Mineral Wells Elementary School focuses on drug awareness

Photo by Michael Erb Parkersburg South High School Prevention Resource Officer Todd Lambiotte reaches out to steady Mineral Wells Elementary School fourth-grader Natalie Alderman as she struggles to perform a balance test while wearing goggles that simulate intoxication.

MINERAL WELLS — Law enforcement and first responders visited Mineral Wells Elementary School Thursday as part of the school’s annual drug awareness program.

The event gives students the chance to meet and talk with area law enforcement, fire and rescue officials to learn about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and firearms.

Activities include hearing about K9 units, wearing goggles which simulate the effects of alcohol, and having the opportunity to ask questions about law enforcement and safety. The West Virginia State Police, Wood County Sheriff’s Department, Wood County Day Report Center, Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department, Parkersburg South High School Prevention Resource Officer Todd Lambiotte, Parkersburg Police Department and Homeland Security had representatives at the event Thursday.

Principal Melissa Powers said the annual program for fourth- and fifth-grade students is important not only to raise awareness, but also to familiarize students with police and other first responders.

“It’s an opportunity to bring these community agencies into our school,” she said. “It’s nice for our students to see them as role models. It’s nice for the students to see this is where we go for help.”

Photo by Michael Erb Wood County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Kidder stands with Maggi, a female German shepherd, Thursday while speaking to students at Mineral Wells Elementary School as part of the annual drug awareness day program.

Superintendent John Flint said events like these are only the beginning of the conversation.

“We want the kids to take these lessons home to their families and talk about what they’ve learned at the dinner table,” he said. “It’s a great program.”