Elkins Middle School students have finished up two weeks of learning about bullying, the effects of drugs and making wise choices.
On Friday, Circuit Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong and five members of the Randolph County probation office shared relevant information with the students in hopes of instilling a voice of conscience and healthy living in the youngsters.
Wilfong asked students to raise their hands if someone ever told them not to do drugs. She then asked them to raise their hands if they had been asked 10 times not to do drugs. Finally, she asked them to raise their hands if they had been asked 100 times not to do drugs.
"When I was learning to drive, my father always told me not to swerve to miss hitting a deer, but to keep both hands on the wheel and hit the deer to avoid (a more severe) accident," Wilfong said. "Ten years later, I was driving and a deer jumped in front of me. I remembered my father's message and kept both hands on the wheel and hit the deer. There was an 18-wheel truck behind me and coming toward me, but I did not get hurt. I remembered what my father said. Our hope is that each of you will remember being told not to use drugs when someone tries to offer them to you."
Elkins Middle School Principal Rich Carr said he greatly appreciates the judge and her staff coming to speak with students.
"This is an important assembly to help teach the dangers of bullying and taking drugs," Carr said. "Hopefully the students will use the knowledge they learn today to refrain from bullying and taking drugs, and be able to help another individual when they are having problems."
Probation officer Sherri Hulver told students she used to work with the Department of Health and Human Resources. Once, she was in the emergency department with a teen and a security guard. The guard asked the teen if she ever huffed anything, and she said she had.
The guard then told the teen a story from when he was younger. He said he and his friend went into the woods and huffed gasoline. It was the first time his friend had ever huffed, and when he did so, he fainted, Hulver said.
"The officer said his friend died instantly, and he had to drag his friend's dead body from the woods and explain to his parents what happened," Hulver said. "It is a terrible story, but proves that you could die even the first time you do drugs."
The students learned about bullying and drug abuse during Red Ribbon Week, a nationwide drug-prevention campaign.