Red Ribbon Week

Blog · Sep 08, 2020

Celebrating Red Ribbon Week is an important ritual for students, staff, and parents alike. Each year during the week of October 23-31st, we raise awareness of the benefits of committing to a stronger and happier community by choosing to live positive, drug-free lives. Whether your school is practicing distance learning, or you’re back on campus this fall, a renewed commitment to drug-free living can unite and bond the entire campus. Red Ribbon Week is a time for parents, teachers, school counselors, and administrators to encourage children to live healthy, substance-free lives, set positive goals and make good decisions. It is also marks an opportunity to celebrate and thank those who work so hard to keep our communities drug free.

There have been many changes over the past several months, and we’ve all needed to adapt and tap into our resiliency as a result. The typical ‘first day of school’ jitters have been amplified by new ways to ‘go to school’ with remote learning, social distancing protocols, and uncertainty about what the future holds. Students may not be able to play the same sports or rejoin the school choir until later in the year. With so much changing at once, students are looking to schools and teachers for a sense of consistency and are eager to participate in annual traditions. There is much we can do to commemorate Red Ribbon Week and renew our commitments to healthy living this year. Many of the activities we typically include in Red Ribbon Week planning are still possible in distance learning environments, and can bolster your school’s sense of community and commitment to healthy living.


Plan your morning announcement messages and parent messages, and consider adding Red Ribbon Week materials to the packets that are going home to students.


Add Red Ribbon Week to the school schedule now to start building momentum for this important annual event. Let teachers and staff know the schedule and theme to encourage participation. Plan your morning announcement messages and parent messages, and consider adding Red Ribbon Week materials to the packets that are going home to students. Plan to hold a contest to celebrate the week, and to announce a winner during your Friday gatherings, whether they be in person or virtual. Consider adding these remote-friendly activities to your Red Ribbon Week plans:

  • Record and schedule a message to parents the week before October 23rd and then again on October 23rd. Red Ribbon Week is most effective in preventing substance abuse with parent involvement
  • Ask students, staff and parents to wear a red ribbon or a red shirt on a specific day of the week
  • Request that students either create a drawing or a short essay on this year’s Red Ribbon Week Theme, “Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free. ™”
  • Ask students to enter the National Red Ribbon Photo Contest at
  • Share your school’s plans and experiences with the campaign at and tag your events and participation with #RedRibbonWeek on your social media channels
  • Schedule a speaker to speak to students about the risks associated with drug use. An easy way to do this is to pre-record a message from an inspiring speaker
  • Encourage students, staff, and parents alike to take the pledge at “Join me in celebrating Red Ribbon Week® (October 23-31). #BeHappyBeBraveBeDrugFree”

However you choose to celebrate Red Ribbon Week this year, we salute and support your renewed commitment to healthy, drug-free living. We can all be happy, be brave, and be drug free together.

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