School participates in Red-Ribbon week in an anti-drug campaign

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COLUMBIA - According to Missouri's "Inspirations for Youth and Families" rehabilitation organization, approximately 52,000 (10.5 percent) of adolescents in Missouri used an illicit drug in the past month. Some mid-Missouri schools are dedicating an entire week to decreasing that number.

Lange Middle School is holding several events for students. The principal said they are most excited for their spirit week.

"We have an event taking place everyday. Students start off wearing red to really bring awareness to the impact of drugs." Principal Bernard Solomon said.

He said the underlying theme each day will be based on a fact or information about the impact of dugs.

The spirit week also includes "Sock it to drugs," when the students will wear crazy socks, and "Follow your dreams! Be drug free," when the students will wear their pajamas to school. 

The school's outreach counselor Kathy Robinson partnered with some students to get others involved with the campaign. The peer ambassadors helped create a competition to promote drug awareness at the school.

During each morning's advisory class, the students will hear a fact about drug abuse with the daily announcements. On Friday, each class will take a quiz covering the five facts they learned during the week.

All of the correct quizzes will be put in a bowl for the principal to draw from. The class with the winning quiz will receive a prize.

Lange partnered with businesses in the community to make some of the prizes possible. Target, McDonald's and Wal-Mart all donated gift cards to the school for the event, totaling $30.

Robbins said the more the students participate, the more they will be rewarded. Administrators will be handing out a variety of red drug-awareness gear for prizes including "red-ribbon" bracelets and "swag-bags".

Solomon said the goal is to get the students to understand the severity of drug use, even outside the school.

"We think it's important for our students to know and be aware of the impact of drugs in our society," Solomon said. "A lot of times students might see people using drugs. We think the proactive approach would also be to help them understand the impact and the effect it might have on their body."

He said Lange Middle School never really had an issue with drug abuse on school grounds, but feels awareness about outside-the-school environment is just as important, because of the effect it can have on students.

"Anytime we have something to rally around as a school, it always brings us closer together and creates that school spirit." Solomon said.

Other mid-Missouri schools participating in Red-Ribbon week, including Gentry Middle School and the Mexico Public School district.