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Friday, February 2, 2001

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Michael Wyckoff, 14, of Mililani Middle School, takes the
microphone to tell the rally audience why he believes the age
to get a driver's license should be lowered to 13. Hundreds
of students joined the Drug-Free Hawaii rally at the state
Capitol today, debating some issues that affect young people.

Oahu students rally,
debate youth issues
at the Capitol

By Lisa Asato

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.

Legislature 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.

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