The True Meaning of Red Ribbon Week

Thomas Perez, Staff Writer

During the week of October 24-27, the students of Los Fresnos High School were allowed to dress up in special attire coordinated throughout the week. The process of dressing in special or themed attire is attributed to Drug Prevention Week, but what exactly is the origin and purpose of this specific week? 

Drug Prevention Week, also known as Red Ribbon Week, was originally started in the late 1980’s after the death of Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique Camarena, who was brutally murdered and tortured by drug traffickers he was investigating in Mexico. 

In order to spread awareness about the severity of drugs and the cause that Enrique stood for, members in his hometown of Calexico, California, began to wear red ribbons in his honor. Eventually, the red ribbon movement grew not only in California, but across the nation.

Specifically in our district, the process of dressing up is supposed to help those remember what Red Ribbon Week stands for, however throughout the years that the “dress up” week has been implemented in school, it seems as though many feel that the awareness aspect has been long forgotten.

Janisa Barboza, Vice President of the LFHS Student Council, which organizes the Red Ribbon Week festivities, believes that Red Ribbon Week is crucial to spreading the awareness of drugs. However, she also believes that turning it into a fun week may not be the best approach to spread awareness.

“It’s fun to dress up, but it seems as though it contradicts the message sometimes,” Barboza said. 

Counselor LeeAnn Barreda believes that Red Ribbon Week is important and is hopeful that students will actually learn from the message while also participating in festivities.

“I hope they give it some thought, rather than just dress up,” Barreda said.

Although many students have forgotten about the true importance of Drug Prevention Week, the message of Red Ribbon Week does not come down to the celebrations, but instead, rests solely on the ideologies of students, teachers, and administrators, alike.