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Muldoon Elementary and The National Guard Celebrate Red Ribbon Week

A member of the National guard holds a large fake cigarette during an assembly at Muldoon Elementary.

Anchorage School District students, staff, members of the Anchorage Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and The Alaska National Guard kicked of Red Ribbon Week Monday morning at Muldoon Elementary.

Students started their day with high-fives from members of the National Guard Counter Drug Support Program as they entered the school. They then had the opportunity see a military and DEA vehicle on the playground before going into an assembly where they learned about the dangers of drugs and tobacco.

Patricia Jimenez, Assistant Principal at Muldoon Elementary said this is a great opportunity to engage with the students and talk about the dangers associated with drug use. "I think it is really important for the younger kids because we are looking at students who are influenced by the public, through the media, their family and friends. They see people smoking cigarettes. They see sombody having a drink here or there, or sometimes, even right now with marijuana being legal, they are seeing it, smelling it, hearing about it."

Jimenez said the younger generation thinks it is cool because they see friends and older kids doing it. "They want to be just like the big kids and the adults."

National Guard Counter Drug Program member Sgt. First Class Joyce Dean agrees that early interdiction is a key to keeping kids off drugs and tobacco. Dean said that through the drug prevention message and talking about healthy choices she hopes The National Guard can deter kids from using drugs.

"Evidence-based practice shows that when we present to elementary schools that we can deter the students at that age'" said Dean.

Dean said an important aspect of the message is getting to the students before they move to middle school. "We hope when they leave elementary school to middle school they won't use tobacco or when they are open to drugs they will make that choice of not taking them."

Each year, National Red Ribbon Week is celebrated from October 23 - 31. Thousands of schools across the country use this time to engage youth in dialogues about the importance of making positive life choices and avoiding the temptation to use drugs and alcohol.


Robert DeBerry