December 17, 2017

Red Ribbon Week benefits younger students, should be improved at Costa

By Claire DuMont

Opinion Editor

Every October, schools across the United States put on Red Ribbon Week in order to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Formerly, the PACE program put it on at Costa.  However, with the transition of the People Attaining Complete Equality program from a class to a club when their adviser, Rocky Wilson, left in 2015, Costa decided not put on Red Ribbon Week. Although other similar programs have been introduced in past years, the current lack of drug and alcohol awareness directed toward high schoolers should be improved in order to continuously educate students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Before the 2015-16 school year, the PACE class raised awareness and equality for students and held Red Ribbon Week in October for students in MBUSD, according to the Red Ribbon Week organization National Family Partners. The PACE Program also held the Every Fifteen Minutes presentation to bring awareness to the potential dangers caused by drug and alcohol abuse. This program was beneficial and effective, and without it, Costa’s campus lacks efficient programs in order to raise awareness.

According to the Red Ribbon Week organization National Family Partners, the purpose of the National Red Ribbon Campaign is to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol among the youth population, as well as encourage participation in drug prevention.

The Red Ribbon program also strengthened the message  of drug and alcohol awareness to students in younger grades, in part through the creation of a drug-free pact with their peers acccording to National Family Partners.

In past years, PACE members also held an assembly at Manhattan Beach Middle School to extend the outreach and awareness to younger MBUSD students. Without this program, MBMS students will not benefit from outreach or gain information from high school students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Another Red Ribbon Week Program, Every 15 Minute assembly, also held by PACE, was moved to the small theatre when the PACE program was disbanded. Although it is not as much of a prominent event it once was, Costa should still try to organize a presentation similar to Every Fifteen Minutes in order to remind high school students of the possible dangers of drugs and alcohol. Every Fifteen Minutes was effective because students were able to witness the detrimental effects that drunk driving can have not only on the individual, but on the community as a whole.

After the PACE program disbanded in 2015, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District Parent Teacher Association installed the Pass On It program in 2016. In order to continue drug and alcohol awareness, the program focused mainly on encouraging drug prevention through acitivites in the arts. This program expanded the outreach past the awareness of drugs and alcohol to skills for school work and stress.

When Red Ribbon Week ended, Costa lost an annual event the district depended on for educating students on drug and alcohol awareness. It is important to focus on educating younger students in MBUSD on this topic to ensure that the y are thoroughly informed.

While the newly introduced program Pass On It was an effective idea to replace the Red Ribbon Week program, it did not properly execute the original goal for the program or send the desired message. This lack of sucess in the program shows that in order for programs to effectively raise awareness, they should be  directly modeled after Red Ribbon Week and the Every Fifteen Minutes demonstration.

The main purpose of the program to replace Red Ribbon Week was to extend the outreach beyond just one week, according to Manhattan Beach Unified School District. However, since the introduction of Pass On It in 2016, there has been little follow up for the program, and in fact, it has not been continued. In order for these programs to be effective, there needs to be follow up and continuation of the services, especially in the absence of a Red Ribbon Week assembly.

The elimination of Red Ribbon Week at Costa needs to be improved at Costa in order to further educate students on drug and alcohol awareness. It is important to hold the program at Costa, as it is a way to help educate students at Costa as well as students at MBMS in order to ensure students are aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

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