Fences are decorated, ribbons are hung, bracelets passed out and Oakdale Joint Unified School District has once again embraced Red Ribbon Week. The annual event is held nationally every year during the last full week of October. The 2015 Red Ribbon Week runs from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30.
The tradition of Red Ribbon Week began informally in 1985 following the death of Enrique (Kiki) Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent. Camarena was murdered in February of that year, he was 37. His body was found one month following a kidnapping which was a result of his efforts to stop the drug trade in Guadalajara, Mexico.
It is reported that prior to becoming an agent Camarena’s mother had asked him not to pursue drug enforcement as a career, to which he shared, he ‘wanted to make a difference.’
Following his death friends and neighbors began wearing red badges of satin to honor the agent. Parents who were tired of the destruction of alcohol and drugs began forming coalitions.
In 1988 National Family Partnership (formerly National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth) sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration. Today, while millions pay tribute to Camarena, the Red Ribbon Week serves as a catalyst to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.
Oakdale schools will host a number of events districtwide tailored to meet the educational awareness by grade level and site.
Theme days are being observed, such as Cloverland’s Decade Day stating “Don’t get ‘schooled’ - drugs have never been cool”; Fair Oaks “Give Drugs the Boot” western theme day or Magnolia and Sierra View’s “Sock it to Drugs” crazy sock day.
Secondary school sites, Oakdale Junior High and Oakdale High School will also host events, as well as rallies throughout the week to involve the students at those campuses.