Fifth-grade Dirigo Elementary students to lead ‘Red Ribbon’ campaign


PERU — A group of fifth-grade students will participate in a drug awareness campaign at 1:45 p.m. Monday at Dirigo Elementary School, teacher Bethany Poulin said Wednesday.

Poulin said she spoke with Barb Radmore, the after-school program coordinator for the Western Foothills Kids Association, about hosting a Red Ribbon campaign.

The campaign is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the United States. It was initiated after the 1985 murder of Drug Enforcement Agency agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena by drug traffickers in Mexico City. The campaign was later sponsored by the U.S. Air Force.

The students leading the campaign are a part of the Cougar Cub Camp after-school group, Poulin said.

“These fifth-grade students with the Cougar Cub Camp are going to be giving a presentation to the rest of the fifth-grade class about why they believe it’s good to remain drug-free. There will also be a contest where they get to create a poster for next year’s campaign.”

Poulin said she is excited to see schools making a return to drug awareness campaigns.

“I’ve seen some research out there that claims these drug awareness campaigns don’t do anything to combat drug use later in life,” Poulin said. “However, I feel that it’s a good message for the kids to hear. It’s one thing to hear this information coming from a teacher or an adult, but I think it’s more meaningful when it comes from their peers.”

Following the presentation, Poulin said the fifth-grade students will have the chance to sign a pledge to remain drug-free.

“It’s really great to see the students interact with each other and have a serious discussion about this,” Poulin said. “I’m really hoping other schools get involved with this campaign again.”

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