Students honor Red Ribbon Week
In collaboration with schools around the country, Washington Middle School is saying no to drugs. The school is participating in an event known as “Red Ribbon Week,” which is dedicated to teaching kids about the dangers of drugs and how to stand up to them.
The school has taken a fun approach to Red Ribbon Week, turning each day of the week into a special dress-up day. Monday’s theme was “We’re red-y to be drug free,” so the students were asked to wear red.
Tuesday was “Sock it to drugs” and the students were encouraged to wear crazy-colored socks. Wednesday’s theme was “Team up against drugs.” The students wore their Demon gear to class today, which nicely coincides with their show of support for the high school football team, who hosts a playoff game tonight.
The students will be allowed to wear a hat on Thursday, when the theme is “Put a cap on drugs.” The school has also placed banners around the building to encourage the students to be drug-free and to make good choices.
Rachel Meyer is co-councilor to the student body along with Connie Hoffman-Svenby. She said the middle school has participated in Red Ribbon Week at least as long as she has been there, which is 12 years.
According to the Web site <redribbon.org>, the connection between red ribbons and drug prevention began in 1985 in response to the murder of DEA Agent, Enrique Camarena, in Mexico City. Parents and children began wearing red ribbons as a sign of their opposition to drugs, and within three years the National Family Partnership was sponsoring a National Red Ribbon Celebration.
Meyer said the schools do a good job of educating kids about drugs and letting them know there are better choices in life. She mentioned another successful program the school puts on called “Operation Snowflake,” which encourages students to turn away from substance abuse and other bad behaviors.
Meyer said that what makes the students get involved is to see their teachers involved, too.
“Being positive role models is really the best thing we can do,” she said.
She said adolescents are bombarded with so many things, including pressure to do drugs.
“Students are being exposed to negative influences much earlier,” she said. “It’s definitely important to address these issues now. We hope that the more they hear about it, the better chance we’ll have at deterring them from making bad choices.”
Eighth-grader Lindsay Hippen, daughter of Chad and Joan Hippen, said the students talk about saying no to drugs in their “Connections” class, which meets after school on early-out days.
“We meet for 15 to 20 minutes,” she said. “We talk about what to do about bullying and how to say no to drugs.”
Hippen said she knows of students who have been pressured to take drugs.
“I also know that they have said no to drugs,” she said. “I think drug use is a problem for some people but not for all people.”
According to redribbon.org, National Family Partnership, formerly the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth, was established as a grassroots organization in 1980 by concerned and parents who were convinced they should begin to play a leadership role in drug prevention. Nancy Reagan was an Honorary Chair of NFP. Since its founding thirty years ago, NFP has devoted its efforts to the well-being of youth. Today, NFP is a national leader in drug prevention education & advocacy. Its mission is to lead and support the nation’s families and communities in nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug free youth.