Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) shared an important message with elementary school students at Golden Oak Community School Monday.
“We’re police officers and we’re all here for you guys,” LAPD Officer Mike Scott said. “It’s important that you guys remember to say no to drugs, crime, gangs and bullying.”
Monday’s school-wide rally was a celebration and acknowledgement of the students’ promise to follow LAPD’s “Just Say No!” Pledge to say no to drugs, crime, gangs and bullying.
In addition to saying no, the students promised to honor their parents, respect and learn from their teachers, respect and be courteous to others and to believe in themselves.
The LAPD Baseball Team created the pledge a few years ago to positively impact young lives and to create positive interactions between youth and police officers.
“We started this two years ago and we asked a simple thing for schools to write pledges for drugs, gangs, crime and bullying because those are the things that are most important to us as law enforcement officers,” Scott said. “The reason we wrote this pledge is because these are things that will hurt you later on in life.”
This was the first year students at Golden Oak Community School participated in the program with LAPD as part of their Red Ribbon Week, an annual alcohol, tobacco, drug and violence prevention awareness campaign.
“We have a couple of parents who are LAPD officers and they helped us set it up,” Principal Gretchen Lupica said. “It’s a program that they do through the LAPD for students, typically in LA, but we got special clearance for them to do it here. The students took the pledge in their classes and talked about it with their teachers and what it means to be drug-free and a good citizen at the school.”
During the rally, Scott also shared the dangers of getting into drugs, crime, gangs and bullying and encouraged the students to follow the pledge throughout their lives.
“You will get caught, there’s no way around it. You’ll think you’ll get away with it for a little bit but you will get caught,” Scott said. “But if you follow this pledge, you will live a good life.”
Although the event had a serious tone and message, it also was full of fun activities, games and prizes. All of Golden Oak Community School, including teachers and administrators, joined in on the fun as they danced, hula hooped and rapped on stage.
Students had a chance to complete for and win prizes that included everything from dolls and action figures to stuffed animals and bicycles.
They also had a chance to win prizes during hula hoop competitions, dance competitions and rap competitions on stage.
The event was one of the many exciting things the school is doing this year to celebrate Red Ribbon Week/Anti-Bullying Week. They also had an assembly about conflict resolution and participated in spirit days to promote good choices and behavior.
“I hope they learn they can always make a good decision for themselves, that they don’t have to give in to peer pressure,” Lupica said. “They’re learning ways to be healthy so they can be successful in the future.”
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