Each October schools across America take part in teaching the importance of a drug-free life by having students participate in drug prevention activities through resources provided by the National Family Partnership’s Red Ribbon Campaign.
This year, Red Ribbon Week is Oct. 23-31 and local schools have partnered with their community police departments to join students in the discussion about drugs and other substances, and take a visible stand against drugs by wearing a red ribbon.
Chief of Police Josh Nelson with the Tioga Police Department said they will be going into the Tioga elementary school on Oct. 26 to have a discussion on how to say no to drugs, vaping and smoking and talk about anti-bullying information. The department recently got a new narcotics dog, but they will unfortunately be in training that day. In the future, Nelson hopes to have the dog participate in Red Ribbon Week activities.
In Williston, Elementary School Resource Officer JP McClellen will be going into the Williston Middle School Central Campus to give a presentation to the fifth and sixth graders. He will talk on being drug and bully free, as October is also Anti Bullying Awareness month. The counselors at the elementary schools plan Red Ribbon Week activities and the police department will hand out red ribbons to all students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Raffle prizes will be given out throughout the week.
The NFP was established in 1980 as a grassroots, nonprofit organization by concerned parents who wanted to aid in drug prevention. The National Red Ribbon Campaign, as it is known today, began in response to the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarena in 1985. Camarena, who had committed his life to eradicating illegal drugs, was abducted, tortured and killed in Mexico where he had been on the tail of some of the country’s biggest cocaine and marijuana traffickers.
In honor of his memory and battle against drugs, his community began wearing red badges and launched Camarena Clubs in his hometown in California where they wore red ribbons and pledged to lead a drug-free life. The club was presented to First Lady Nancy Reagan, where it gained national recognition, and other states began promoting red ribbons.
The NFP formalized the club in 1988 with President and Mrs. Reagan as honorary chairpersons. Today, across America, Red Ribbon Week serves as a catalyst to show intolerance of drugs in the workplace, schools and communities.
More information on the Red Ribbon Campaign, resources on drug prevention education and ways for communities to get involved can be found at redribbon.org.