Home News Local news 5 SCHOOLS TAKE PART IN ST. JOHN RED RIBBON EVENT

5 SCHOOLS TAKE PART IN ST. JOHN RED RIBBON EVENT

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Oct. 25, 2002 – National Park Ranger Elmo Rabsatt had a whole new bag that he wanted to share with St. John school children on Thursday. It was a body bag.
Among the many services he performs on island, Rabsatt says, he is St. John's medical examiner, which means he's the one who comes calling when drug abuse goes too far. On Thursday morning, he took his message to Cruz Bay Park, where students from the island's public and private schools commemorated Red Ribbon Week. Organizers say about 500 people turned out for St. John's first-ever Red Ribbon march and rally against drugs and crime.
It was the first time in two years that St. John students had their own observance of Red Ribbon Week, an annual tribute to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officer who died at the hands of drug smugglers in the 1980s. Celebrations in the Virgin Islands are coordinated by the Law Enforcement Planning Commission, where Rabsatt has been a volunteer for several years.
"I enjoy working with the youth," he said. But he recognizes the challenges for adults to capture and hold the attention of the younger generation; so these days, when he talks about drugs and crime, he brings along a friend.
His name is Elmo, too, and he's a jazzed-up skeleton clenching a booze bottle in one hand and a spliff between his teeth. Seated at the top of the steps at the Cruz Bay bandstand, he stood for the consequences of drug abuse, as Rabsatt sees them.
Students taking part in Thursday's anti-drug event eagerly awaited their turns to share messages of their own. Coordinator Celia Gumbs said it took the efforts of three school administrators to pull the event off, but it was worth the work. Of the students, she said, "We want them to know that drugs are out there, and people are going to approach them and try to get them to try drugs. We want to get that message to them, even at an early age."
Five schools took part in the program — Julius E. Sprauve, Guy Benjamin, Pine Peace, Coral Bay and, from St. Thomas, Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School.

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