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Don't monkey around with drugs
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All students at Heard-Mixon Elementary School participated in a parade around the school Thursday afternoon as part of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Red Ribbon Week.

Red Ribbon Week is a nationally observed time to hold special activities designed to increase awareness about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in the country's schools.

"When I started teaching in 1992, it was a big week," said Lee Peck, principal of Heard-Mixon Elementary.

Peck explained how at many schools new initiatives and dramatic current events have caused the focus on Red Ribbon week activities to dwindle. He said administrators and educators at Heard-Mixon felt it was important to revitalize the national awareness week at the school.

School counselor Fred Hines led the students outside the front of the building and around the playground and black-top track as they chanted, "say no to drugs."

Because this year's theme for Red Ribbon week is "Don't Monkey Around with Drugs," many classes made posters, puppets or hats with an ape or chimpanzee theme.

"Anything that adds to not using one day is worth it," Hines said.

Fifth grade students graduated from the D.A.R.E. program Friday as fourth grade students watched the ceremony. Those graduating earn a red ribbon, hence the name of the awareness week.