Red Ribbon Week

O. T. Bonner Middle School celebrated Red Ribbon Week during the week of October 25-29. Red Ribbon Week is observed to bring people together to raise awareness regarding the need for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and violence prevention.

Red Ribbon Week began after the kidnapping and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. Agent Camarena had been working undercover in Mexico for over four years. His efforts led to a tip that resulted in the discovery of a multimillion dollar narcotics manufacturing operation. The successful eradication of this and other drug production operations angered leaders of several drug cartels who sought revenge. On February 7, 1985, Agent Camarena was kidnapped and subsequently murdered. This event exposed the dark world of drug trafficking and how far drug traffickers would go to maintain power and control.

In Agent Camarena’s hometown in Calexico, California, the public outpouring of support turned into an organized community response in which citizens wore red ribbons. They became a voice for prevention in order to reduce the demand for illegal drugs and illegal use of legal drugs in America. The following year, the California PTA adopted the Red Ribbon Week Campaign. Then, in 1988, Red Ribbon Week was recognized nationally by President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan. Today, Red Ribbon Week is the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States.

Bonner observed Red Ribbon Week with several activities. On Monday, a student gave a brief description of why we celebrate RED Ribbon Week during the morning announcements. On Tuesday, students wore their favorite team shirt to show support and to team up against drugs. On Wednesday the guidance department handed out red candy during lunch. During the exploratory periods on Thursday, guest speakers were in the auditorium to discuss the impacts of drugs in the community. Representatives from law enforcement, mental health, and the medical field were on hand to hold discussions and answer students’ questions. On Friday, the guidance counselors handed out “Drug Free” stickers.