Anti-drug message focus of Red Ribbon Week

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Wilson County Schools celebrated Red Ribbon Week at some point during the month of October to reinforce an anti-drug and anti-bullying message for students.

“Everybody is doing something for Red Ribbon Week,” said Ellen Bergland, school counselor at New Hope Elementary School. “It’s not just us. Middle school and high school people do it too. All of our schools have it on our radar for October. It’s either this week or some will be participating next week.”

Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign started by National Family Partnership, is in its 30th year. This year’s theme is “Life is Your Journey. Travel it Drug Free.”

“We want our students to know that as they grow and mature, we want them to make healthy choices, to say no to harmful drugs,” Bergland said. “We have also combined it recently with anti-bullying, bullying prevention.”

On Wednesday, students and staff were wearing orange for Orange You Glad You Are Not a Bully day.

“We talk about making good choices, about how we treat one another, so anti-drugs, anti-bullying making healthy good choices is what we talk about,” Bergland said.

There is good participation among students and staff.

“We let parents know ahead of time so children can participate and wear something different every day,” Bergland said. “It’s kind of a spirit week.”

Monday was wear red, and everybody got a red ribbon. On Tuesday, kids wore their favorite team shirt, so the school had lots of college teams and professional team shirts that kids were wearing.

Thursday was Give Drugs the Boot day, and everyone wore their boots to school.

On Friday they wore their school shirts to show unity against drugs.

Bergland said New Hope has been participating for many years in the program

“I think it is an awareness, and we repeat it every year,” Bergland said. “If we constantly remind kids and build that awareness to make healthy, good choices as you grow, hopefully when they get to middle school and high school, that will extend out, and they will continue to make healthy choices.”

Bergland said that it was important for the students to see their teachers participating, too.

“When we have buy-in from our staff, it shows that they support and encourage the message of the program as well,” Bergland said.

The ABC Board in Wilson County helps provide funds to help purchase ribbons and other free things to give kids during the spirit week, she said.

“In that way, we are sending the message of prevention against harmful alcohol and drugs,” Bergland said.

According to Bergland, next week, as a follow-up, the school will have visiting police officers — parents who are police officers. Sheriff Calvin Woodard will also speak to students as a follow-up to Red Ribbon Week.