QLE Commits to RAT

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QLE Principal Amanda Allen asked the room full of elementary students, “Who’s going to reject all tobacco?” The children raised their hands in unison. They had been educated on the harmful effects of tobacco use and were pledging to spread the word.

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It was the members of RAT, or Reject All Tobacco, troupe who through song, dance, and conversations with an animated rat named Terrrance, conveyed the message of what happens to people who use tobacco. All forms of tobacco are bad, and the kids heard that the rotten leaves laced with chemicals would turn their lungs black, makes their breath smell bad, rot their teeth, and turn them into a nicotine zombie.

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It was serious, and when the students were asked questions about what they learned, it was obvious that they were listening.

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What RAT hopes to do is reach the children before they would even try tobacco. With a 2013 CDC report showing 15.7 percent of high school students saying that they had smoked at least one cigarette in the past 30 days and a projection of that number increasing to 16 percent in 2020, school administrators, teachers, and school nurses are welcoming the help of organizations such as RAT.

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Equipping our young minds with the knowledge they need to make good, healthy decisions in their lives is the aim of the RAT campaign and Quitman School District. Many thanks go out to the RAT troupe, it’s organizers, and our school nurses Donnis Harris and Heather Sumrall.