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Clayton County Head Start students campaign against drugs during Red Ribbon Week

Parents of Clayton County Head Start students wait in the cafeteria for the Red Ribbon Week parade to start. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

Parents of Clayton County Head Start students wait in the cafeteria for the Red Ribbon Week parade to start. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Students parade through the cafeteria representing various anti-drug themes. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Classroom G students urge others to be all they can be, be drug-free. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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These students want others to give hugs, not drugs. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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These students want others to give hugs, not drugs. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Forest Park Mayor David Lockhart reads the Red Ribbon proclamation with Councilwoman Maudie McCord at Clayton County Head Start. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Forest Park Councilwoman Maudie McCord, Head Start South Avenue Center Manager Gary Johnson and Mayor David Lockhart with Red Ribbon Week proclamation. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Officials cut a red ribbon to kick off festivities at Clayton County Head Start center in Forest Park. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

FOREST PARK — Clayton County Head Start program celebrated Red Ribbon Week recently with a parade, proclamation and parents.

Gary Johnson, South Avenue Center manager, said it is important for children to learn about the perils of drug abuse as early as possible.

Each class adopted an anti-drug theme, dressed accordingly and paraded through the cafeteria in front of their parents and grandparents.

Red Ribbon Week has been observed annually in communities throughout the United States since 1988 to honor the murder of federal drug agent Enrique Camarena.

The week-long drug awareness campaign was organized by National Family Partnership and endorsed by then-first lady Nancy Reagan, who famously told Americans to “Just say no” to drugs.

After the Head Start parade, Forest Park Mayor David Lockhart and Councilwoman Maudie McCord presented Johnson with a proclamation from the city. The officials, including a Clayton County firefighter and Head Start Director Eme Isok-Nsuk, then participated in cutting a red ribbon in a symbolic gesture to kick off festivities.

After the ceremony, parents participated in a health fair and the students ended the morning with games and other activities.