Drug Awareness for 4-year old and 1st grader?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 10-25-2009, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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On Friday I got a note home from the kids' school saying that next week the school will be recognizing Red Ribbon Week, which is a week "dedicated to all of the people who have been wrongly killed due to the violence of drugs including Kiki Camarena, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, with whose memory this worldwide drug campaign originated."

There will be some school-wide activities, like "Hats Off to Drugs" Day on which day the kids wear favorite hats to school. And "Sock it to Drugs" day, on which day the kids wear goofy or crazy socks.

The note also says "individual teachers will have activities in addition to our school wide activities."

The theme for the week is "Drug Free is Key" and there will be "activities/items intended to promote classroom discussion throughout the week."

My problem: do 4-year-olds and 1st graders REALLY need to be participating in activities about drugs? I mean, yes, "say no to drug" campaigns can be possibly useful for older kids, but does it need to start so young? Also, I am peeved that I got the note on FRIDAY and the week starts tomorrow, with no chance for me to talk to the teachers about what the individual class activities are.

I in no means plan to shelter my kids. We talk about everything, and I honestly answer their questions about things such as sex or whatever. But for some reason this just doesn't sit right with me.

What are your thoughts on what I've described? How would you handle the situation? Am I overreacting or not looking at the situation from all angles?

Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions!

Mom to dd (8), ds (6), and dd (1)

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#2 of 18 Old 10-25-2009, 10:53 AM
 
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I would keep them home. Each year when my son's class did "stranger danger" role plays, discussion, etc, we kept him home. I simply told the teacher that we preferred to keep this topic for home discussion where I could be there to monitor my child's reaction and need for support.
These are heavy topics and teachers are not child psychologists, nor do they have the time to help each individual child process information such as drug deaths or molestation by family members or children being snatched on their way home from school never to return. Horrifying stuff that I can discuss with my own children when they are ready and have my support.
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#3 of 18 Old 10-25-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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I think it is over top. Personally I would talk to the teacher or lower school head and find out exactly what the teachings/other activities were before making a decision. Does my 2nd grader need a life lesson of people killed over the "war on drugs"? Depends on the context but still seems over the top.

However I think it could be a good teaching moment if you or any one in your family takes prescription medicine, vitamins, OTC stuff. Those are so much more dangerous to a child’s everyday life. Children routinely overdose on things around the house especially now that so many of them are attractive to kids-gummy vites, sour vitamin d chews, bubblegum Tylenol. too much iron and too much acetiminaphon (sp?) can be deadly.

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#4 of 18 Old 10-25-2009, 11:00 AM
 
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I just emptied out ds bag from Thursday (no school fri) and there was the same info. The only thing i don't like is while i am open to talking about these things with my son, i usually like to let him start the conversation.

I wish i knew more about what exactly they were teaching, and stuff. I'll have to ask Monday.

I still remember being in first grade sitting in the auditorium for the "just say no" pep rally. Seriously, all the info they gave just went over my head so maybe i have nothing to worry about.

E Veg*n Mom to ds 6 : dd 3
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#5 of 18 Old 10-25-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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Originally Posted by greeny View Post
There will be some school-wide activities, like "Hats Off to Drugs" Day on which day the kids wear favorite hats to school. And "Sock it to Drugs" day, on which day the kids wear goofy or crazy socks.

.... My problem: do 4-year-olds and 1st graders REALLY need to be participating in activities about drugs?
While the 4 and 1st grader don't need to participate in activities about drugs, if they see all the big kids wearing hats and crazy socks and they don't get to, they'll feel left out.

I'd ask exactly what they are going to be doing/talking about. The hat/sock thing is fun and goofy and I wouldn't have a problem with my kids wearing hats or socks. It's the rest of it I'd be curious about.

(We are doing red ribbon week next week to, but as my kids are in middle school, at least it makes sense).

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#6 of 18 Old 10-25-2009, 12:24 PM
 
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My son's school is doing Red Ribbon week next week too. They started last year when he was in first grade.

Honestly, I don't really have a problem with it. But my kid is very open with me and tells me what he's learned about it and asks lots of questions. I wouldn't be comfortable with him getting all his info from the school. For us, it's like everything else at school. They provide the base and we expand on it.
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#7 of 18 Old 10-25-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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I have major issues with drug programming as it is presented in schools, but as far as when to deliver the message... sadly, no. Four is not too early, at least not where I am. I've had to make a kindergarten student spit out chew.

I say keep them home and have your own discussion if the main activities are all centered on one day, but if it's a whole week, that's a whole lot of schedule-shifting for you. I'd either request that they be held out of it and then talk about it at home (they'll want to know what they're missing) or let them go and talk about it at home. A simple "We put healthy things into our body. What are some healthy things we put in our body? What's not healthy?" should suffice.

Me+DH+DS1+DS2+Dog=me and a house full of guys, which is really just peachy, thanks.
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#8 of 18 Old 10-25-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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I have a fourth grader and a first grader. We talk about how the schools feel this information is important primarily for kids who might not talk about it at home, and that we first and foremost gain our information from what we talk about at home.
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#9 of 18 Old 10-25-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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I have found that the information presented to kids that young is very mild and general and has never been too much for kids to handle.

