September 16, 2014

Elyria
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Students gather at Elyria High to say most teens don’t do drugs, alcohol

Avon Lake students attend the "We Are the Majority" rally at Elyria High on Thursday. More than 700 Lorain County students from 14 high schools participated in the event, which rallied aroudn the importance of remaining substance free. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

Avon Lake students attend the “We Are the Majority” rally at Elyria High on Wednesday. More than 700 Lorain County students from 14 high schools participated in the event, which rallied around the importance of remaining substance free. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — More than 700 students with one voice screamed out four words Wednesday afternoon that they hoped would be the new teen mantra.

“We are the majority,” the students from 14 high schools said, growing louder each time the words were chanted inside the gymnasium of Elyria High School.

The second annual “We are the Majority” rally took place inside due to rain, but was no less enthusiastic than last year’s inaugural event on the steps of the old Lorain County Courthouse.

“People see the kids who are outside of school, in the community and doing the drugs and alcohol,” said 16-year-old Cassidy Hyde. “But there are more of us in school, doing the right thing that people don’t see. There are more of us than them.”

Cassidy said she enjoys school and likes to help her community. She is a member of Link Crew, Key Club and will soon be inducted into the National Honor Society at Elyria High School.

“I don’t do drugs and alcohol,” she said. “My friends don’t do drugs and alcohol.”

Several students echoed Cassidy’s sentiments, saying they aren’t among the small, yet significant, number of teenagers who do use drugs and participate in high-risk behaviors.

Elyria High School Principal Thomas Jama speaks at the "We Are the Majority" rally Wednesday.

Elyria High School Principal Thomas Jama speaks at the “We Are the Majority” rally Wednesday.

“Countywide, statistics say between 20 and 30 percent of teens are using drugs and self-report anonymously that they are,” said Joel Reichlin, associate director of education and prevention for Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, which handles programming for 30 schools across the county. “We are dealing with the worst heroin epidemic we have seen in years, but when you look at the numbers, the majority still rules.”

“Sometimes saying no to drugs and alcohol comes down to making a simple decision,” said Ja’ Quetta Davis, a senior at Elyria High.

The 18-year-old served as the event’s mistress of ceremonies and said her decision to stay drug-free started in elementary school.

“No on told me not to do drugs or alcohol,” Davis said. “But I took D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) in school and learned enough to say it wasn’t for me. They taught me what drugs can do to your body and how drugs destroy your community.”

Darrell Shumpert, coordinator of the Teen Institute of Lorain County, said the goal is to spread the word that no teen needs drugs, alcohol or high-risk behavior to be cool or fit in.

The local event was coordinated by a group of 26 high school students. They hope to continue their campaign to raise awareness, said Vivian Tran of Brookside High School.

Next stop: A radio spot on WOBL-AM-1320.

“We don’t want this to stop,” Tran said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.


  • SniperFire

    Notice anything particular about all of those kids?

    • Mark B

      Good catch , but you are risking being called out for being racist !

      • SniperFire

        Oh, I meant that they were all wearing teamwork t-shirts but, yowzers, now that you mention it, why isn’t everyone represented here?

        • Sis Delish

          The C-T photoshop staffer had a sick-day?

          • SniperFire

            Somebody should do some investigative reporting on this. Why weren’t ALL Elyria kids given the chance to participate in a rally which says children should not get stoned on drugs and booze?

          • Sis Delish

            Something to do with reading skills?

    • Pablo Jones

      Some of them look stoned.

  • Sis Delish

    Should be a follow-up study on each in four years, after they’ve been to a more expensive educational facility… other than than, congratulations to all who participated.

  • Nick Noneya

    There were other photos.

  • SniperFire

    When these kids grow up, they are the ones who will be responsible for paying the social costs of the kids not at the rally.

    • Jamie

      What an ignorant thing to say.

      • SniperFire

        Don’t argue with math, Jamie. You will lose.

        • Jamie

          Again, with the ignorance.

  • djskagnetti

    Good job, kids! Never smoke reefers because all reefer addicts know how to do is rape, murder and commit crimes of pedophilia.

    • SniperFire

      That’s called bifurcation logical fallacy. look it up.

      It is used in argument when a person is completely defeated.

      • djskagnetti

        I don’t know what this has to do with marijuanas being the most evil substance on the planet.

  • SniperFire

    The print edition says ‘The Majority Speaks.’

    Got irony?

  • guest

    Those avon lake kids look oriental. Must be children of doctors.

  • avonohio

    They must be from Avon Lake, they cant keep their mouths shut.