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Red Ribbon Week adds bully prevention into its progam

By Carolina Astrain
Nov. 3, 2012 at 6:03 a.m.

Zane Ball, 5, left, holds hands with his friend, Teagan Borrego, 5, as they walk around the track at Mission Valley Elementary School during "Mustangs Walk Against Drugs Day," an event associated with Red Ribbon Week. Ball made his "drug-free" T-shirt especially for the event.

RED RIBBON WEEK TIMELINE

July 26, 1947 - Enrique "Kiki" Camarena is born in Mexicali, Mexico.

1974 - Camarena joins the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Feb. 7, 1985 - Five men kidnap Camarena near the American Consulate in Guadalajara, Mexico.

March 5, 1985 - Camarena's tortured and beaten body is found in a ranch outside Zamora, Mexico.

April 20, 1985 - The first "Camarena Club" starts at Calexico Union High School, the agent's alma mater.

June 16, 1985 - Inspired by Camarena's sacrifice, the Virginia Federation of Parents and the Illinois Drug Education Alliance urges all Americans to wear red ribbons to symbolize their commitment to fight drug abuse.

Oct. 28, 1986 - Californians for Drug Free Youth Inc. sponsors the first statewide celebration of Red Ribbon Week.

1988 - Under the leadership of the National Family Partnership, with Nancy Reagan as honorary chairwoman, Congress proclaims the first eight-day Red Ribbon Week.

2012 - Red Ribbon Week occurs in thousands of schools and communities across America.

SOURCES: Red-Ribbon-Week.com, GetSmartAboutDrugs.com

A red stream of students circulated the track at Mission Valley Elementary School. Students paced the pebbled trail wearing red tees in honor of Red Ribbon Week.

The eight-day annual event was nationally recognized by Congress in 1988 in memory of Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was murdered in 1985 while working undercover in Mexico.

LaVerne Teague, a counselor at Mission Valley, said the school started incorporating a 30-minute walk around the track about four years ago.

"We wanted to get an activity to get the parents involved," Teague said. "It's also a good way to keep our bodies fit."

The theme of bullying prevention was also thrown into the mix this year because of the growing number of lawyers interested in taking on bullying cases across the country, Teague said.

In the cafeteria, student signatures covered a banner with a message promising to prevent bullying and drug use among their peers.

"Mid-Coast Family Services donated about 7,000 ribbons to the district," Teague said.

Third-grader Caleb Reinecke, 8, was wearing a red convenience store T-shirt while walking the track with his mother Beth Reinecke.

"He likes Buc-ee's a lot," the mother said. "It's unusual to see our kids in red since our school color is blue."

Caleb said Red Ribbon Week is a good way to keep kids his age away from early drug use.

Every day during Red Ribbon week has a different theme. Caleb's favorite is Crazy Socks day "because you can show that you're brave enough to do something crazy," he said.

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