red Ribbon Week, a week-long event that encourages students to be drug free.
At the high school level, students at Roselawn kicked off Red Ribbon Week by pledging their commitment to remain drug free alongside the Turlock and Denair Fire Departments on Monday. During the week, students also experienced a “gross out” booth, which displayed disgusting objects such as Mr. Gross Mouth and a phlegm jar, and participated in an Olympics event during lunch.
Throughout the week, the school had class representatives who provided drug education and awareness to their peers. Topics that were covered include the history and significance of Red Ribbon Week, tobacco and chew, marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, meth, and substance counseling community resources.
“Our students need to understand that their efforts and their voices have an impact in our community and what goes on in our society,” said Roselawn Principal Felipe Meraz. “We must empower them to have a voice and use their voice to create change for the best.”
At the elementary school level, Julien Elementary was in full swing for Red Ribbon Week. The school hosted Olympic Silver Medalist Alison Cox and local pediatrician Dr. Sunita Saini as guest speakers and each student received a “Drug Free” red wristband, which allowed them to win prizes daily.
“We want to make a lasting impression on these students’ minds so that in the future if they are approached with drugs, they will remember an Olympic medalist saying that she won a medal because she didn’t do drugs or a doctor saying that their brain is going to liquefy if they do drugs,” said Red Ribbon Week chair Saini. “We want to give them a moment in their mind that they are going to remember and hopefully use to make a right choice.”
Throughout the week, students participated in a number of dress-up days, including crazy sock day, crazy hair day, pajama day, and Halloween costume day.
A number of students from the elementary school went one step further by attending a Turlock City Council meeting, where they asked Mayor John Lazar and other council members to also pledge their commitment to be drug free.