Pine Bluff Lighthouse Charter School fifth- to seventh-graders heard about the dangers of drugs and the importance of making decisions on Monday in an interactive exercise as part of Red Ribbon Week.

Pine Bluff Lighthouse Charter School fifth- to seventh-graders heard about the dangers of drugs and the importance of making decisions on Monday in an interactive exercise as part of Red Ribbon Week.


Pine Bluff police officer Melissa Johnson asked for two students to volunteer in an exercise meant to show the effects of a person under the influence of alcohol. She asked Lighthouse Principal Brent Mitchell to lie down on the ground in between the students. She had one student pour water from a pitcher to another student holding a mug. In this scenario, the water transferred from the pitcher to the mug without spilling on Mitchell.


In the next scenario, Johnson spun the student around dozens of times, and then asked him to pour the water from the pitcher into the mug. In this instance, the student missed the mug and lost control of the pitcher, resulting in Mitchell getting doused.


Mitchell smiled as the students roared with laughter. Mitchell said he did not mind getting wet as long as the students learned from the episode.


Johnson asked the students to raise their hands if they considered cigarettes, alcohol and drugs to be dangerous. Nearly every student raised their hand, so Johnson said that she did not need to speak in detail about those substances.


She asked for a student to volunteer, and asked him to count from one to 10 as quickly as possible. At the same time, Johnson asked the other students if they preferred chicken or tacos and to show their choice by sitting at a corresponding table.


The students were supposed to be at one table or another before the student reached 10. However, some students lingered in between the tables while others switched from one table to another after Johnson had called for their attention.


This exercise was to illustrate the process of making a decision without consulting with friends, Johnson said. She noted that some students joined their friends and others lingered in between the tables.


"You make decisions every day," Johnson said. "This morning you woke up, got dressed and came to school. You could have lied about being sick and avoided school. You made a good decision to be here today.


"I saw some of you get pulled along by your friends," Johnson said. "It is important you make your own decisions."


She asked the students if they knew the difference between being a snitch versus being a tattletale. The former involves serious matters, whereas the latter is relatively harmless.


"Joe brings a knife," Johnson said as an example. "You snitch on Joe because he could hurt someone with a knife. When something is important, you need to tell a teacher."


An example of a tattletale is seeing a peer chewing gum and telling the teacher, she said.


Lighthouse board member Reshonda Walker organized the activity.


"I think the takeaway is making good decisions, and not being easily swayed by others," Walker said. "We face tough decisions every day. One decision could change your life."