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Red Ribbon Week Spreads Anti-Drug Message

School district emphasizes importance of sobriety
Photo courtesy of Student Council
At Bradfield Elementary School, seniors Mary Ellen Schoellkopf, Jose Suarez, Ella Dunston, Jackson Heis, Jack True, Whit Basso, Judge Ellis and freshman Martin True pose after meeting with the elementary school students. Members of student council went to different elementary schools in the district to speak about the dangers of drug use. “It’s important to teach healthy habits early so they can use them later in high school,” Heis said.

Red Ribbon Week is a national drug and violence prevention campaign celebrated by the school district by spreading the drug free message by having themed dress up days with creative slogans against drugs. 

The first Red Ribbon Week was celebrated in 1988 and the school has been celebrating ever since. It was first started in 1985 when Enrique Camarena, an intelligence officer for the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration, was kidnapped and murdered by drug traffickers. Friends and family of Camarena started to wear red ribbons in honor of him. 

Drugs and alcohol are prevalent in our community and I think it’s important to address that fact and not to hide from it.

— John Hinton

The National Family Partnership sponsored the first National Red Ribbon celebration in 1988 to spread awareness and drug prevention towards the youth. 

Now, Red Ribbon Week is a national drug and violence prevention campaign celebrated by many across the country. Student Council sponsor John Hinton thinks that it is important that our school participates in Red Ribbon Week.

“The main message [of Red Ribbon week] is to encourage youth and everyone to make good, healthy decisions,” Hinton said. “Obviously that means avoiding any dangerous substance like drugs, alcohol, tobacco, vaping, anything like that,”

The Student Council spread the message by going to the five elementary schools in the district and talking to third and fourth graders about making healthy choices and how to avoid peer pressure. Sophomore Claire Hamilton thinks that this idea was understood and embraced by the elementary schoolers.

“I have little siblings and they got really excited about dressing up,” Hamilton said.

At the high school, the dress up themes were “sock it to drugs” where students wore crazy socks, “my future is too bright for drugs” where students wore neon, “team up against drugs” where students wore a jersey, “put a cap on drugs” where students wore a hat and “proud to be drug free” where students wore school spirit.

Hinton predicted that the day people will dress up the most is jersey day. 

“I think most people get into jersey day because most people like showing their support for their team,” Hinton said.

Student Council Executive President Jackson Heis said that he was excited for hat day.

“I’m most excited for [putting] a “cap on drugs”[or] the hat day because I came up with that one,” Heis said.

If students are struggling with any kind of drug abuse, Hinton thinks it is valuable to educate students on the dangers of drugs in hopes of encouraging them to get support or help.

 “Drugs and alcohol are prevalent in our community and I think it’s important to address that fact and not to hide from it,” Hinton said.

Heis also agrees that it is beneficial that our school celebrates Red Ribbon Week.

“I think it’s important that our school participates and creates an environment of happy life, reassuring kids that they don’t have to turn to drugs to make themselves feel better,” Heis said.

Because drugs can be any kind of substance or medicine that has a physiological effect on one’s body, this means that substance abuse is not limited to pills or injections. 

“I think our biggest drug problem is with alcohol and alcohol is a drug, so I think we do have a big problem,” Hinton said.

Heis states that a lot of substance abuse does not happen in public, so it’s important to reiterate messages of drug prevention at school.

“I know we don’t see a lot of what’s happening behind closed doors, so we just want to make sure that everything is alright,” he said.

Heis emphasizes the need to be aware of one another’s needs and to take action if they are struggling.

“Support one another and be there for each other and listen rather than assume,” Heis said.

People who do drugs are typically not in the best mindset to think and reason. Because of this, Hinton emphasizes the need to be an advocate for one’s peers.

“Don’t be a bystander,” he said. “Be someone that is proactive and stands up for what is right as a leader in their friend group and helps their friends make the right choices.”

About the Contributor
Mila Segal
Mila Segal, Designer
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