About 1,200 seventh- and eighth-graders from around the island gathered at the state Capitol this morning to kick off drug-free awareness month.
Oahu students rally,
debate youth issues
at the Capitol
By Lisa Asato
Today's rally, called "The Solution is in our Hands," was aimed at getting the communities involved in drug prevention and raising awareness of drug-free activities. The event also drew about a dozen community groups, such as Kalihi YMCA, that offer students activities and reasons to stay drug-free.
"They're at the age where they could be experimenting with drugs, alcohol and tobacco," said Alan Shinn, executive director of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii. "This is an opportunity to help them make some informed choices."
On the Capitol lawn, students debated subjects such as whether lawmakers should raise the driving age, and the effects of drugs and violence in the media.
Lawmakers got involved, mediating the debates and taking pictures with their district schoolchildren. Rep. Mindy Jaffe (Kaimuki-Waikiki) took it a step further, joining a jazzercise troupe to dance to the song "Who Let the Doggs Out."
The event was co-sponsored by the drug-free coalition, the Hawaii Medical Services Association and the state Department of Education.
Hawaii Revised Statutes