This week is Red Ribbon Week: Be Drug Free. Most flavorful class discussion to date. I wish I had tape recorded the whole thing. I will give you bits and pieces of what some of my little first grade friends had to contribute to the conversation.
"Miss Leiss, why are we wearing these red ribbons anyway?"
Me: "Well, let's talk about that for a little bit. This week at school we are celebrating being Drug Free. That means we are deciding not to use drugs."
"Miss Leiss...what IS a drug, even...?"
"IT'S LIKE, AH-COHOL..."
"My mom smokes."
"MY BROTHER HAS DRUGS...IN HIS ROOM...MAYBE...?" (<-- this student's brother is maybe 5 years old, at most. so I didn't take it seriously.)
"Aren't drugs good? Like medicine?" (<--- innocent student)
Me: "Yes, some drugs are good things, like medicine. But, even medicine when it isn't used in a good way, can be bad for you. If you take too much of it, it's bad for you. Or if you take medicine that isn't yours, it's very bad for your body. It can be harmful to your body and your health. Remember when we talked about harmful last week when we talked about heat?"
"I didn't know medicine could be bad for you. Too much of it! Never thought of that!" (<--- GT student)
"Miss Leiss, once my dad drank some drugs, and he drove, and he got pulled over by the cops. I think."
Me: "Ohh. Well, that's the law."
"What's the law?"
"Are drugs against the law, Miss Leiss?"
Me: "Some drugs are against the law, yes. It can depend on how old you are, but some drugs are just off limits all the time." (<--- trying to be as vague about kinds of drugs as fervently possible, but truthful)
"What happens if you eat those drugs?"
Me: "Well, you could get in a lot of trouble. You could get tickets from the police or even go to jail." (<--- getting uncomfortable)
"KIDS GO TO JAIL?!"
"Yeah you guys, it's called JUBY."
Me (trying to wrap up where the conversation might go): "Okay, so we know that drugs are things that are harmful to our bodies and they can harm our families too. Miss Leiss has been drug free her whole life so it's possible. There are ways to be drug free."
"Just say no! Right?"