Students at Franklin Elementary School in Lehighton and St. Joseph's Regional Academy in Jim Thorpe know how to say no to drugs.
On Monday, Franklin students were treated to drug awareness programs by Lt. David Midas of the Carbon County Sheriff's Department in the morning and St. Joseph's students enjoyed a program by Midas; Sheriff's Deputy Evelyn Hydock, who organized St. Joseph's Red Ribbon Week events; and Jim Thorpe Police Chief Joseph Schatz in the afternoon. The programs kicked off Red Ribbon Week, a drug and alcohol awareness program that began in 1985, after the death of a drug enforcement agent. Red Ribbon Week runs from Oct. 22 through Oct. 28.
Midas explained that he does these programs to help students understand the dangers of drug use.
"It is important that parents remind their child that there are bad things out there, from strangers to drugs," he said. "They need to be aware at a young age on how to be safe."
He noted that this is the first year Franklin Elementary has participated in Red Ribbon week.
During the sessions, Midas, who is a D.A.R.E. instructor at St. Joseph's Regional Academy, talked to students about the importance of saying no to drugs, helping their peers, and being safe during the upcoming Halloween holiday. He also got a little help from students to illustrate how easy it is to get "stuck" on drugs.
Two students were chosen to hold a spider web, which contained a "dangerous spider" or someone on drugs. Midas then chose five additional students to stand near the web, showing that just like a spider catches its prey in the sticky web, a person on drugs can pressure others into trying drugs, thus pulling them into the person's web.
Midas explained that the program's goal is to help get the kids motivated to stay away from drugs.
He asked students how they could stay safe, as well as urged them to talk to an adult if someone offers them something bad.
"A drug is something that affects your mind and how your body functions," Midas explained to the students, adding that types of drugs can be anything from prescriptions that are not prescribed for you, to some household cleaners. "It's important that everyone remain drug free."
He reminded the older students that it is their responsibility to help the younger kids stay safe and drug free.
The event ended as Midas asked the students to stand up and pledge to remain drug free.
Activities in honor or Red Ribbon Week are taking place at both schools all week.
On Monday, Franklin Elementary students wore red socks to "Sock Out Drugs." St. Joseph's students wore something red and received red ribbons, which they are asked to wear all week.
Other activities at Franklin include wear a red shirt backwards to "Turn Your Back to Drugs," wear sunglasses to "Shade Out Drugs," bring a book to school to "Outsmart Drugs," and wear a Halloween costume to "Scare Away Drugs."
Activities at St. Joseph's Regional Academy for Red Ribbon Week that are still scheduled include crazy socks to "Sock-it-2 Drugs," silly hat day to "Put a Cap on Drugs," a cowboy theme day to "Give Drugs The Boot," and jeans day for "I'm a Jean-ius, I'm Drug Free" day, and a Halloween parade.
The drug awareness programs were sponsored by the Carbon County Sheriff's Department.