Video by Lauren Louis
To fight drug abuse, the Coppell School District participates in Red Ribbon Week in October each year to encourage students to recognize this severe problem and take part in preventing it.
Coppell schools involve students in Red Ribbon Week through clubs and theme days. On theme days, students dress up to show their support for staying drug free.
This year at Coppell High School, Monday’s theme was “the life you save could be yours” as students dressed up as super heroes. Tuesday was “nerd day” because Coppell is “too smart for drugs.” The rest of the theme days consist of “twin day,” “sport team jersey day” and “red out” on Friday. It’s all in good fun, but it conveys a very serious message to students.
Students and teachers alike have taken initiative to stop drug abuse problems at Coppell High School. One such student is senior Sarah Hillier.
“I am a member of SADD and I have friends who have been influenced by drugs so I know how bad it is. We need to stand against it,” Hillier said.
Red Ribbon Week was started in 1988 by close friends of murdered police officer, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. He was killed in Mexico while on the verge of cracking a drug investigation. Other officers honored his memory by wearing red ribbons. Currently it is the nation’s largest, and oldest, drug prevention campaign with an estimated 80 million people participating yearly. The goal is to teach communities about the dangers of using illegal drugs such as marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, meth, cocaine, and other hallucinogens and inhalants and their consequences. By wearing a red ribbon, people are making the pledge to remain drug free.
“Red Ribbon week is important because we get people to be drug free and get people to avoid drugs and just live their life,” sophomore John Vouhg said.
While Red Ribbon Week doesn’t typically cause drug-abusing teens to just stop, it does encourage students to discuss drug related problems that may not generally make their way into every-day conversation.
“I think the reason Red Ribbon week is important is because it opens the table for conversations that don’t normally happen,” substitute teacher Rhoda Hahn said, decked out in her batman mask and cape for super hero day.
While some students have not had serious encounters with drugs, it is not as distant a problem from CHS as some may think. Coppell Middle School principal East Laura Springer addressed students in a video shown during SPUR class. She told the story of her drug addiction in her youth and how she’d pledged to live a drug free life with the help of loving foster parents.
“Before I watched the video I had a lot of respect for Mrs. Springer…and after I heard her story I had so much more respect for her,” sophomore Ashlyn Gonzales said.
Springer went on to encourage students to lead a drug free life for themselves.
“It was a little bit of a shock at first when I heard that she had those problems but I just thought it was completely amazing how she was able to pull through and live a completely amazing life,” freshman Zachary Welke said.