The health curriculum at West Rock Middle School is taking a different approach to keeping kids drug-free.
By combining traditional warnings with personal pledges to stay drug-free, the Courage to Speak Foundation curriculum is making kids active participants.
York Mario, a health teacher at West Rocks Middle School said, "We make posters that hang in the cafeteria. We do different role play exercises. We do a lot of different things that encourage them to talk about their feelings."
"Last year we learned about bullying and peer pressure so now we're going to learn in depth about drugs and the different kinds so you can see the effects and side effects and you know which one is the most dangerous and what you want avoid," said Purvi Triveti, a seventh grader at West Rocks.
In addition to letters and artwork, students reflect on how taking drugs would affect the people around them
Elizabeth Burke, a seventh grader at West Rocks said, "I realize that when I'm older, I don't want my kids doing drugs because I don't want to loose them."
"I don't want to go through something like that. I don't want my mom to go through something like that. It would be hard for her and for my whole family," said Matthew Hernandez, a seventh grader at West Rocks.
Norwalk Chief of Police Thomas Kulhawik says the program sends a positive message to the entire community.
"It sends the right message to kids and parents. Unfortunately with the de-criminalization of marijuana her in Connecticut and some high profile comments that have been made about the dangers or lack there of, of marijuana use, we're sending a mix message to the young people so it's more important than ever that we get a positive message out there to let them know what are the dangers; make good decisions. We have the D.A.R.E program in the schools but this is another opportunity to get the message home to kids and their parents."
The Courage to Speak Foundation will host it's 10th Annual Courage to Speak Empowering Youth to Be Drug-Free Family Night on March 18th at West Rock Middle School. For more information about Courage to Speak, visit www.couragetospeak.org.