Fifth graders Athena Redwood and Shania Love hold a sign to show their pledge to be drug free during a special Red Ribbon Week parade at Live Oak Elementary School. Students at the school also wore red this week and are collecting canned foods.
COVINGTON -- Students in Newton County are wearing team jerseys, pajamas and backward clothes to school this week. But it's not a new trend -- they are celebrating being drug and alcohol free.
It's Red Ribbon Week across the nation this week, and students in the Newton County School System are joining in the awareness campaign.
"It is vital that we ensure that students at all levels are educated about the dangers of drugs and about the importance of maintaining a drug-free lifestyle," said George Hutchinson, school social worker for NCSS. "The Red Ribbon coordinators at our various schools do an outstanding job of planning activities that accomplish this task in fun and exciting ways."
Additionally, he said the Elks Club and local law enforcement agencies also assist with the effort.
Every day this week, students and teachers are participating in special events and activities for students to raise awareness of the important cause.
Most of the schools have organized special days for students to wear certain types of clothing or participate in special events in addition to encouraging students to wear red ribbons.
Red Ribbon Week was created as a national campaign in response to the 1985 death of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, who was abducted and murdered by drug traffickers in Mexico.
Several Newton County schools are holding red days in which students where red to show their support, and others are holding team jersey days to "team up against drugs," hat days to "put a cap on drugs" and pajama days to "follow your dreams."
Live Oak Elementary School students also held a parade this week and are collected canned food items on Friday to show they "can" be drug free. At Clements Middle School, speakers from the Newton County Sheriff's Office and other special guests met with students this week, and the Porterdale police drug dog visited students at schools this week.