Clipper Staff Writer
LAYTON — A week spent learning of the dangers of drug use culminated in a high-energy parade of mascots through the halls of Whitesides Elementary last Friday.
“This shows them that there are very many people in the community who care about them and their future,” said Diane Cahoon, principal. “They can see that everybody’s pulling for them to do well.”
The Jazz Bear was there, exploding confetti and dousing laughing kids in silly string, giving hugs and lifts and high fives.
Joining him in the parade were mascots from Real, the Salt Lake Bees, Chick-fil-A, Boondocks and more.
Student leaders from Clearfield High also participated in the parade through the school’s halls.
“We’re here to show them that there are a bunch of people helping them not to do drugs, to make good decisions,” said Hadley Burton, student body vice president.
Carson Maughan, a junior officer at Clearfield, has heard stories from his father, who has worked in emergency rooms and as a firefighter.
“He’s seen people come in overdosed on drugs and asking for more drugs,” he said. “It makes me want to stay even further away from drugs than before.”
Paper hands lined the halls of the school, with student commitments to avoid drugs.
“I choose to be drug free because it makes me happy,” said one. “Drugs are bad because they can hurt you,” said another. Others committed to avoid drugs “because I want to live a long time,” or “because they ruin your body,” and “because I want to have a cool job.”
Erin Sanderson has two children at Whitesides and said she appreciated the support of the community at the parade.
“It’s important that it’s not just parents and not just faculty sending the message,” she said. “It’s the community that wants them to succeed and that comes to support them.”
Kids need to learn from a very early age that they have a choice, said Cahoon.
“It’s very real,” she said of the problems of drug abuse. “Some of our kids have already seen the effect of drugs on family members. Kids need to learn they have a choice.”