Thursday, April 26, 2007
School safety stressed at D.A.R.E. event
By SUE WATSON
With the nation still reeling from the Virginia Tech massacre last week, school administrators and law officers used much of the program time at Friday’s D.A.R.E. graduation to assure fifth grade students and encourage them to tell someone when they feel unsafe.
In opening remarks, county school district superintendent Don Randolph counseled students.
“With all of this that is happening in the world, we are here to help you to think of the things you can do,” he said. “The best thing you can do today is to share things with your teacher and principal if something is not right.
“The most important thing is a safe environment for you today. That’s not happening all over the country. As the president said, you are entitled every day to walk into your school in a safe environment.”
Randolph urged students to share any concerns for their safety with school resource officers who in the county schools are Tamera Jeffries, Cathy Elliott, Shane Goode and Bernita Fountain.
“This is how we identify problems in our schools,” he said.
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson urged students to take the path to success by avoiding drugs and alcohol and remembering what they are taught about illegal drugs and the path of destruction to which they lead.
“You are a big part of Marshall County,” he told students.
He urged students to apply what they learn in drug awareness resistance education throughout life.
“I can’t think of anything more important about our education than what you learn about illegal drugs. They are a poison to your body, your behavior and they will literally destroy your health and your future,” Dickerson said.
Illegal drug use is connected to about half the crime today, he said.
“They (criminals) leave a life of freedom, a good home for a future felony record, serve time, get out and can’t get a job, and go back to drugs and crime,” Dickerson said. “Don’t do this. Don’t do this.
“Follow the good advice of your parents, your teachers, and think positive thoughts, become good citizens, talk to your parents, teachers and school resource officers.”
Dickerson said the vast majority of the approximately 1,000 cases on the criminal docket in Marshall County Circuit Court are drug related.
“Our jail is full, Parchman is full and the private prisons are full,” he said. “We must do more to prevent the need for these facilities.”
In prior years Americans did not have the facts about drugs and crime presented to them in school, Dickerson said.
“I seriously believe if they had, there would be a lot of these prevented through education and D.A.R.E. They all make a serious and special effort in doing what is good for you. I am proud to be a part of the effort to make your learning environment as safe as it can be. Any time we can help, feel free to call on us.”
After the graduation program, students were given a free hour to play games and eat corn dogs and funnel cakes.
Holly Springs High School’s Allied Health students, under the supervision of Ms. Sanderson, provided organized play.
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