Crazy socks, wearing pajamas to school, and walking in unity are just a few of the ways Copperas Cove students demonstrated their decisions to remain drug-free. Nine Copperas Cove schools recognized the national anti-drug awareness week through a variety of activities.
“Red Ribbon Week gives us the opportunity to focus on being healthy and drug-free. Although some of our young students don’t know what that means, some definitely do,” said Angela Kirkpatrick, principal of Fairview/Miss Jewel Elementary School. “This is positive peer pressure (to not use drugs) rather than negative peer pressure that they might face eventually.”
Red Ribbon Week started in 1988 in memory of former Marine and DEA Agent Enrique Camarena to show that one person can make a difference. Students are encouraged to pledge to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Camarena and others on behalf of all Americans. School officials hope that by starting at an early age, students will continue the pledges into their teen years. “Drug use is always an issue when dealing with teens because those are the experimental years,” said CCISD Deputy Superintendent Rick Kirkpatrick. “Teens think they are invincible and don’t think about the negative impact.”
Copperas Cove ISD has a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug use. The school district’s very strict policy is in line with the state of Texas, Kirkpatrick said.
“Unfortunately, (drug use) is the recreational thing to do for this generation,” he said, comparing it to the 1960s. “Marijuana is experimented with by a lot of teens across the country, not just in Copperas Cove. Marijuana has replaced beer on the weekends.”
According to CCISD’s student handbook, the school district requires drug testing of any student in grades 7-12 who chooses to participate in athletics. Students are randomly tested throughout the school year. Drug test results are used only to determine eligibility for participation in athletics and positive drug test results are not used to impose disciplinary sanctions or academic penalties. Drug test results remain confidential and are disclosed only to the student, the student’s parents, and designated district officials who need the information in order to administer the drug testing program. “When you have states legalizing (marijuana) that makes it more difficult to explain to kids why its bad for them,” Kirkpatrick said. “I am happy that Texas laws haven’t softened on this issue.”