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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP / East County | Thousand Oaks

Students Rally Against Drugs

October 21, 2000|JOSH KARP

Erik Mulick may be years away from high school, but he is already preparing for the peer pressures.

The Acacia Elementary School sixth-grader's oldest brother, Marcus, is a sophomore at Thousand Oaks High School. So when Marcus tells him he knows of students who offer alcohol or drugs to others, Erik listens.

"He said he's been asked a couple of times but he said he remembered everything he learned here at Acacia Elementary, so he's said no to every offer he's gotten," said Erik, 11.

Erik knows he will probably encounter similar offers. But he will have the same answer, thanks to Red Ribbon Week. Officially beginning Monday, Red Ribbon Week promotes a drug-free message to students nationwide through prevention and education.

It is celebrated by millions of children each year, according to National Family Partnership, a Florida-based network of community groups united in support of the drug-free message.

Acacia Elementary School got a head start on the celebration Friday morning. The school's 550 students gathered around the playground with parents and teachers to rally against drugs and alcohol. Most students wore red outfits and red ribbons. As an airplane flew overhead with a banner stating, "Acacia Flies High Drug Free," students sang about not using cigarettes, drugs or alcohol.

"Even though this is just one week out of the year, we really try to get children to understand that it's a commitment they have to make forever," Principal Fran Smith said.

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