Students at St. Joseph's Regional Academy in Jim Thorpe know how to say no to drugs.
On Monday, the students were treated to a drug awareness program by Sgt. David Midas of the Carbon County Sheriff's Department and Jim Thorpe Police Chief Joseph Schatz. The program kicked off Red Ribbon Week, which is one of the oldest and largest drug prevention programs in the country. Red Ribbon Week runs from Oct. 26 through Oct. 31.
During the three sessions, Midas and Schatz, who are both D.A.R.E. instructors in the Jim Thorpe Area School District, as well as their furry friend, Darren the D.A.R.E. Lion, talked to students about the importance of saying no to drugs, helping their peers, and being safe during the upcoming Halloween holiday.
Midas explained the program is to help get the kids motivated to stay away from drugs.
He asked students to describe types of drugs, and 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.
Midas and Schatz then asked the students to stand up and pledge to remain drug free.
Following the presentations, each student had the opportunity to high-five Darren, who made a special guest appearance with Capt. Jack Bennett, the Pennsylvania D.A.R.E. coordinator and a retired police officer, and receive a Halloween goody bag.
The students also presented Midas and Schatz with certificates of appreciation for everything the two officers have done for the school over the years.
This year's drug awareness program was coordinated by the Carbon County Sheriff's Department, Lansford Police Officers Brian Horos and Robert Shubeck, Deputy Sheriff Evelyn Horos, and mother Judy Shubeck.
Activities at St. Joseph's Regional Academy for Red Ribbon Week that are still scheduled include trivia day and red Jell-O day; wear crazy socks and silly hats; wear red day; and a Halloween parade.