Webster Parish Schools began observing Red Ribbon Week today and will continue until October 28.
According to information provided by Ursula Hullaby, case manager for the Webster Parish School Board, Red Ribbon week was organized in 1988 to honor Agent Camarena's memory and families like his, and to unite Americans in support of a drug-free world.
"In February 1985, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique Camarena was kidnapped, tortured, and killed by drug traffickers in Mexico, bringing drug-related tragedy to one more American family," Hullaby said. "His death prompted many school students to wear red ribbons in his memory."
During the week of October 22, millions of young people and adults will show their commitment to safe and healthy families and communities by wearing and displaying red ribbons.
"This year Webster Parish's theme is 'Life is a Journey – Travel Drug Free,'" Hullbay said. "This theme is a reminder for our youth to resist alcohol, drug and tobacco use. Preventing substance abuse works best when it is comprehensive – when youth receive clear and consistent messages from all influences in their lives: family, neighborhood, school, and community."
Several public entities and service clubs are showing their support by proclaiming this week as Red Ribbon Week.
"Schools have activities and events scheduled for Red Ribbon Week and we are asking the community as a whole to encourage our students next week," Hullaby said. "When parents, educators, law enforcement, faith organizations, and community members unite in opposing illicit drugs, young people are much less likely to engage in drug use,
"Red Ribbon Week alone cannot solve our country's drug problem, but it can raise awareness and encourage participation in drug-free activities," Hullaby continued. "Red Ribbon Week is one tool in a continuation of prevention activities, and provides an excellent opportunity to focus on school and community-based prevention efforts."
Hullaby said there are six strategies for parents to help children and adolescents avoid alcohol and drugs:
n Establish and maintain good communication with your child
n Get involved and stay involved in your child's life.
n Make clear rules and enforce them with consistency and appropriate consequences.
n Be a positive role model. Do not use illicit drugs or abuse alcohol. If you smoke, make plans to stop.
n Teach your child to choose friends wisely
n Monitor your child's activities – know what your children are doing, where, and with whom.
"Our students are our most precious commodity and they are our future," Hullaby said. "Whenever we are given an opportunity to remind them to make positive choices and to just say no to drugs, alcohol and tobacco we embrace the opportunity and at the same time embrace our students."