Red Ribbon Week is Weak

Farhad Taraporevala, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 23-31) is a week designed to raise awareness about drugs. At the high school level, where it is needed the most, Red Ribbon Week is largely ineffective because it is overlooked and ignored due to students’ busy schedules.

High school students across the nation face an increased problem with drugs.

“Among 10th graders, there was a decrease in the proportion of students who perceive a risk of harm when trying inhalants, powder cocaine, or over-the-counter cough and cold medications once or twice. High school seniors reported reduced perception of harm in occasional cocaine, heroin, and steroid use, and reduced disapproval of trying LSD,” according to research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Dec. 2017.

Red Ribbon Week on campus is not recognized as much as other schools in the district, such as elementary schools where there is an assembly to start or finish the week. If Red Ribbon Week was used as a platform to bring in speakers or to teach a lesson in advisement about the danger of drugs, then students would be more aware of the problems with drug use.

“Red Ribbon Week is ineffective because all we do is get a red band and donate some pennies and that is supposed to be enough for students to become drug-free,” junior Aditya Sasanur said. “I feel like we need to spend more time to talk about the dangers of drugs, and I think it would be a lot more effective.”

If the school wants to do more for Red Ribbon Week, it could start the week with an assembly, bringing in a speaker who could talk about his or her fight with drugs, and throughout the week there could be lessons in advisement or in classes. This could coincide with a cross-curricular project designed to help retain the knowledge gained and be linked to the portfolio project.

“High schools don’t really have a lot of assemblies; it’s a lot more disruptive to the educational environment because you have to modify every single class after that,” principal John Pehrson said.

This busy schedule is one of the biggest problems facing high schools. However, safety comes before academics as drugs affect everyone. Because of a lack of implementation at the high school level, Red Ribbon Week is ineffective and often ignored by students. However, this week is vital to the future of students as it can keep them away from drugs, one of the top safety problems in America.