Red Ribbon Week starts Monday, and Coppell ISD is using the time to raise awareness and provide education on alcohol, tobacco and other drug use prevention.
According to the district, the National Red Ribbon Campaign began in 1985 in response to the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarena in Mexico.
Jennifer Villines, director of student and staff services, said this is a week where the entire district is united with the same message and is encouraging all students pre-K through 12th grade to participate in the national theme to promote awareness. This year’s theme is “Send a message. Stay drug free,” she said.
“Living a drug-free life benefits every student and our community,” Villines said. “When our students have the facts and knowledge of drugs, alcohol and bullying, and they feel comfortable knowing the many ways to say ‘no’ and combat peer pressure, this is a proactive learning opportunity. Starting at young ages, this knowledge and awareness can help prevent abuse of drugs and bullying in the future.”
Villines said red ribbon events vary from campus to campus and include activities like walks/parades, school assemblies, lessons on drug use and abuse, dress-up days and more. The Coppell Police Department partners with the district and provides red ribbons for students at elementary campuses. This year, the district will be implementing a smoking prevention program for fifth-grade students that will occur throughout the school year.
“We believe that drug prevention does not occur in a single week but should be taught year round in Coppell ISD,” Villines said. “We have specific curriculum that our counselors guide students through in order to arm them with the intellect to deflect peer pressure and drug use.”
Villines said drug abuse does not reside in one zip code or neighborhood. She encourages parents to know and monitor where their children are going physically and electronically.
“Drug dealers are about their 'bottom line,' making money,” Villines said. “They don't care about you or our children. We all – students, teachers, staff, parents and community – need to work together to keep our kids safe.”