Schools say no to drugs |

Schools say no to drugs

Two Park City elementary schools presented thought-provoking skits and demonstrations during Red-Ribbon Week, a National anti-drug campaign held annually.

Thursday, Jeremy Ranch Elementary School held two assemblies for all the students in the school, led by Jeff Christensen, also known as "The Mad Scientist." The assembly, "Smoke-Free-Me day," detailed the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, and the effects they have on the body.

Christensen "slimed" a student with goo, sent a fake $100 bill up in a poof of flames, and disgusted students with a jar of tar, a bi-product of cigarette smoke. He said chemicals such as arsenic, formaldehyde, methane and mercury are found in cigarette smoke. Students wore red clothing and red wrist bands that said "be smoke free."

"You can’t be a good athlete if you smoke because it makes you run out of breath really fast," Christensen said.

Not only did students learn the dangers of smoking, they got in a little math practice as they calculated expense of smoking.

"Someone who smokes a pack a day, at $3.50 a pack, will spend about $12,000 in a year. That’s like burning 12 $100 bills" he said.

Madison Morgan, 7, who helped Christensen in a giant blood-flow-through-artery demonstration, said now if she sees someone smoking she will think that is bad.

"I think this is an important message to teach kids," said Christensen. "My dad died of cancer."

Red Ribbon Week was established after the death of U.S. Drug Enforcement agent Enrique "Kiki" Camerana, killed in Mexico by suspected members of a drug cartel. The program, established in honor of Camerana’s efforts to eradicate drugs, is the oldest and largest anti-drug program in the U.S. A red ribbon worn in the last week of October demonstrates the wearer’s support to eradicate drugs.

Parley’s Park Elementary school celebrated Red Ribbon Week at an assembly with a student-skit detailing scenarios to avoid. The fifth-grade students, members of Parley’s Park student council, acted out finding hypodermic needles, cigarettes and pills on the ground, and discussed the potential dangers with each other before deciding to leave the items where they found them.

Thirteen Student Council members practiced for more than a month on the anti-drug skit, said Parley’s Elementary councilor and life skills teacher Laura Waugaman.

"We also tell the students about alcohol," she said. "Students will go home and talk with their parents about what they learned. We don’t teach them that their parents must avoid alcohol, but we do teach them that alcohol is not for kids."

"Alcoholism runs in my family, Waugaman said. "We try to show the students that alcoholism of a family member doesn’t have to be held in secrecy, or shame."

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