Monday, Oct. 24 will mark the start of the Red Ribbon Week, nationally observed each year. The national theme for this year’s event is “YOLO. Be Drug Free.” The popularly used acronym YOLO stands for “You Only Live Once.” Each of the OJUSD school sites has developed a plan for daily Red Ribbon Week activities around the theme.
The tradition of RRW 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 serves as a catalyst to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.
Oakdale schools will host a number of events district wide tailored to meet the educational awareness by grade level and site.
Theme days continue to be popular at the elementary schools, as well as pledges to stay drug free and dress up days.
Secondary school sites, Oakdale Junior High and Oakdale High School will also host events, as well as rallies throughout the week to involve the student bodies.