Market Street students celebrate Red Ribbon Week

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Market Street Elementary School held Red Ribbon Week from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3. Throughout the week, the school had different dress days, such as wearing backwards shirts on Thursday for “Turn Your Back on Drugs“ day. On Nov. 3, the school brought in speakers to talk about drugs. Pictured are, from left, speakers Donnie Blasco and Jeff McLaughlin and principal Billie Jo Johnson, along with the Drug Task Force K9, Mercy.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Jeff McLaughlin asked the students to repeat after him. They recited a promise to be drug-free. Red Ribbon Week focuses on promoting a drug-free lifestyle.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.During Market Street Elementary's Red Ribbon Week assembly, Jeff McLaughin of the Drug Task Force brought the department's K9, Mercy. They did a live demonstration of Mercy searching for drugs. Pictured, Deputy Donnie Blasco held K9 Mercy.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Market Street Elementary School brought in Larry McLaughlin, pictured, and Donnie Belosic from the Mahoning Valley Sheriff's Office on Nov. 3 during their Red Ribbon Week.


Neighbors | Zack Shively.Upon leaving the assembly, Jeff McLaughlin allowed the students to pet the Drug Task Force's K9, Mercy. The assembly included McLaughlin and Deputy Donnie Blasco discussing the dangers of drugs and giving some statistics on drug use.


Market Street Elementary School concluded its Red Ribbon Week with a special assembly on Nov. 3 about drug use featuring speakers and the Mahoning Valley Drug Task Force’s dog.

The school welcomed Sgt. Larry McLaughlin of the Mahoning Valley Drug Task Force and Mahoning Valley Sheriff’s Deputy Donnie Belosic to speak against drug use.

Prior to the assembly, the school had celebrated Red Ribbon Week, a national effort to prevent drug use. They talked about taking a stand against drugs all week from Oct. 30 through Nov. 3.

The school offered dress-up days with different themes. They wore red on Monday to begin Red Ribbon Week, tie dye on Tuesday to say “Peace Out to Drugs,“ sports jerseys on Wednesday to “Team Up Against Drugs,“ backwards shirts on Thursday for “Turn Your Back on Drugs“ day and Spartan attire on Friday to show their school chooses to be drug-free.

McLaughlin began the assembly by introducing himself and Belosic. He then had them take a promise to remain drug-free.

Belosic gave the students statistics from the DEA about drug abuse. According to Belosic’s research, 64,000 people died of an overdose throughout the nation in 2016, making about 175 a day. Ohio had the most deaths from overdoses with 4,000 deaths.

McLaughlin brought out Mercy, the dog from the Mahoning Valley Drug Task Force. The task force uses Mercy to find drugs. Because she has such a good sense of smell, they can have her sniff out a hiding criminal by having her first smell an article of the criminal’s clothing. They also occasionally use her for search and rescue in extreme cases.

Mercy gave a live demonstration of her searching abilities. McLaughlin placed one of her toys in a box on stage, then placed two other boxes on the stage. Mercy ran to the box immediately, opened it and played with her toy. McLaughlin showed the children some of the tricks that Mercy could do.

Upon leaving the assembly, McLaughlin allowed the students to pet Mercy.

All classes from kindergarten to fourth grade attended the assembly and got a chance to pet Mercy.

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