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LISD Schools Embrace Red Ribbon Week, Supporting Healthy Lives

LISD Schools Embrace Red Ribbon Week, Supporting Healthy Lives
Posted on 11/02/2016

Visitors to our district last week may have noticed that the students, staff and schools took on a much more festive look than usual. Leander ISD joined school districts nationwide to celebrate Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31), which is sponsored by the National Family Partnership and provides an avenue for youth and their communities to rally together and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.

Many of our campuses used themed spirit days to build enthusiasm and unity around their drug-free programming. For example, on Monday, Canyon Ridge Middle School students dressed in camouflage to ‘join the drug-free army.’ On Tuesday, Westside Elementary students dressed in red, white and blue to ‘vote’ to make lifelong healthy choices. Some schools also tied the Red Ribbon campaign into their other campus priorities — Cox Elementary made Thursday SWAG (Students Who Achieve Goals) day, dressed in college or career attire. Deer Creek Elementary used the opportunity to also hold a canned food drive, benefiting the LISD Backpack Program, which provides students in need with meals to take home over the weekend.

While this has always been a fun way to bring our community together around a shared campaign against youth drug, tobacco and alcohol use, I do want to give this serious issue its due attention. Substance use and abuse, as well as mental health issues, top the list of public health concerns nationally and here in Central Texas. We work to create systems and programs that ensure every student has what he or she needs to feel safe and healthy socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually. Our team of counselors, social workers and Chemical Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP) staff also play a critical role in ensuring our students are safe and healthy. But achieving this goal requires buy-in and support on all sides—students, parents, teachers, administrators, community members, elected officials, and so forth.

That is why I am extremely proud of the work each of our schools has done over the past few years to qualify as a “No Place for Hate” campus through the Anti-Defamation League. As of last school year, 100-percent of LISD schools, as well as the central administration office, have earned this distinction. It is truly impressive to watch our students, from elementary through high school, embrace their role as change agents, take initiative and grow into more kind, inclusive leaders.

While it takes the entire community to build a healthy and supportive learning environment, the first and best foundation is built at home. Parents can help their children practice stress management tools taught in our schools like exercising, spending time outside, volunteering and getting proper rest and sleep. Additionally, parents can help by discussing with their children what our students learn in school about substance abuse and prevention.

Working together and building upon the positive, healthy habits being taught in our schools, LISD will continue to lead students to a bright future.