Students in St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools learned about the dangers of drugs in October during events and lessons surrounding Red Ribbon Week.
Schools had special dress up days, participated in contests and, most importantly, were taught lessons about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
West St. John Elementary students were given a fact a day about the dangers of drugs and the importance of being drug free. They received motivational drug-free incentives daily such as ribbons, bookmarks, stickers and pencils. Because Red Ribbon week coincided with homecoming week, students dressed according to each daily theme that promoted both drug awareness as well as school spirit.
West St. John High School encouraged students to stay drug free during Red Ribbon week with theme days that included students wearing sweat pants to show that “being drug free is no sweat.”
Fifth Ward Elementary recognized Red Ribbon Week with themed activities, daily drug-free messages and taking the pledge of “These Paws Don’t Touch Drugs.” Students also joined schools around the nation by taking a stand against gun violence on Oct. 18. During the yearly event sponsored by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office students signed a pledge against gun violence after receiving information about guns, gun safety and the potential dangers of guns.
A favorite among students and teachers at several schools, including Garyville-Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School, was Nerd Day, when students dressed as nerds to show that they are too smart to use drugs.
John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School built Red Ribbon Week around the theme “Your Future is Key, So Stay Drug Free!” Theme days for students included dressing for success, crazy hair/hat/socks day, a “Mission Possible” camouflage day and a western “Wild About Staying Drug Free Day.”
East St. John Preparatory Academy discussed both Drug Awareness and Bully Prevention during the month of October. The students were taught a lesson about Alcohol Awareness and how detrimental one choice can be. Counselor Jennifer Russell discussed how important all choices are in life and the impact each choice has on our lives and the lives of others.
The school also celebrated Red Ribbon Week with special daily activities such as “black out day” to black out bullies and drugs, red or orange shirt day to celebrate choices to be drug free (red) or for National Bully Prevention Day (orange), jersey day to team up against drugs and nerd day. Students were also given red ribbons to wear throughout the week. Students also participated in a poster and essay contest.
To continue preparing students for the future, schools including LaPlace Elementary, John L. Ory and Garyville Magnet, also visited South Central Louisiana Technical College to explore industry-based jobs. GMMS counselor Stanley Alexis said college visits are key to finding the right fit. Visits also give middle school students a chance to talk to college students, faculty and financial aid and admission officers to learn more about their post-graduate options.
Schools found interesting ways to engage students in science as well.
Biology teacher Kristen White at West St. John High School created a full lab and crime scene with her biology students. Students wore aprons while investigating three mock murders in an attempt to solve the mysteries with the clues that were given.
Seventh-graders at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School also got a first-hand look at solving mysteries using science when they took a field trip to the Louisiana Art and Science Museum in Baton Rouge to learn about a career in forensics.
Schools also rewarded good behavior and good grades with fun events for students. Schools also offered families a safe place to celebrate Halloween with trunk-or-treat activities.