Red Ribbon Week is an annual week dedicated to spreading awareness about tobacco, drugs and alcohol in schools throughout the United States. It took place from Tuesday, Oct. 26 through Friday, Oct. 30, and helps students learn about drug prevention and the dangers of substance use.
Red Ribbon Week was first created when drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered DEA agent Kiki Camarena in 1985. Since then, schools have started teaching their students the hazards of using drugs. The death of Camerina has led to many people honoring his reputation in ways such as wearing red ribbons, participating in community events and educating students with fun approaches such as class presentations, drawing activities and week dress-up days.
Due to school being virtual this year, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Red Ribbon Week saw a few changes from previous years.
“We usually create a chain of life that hangs in the cafeteria where students write their name on a red piece of paper, committing to make wise choices and not drink and drive or get into a car with anyone under the influence and to make responsible decisions,” peer counseling teacher Laura Rountree said.
Students later link the papers together and place them in different places in the cafeteria. Due to COVID-19, they have shifted the accessibility of these activities to Canvas.
“Instead, the county provided modules in Canvas to share with the teachers to use with their students,” Rountree said.
This method of teaching students about the dangers and damaging effects of substance usage is meant to keep students safe when they enter into the world.
Although certain activities have been canceled due to safety concerns, MSD students and staff were told to wear the color red in celebration of Red Ribbon Week on Friday, Oct. 30.
In addition to the modules being available on Canvas, some teachers took the week as an opportunity to discuss the topics of Red Ribbon Week with their students.
“I didn’t participate but my teachers talked about it a little,” freshman Sachi Parmar said. “They also talked about prevention of addiction.”
Parmar says that her teachers explained how the drugs could affect them and how they are not cool to do. However, not all students had the opportunity to learn more about these topics.
“None of them have talked about it and I haven’t participated,” freshman Nick Montenegro said.
Although there were not many participants this year, peer counseling students were still able to learn the meaning behind Red Ribbon Week and help educate other students about its significance.