 
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#10 of 18 Old 10-26-2009, 10:09 AM
 
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I would want to know exactly what they had planned.

I personally have a HUGE problem with the whole "say no to drugs" philosophy. My philosophy is that drugs are medicines; if you take medicine when you don't need it, you can get very sick. Drugs themselves are neutral. If somebody is trying to "get high", then they're either taking medicine they don't need, or they're taking way too high of a dose.

That said, I don't have a problem with little kids learning that there are people in the world who are drug addicts, and that these individuals might be unsafe to be around because the illness of drug addiction causes them to make bad choices. That, and "don't take medicine unless your parent or a medical professional gives it to you" is appropriate for little kids.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#11 of 18 Old 10-28-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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My experience has been that the focus of the the Red Ribbon Week for the early grades is primarly about making healthy choices. In K, 1, and 2 they don't even discuss drugs and alcohol at all - mainly focusing on exercise and healthy eating. As the kids get older they'll include information about peer pressure and the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

Our school will often have special speakers or performers who drill in the idea that, "we wouldn't be able to do all these cool skateboard, basketball, etc. tricks if we didn't work really hard and take good care of our bodies".

It's really fun for the kids for the most part. Not sure it's necessary, but not harmful.

Alyssa
Mama to Scott (USAF), Katie (18), Karlie (16), Kimmy (9), Klara (4.5), and Baby Khloe (2.5)
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#12 of 18 Old 10-29-2009, 02:14 AM
 
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How is red ribbon week shaping up for everyone?

My kids are enjoying dressing in goofy ways, but the fact that basketball season started this week is a far bigger news that red ribbon week. I'm not sure if they are doing anything for red ribbon week besides dressing goofy. (pointless, but harmless)

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#13 of 18 Old 10-29-2009, 10:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
How is red ribbon week shaping up for everyone?

My kids are enjoying dressing in goofy ways, but the fact that basketball season started this week is a far bigger news that red ribbon week. I'm not sure if they are doing anything for red ribbon week besides dressing goofy. (pointless, but harmless)
They're doing it at my Kindergarteners school too. So far, it's been nothing more than talking about keeping your body healthy. But I will say that my son has autism and HUGE sensory issues. He'll only wear white shirts. Well, they sent home a note saying they want every child to wear a red shirt on Wednesday for Red Ribbon Week. I let ds read the note (he's an excellent reader). He decided he was going to participate and picked a red shirt to wear on top of his white one! And he wore it all day! HUGE HUGE HUGE progress for him. So... if he got nothing other than wearing a red shirt from this whole week I'll be thrilled Even more impressive is he didn't fight when I put a blue/orange shirt on him today (over his white shirt)! That would usually cause meltdown city, but he's wearing it (this is the 3rd day this school year he's worn a colored shirt!!! HUGE progress!!!).

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#14 of 18 Old 10-29-2009, 11:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by StephandOwen View Post
. He decided he was going to participate and picked a red shirt to wear on top of his white one! And he wore it all day! HUGE HUGE HUGE progress for him.


That's fantastic!!! There's a lot to be said for kids joining in goofy things.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#15 of 18 Old 10-29-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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My daughter is in first grade and came home last week talking about cocaine and "good drugs that you can always take that don't hurt your body." Upon further discussion about the "bad" drugs, she revealed that she couldn't remember the name of the one that you put like a shot in to your arm...and when I supplied "heroin" she confirmed that was what she meant.

We had no prior notice of drug-awareness week, and dd says it was hre teacher doing the talking not a special guest. Both my dh and I were beyond words at the insane inappropriateness of talking to 1st graders about shooting up heroin.

We did some damage control based on our values and perceptions of good/bad and legal/illegal substances, but I could see she was conflicted and I am very upset that her first exposure to this information was not at home. I guess I never imagined a six year old would need to have had that conversation
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#16 of 18 Old 10-29-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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I guess I never imagined a six year old would need to have had that conversation
I was once a creche worker at a city project for drug users and their families. I know 3 year olds who were given "a wee puff of brown" (that is, smoking heroin) to "help them sleep". I don't know what you're area is like, but sadly i don't think there is a school near me that i can afford when there won't be at least a few little tiny kids who will benefit from someone opening a dialogue for them about drugs. It's a mad world.
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#17 of 18 Old 11-02-2009, 11:03 AM
 
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I find Red Ribbon Week outrageous.

It is inappropriate and stupid, tossing slogans at children who should not be hearing about drugging and pretending that wearing a crazy hairstyle has something to do with drug prevention.

Activities like Red Ribbon week erode any rational person's trust and respect for the school counselors who plan these events.
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#18 of 18 Old 11-02-2009, 11:09 AM
 
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Our school district takes Red Ribbon week to the extreme. They show drug paraphanelia to the children asking if any of that is in their home. It prompted my kindergartener to yell loudly at me, "You need to stop drinking wine!", over and over outside of the school while I was picking her up. I don't need to school to teach my kids how to berate me in public about modest wine consumption.

student/sahm to three awesome girls who are always on the go!
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