San Diego Superior Court Judge Enrique Camarena has a special history with the Chula Vista Elementary School District. When Judge Camarena was just 11 years old, his father, Enrique E. Camarena, Sr. was kidnapped and murdered by drug traffickers in Mexico in 1985. Camarena Sr. was working for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. His father always wanted to be a police officer to make a difference in the world.
The murder sparked international outrage, and out of that was born Red Ribbon Week®, the National Family Partnership’s Anti-Drug Campaign. The “War on Drugs” and Camarena Sr’s death has inspired thousands of students in the U.S. throughout the years to pledge to live drug-free lives, and that legacy is important to Judge Camarena who said, “Red Ribbon Week is extremely important to me because it was started, it was influenced, by my dad’s death. It is something very positive that came out of something very negative. It is celebrated by hundreds of millions of people across the world now.”
In 2012 Chula Vista Elementary School District was opening school #45. Camarena Jr., who was a Chula Vista resident and local prosecutor at the time, appeared before the Board of Education and gave a passionate speech about honoring his father by naming the school after him. The Board unanimously made the decision.
Now that Camarena Jr. is a Superior Court Judge, he doesn’t have as much time to make visits to Camarena Elementary School and others in CVESD, but he does what he can to honor his father’s legacy. This year, Judge Camarena took part in a brief Red Ribbon Week promotional videoto share with students because the anti-drug campaign is as relevant today as it was during his father’s time with the DEA.
“I think every student should know that whatever you put into your body has an effect on your body,” Judge Camarena said. “There are a lot of things that have a bad effect on your body. Right now, we want all students to make healthy choices, good choices for their lives. Staying away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco at this stage of their lives is one of the most important things they can do.”
About Chula Vista Elementary School District
Founded in 1892 in southern San Diego County, California, the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) has 49 elementary schools, including charters, that are committed to ensuring a safe, challenging, and nurturing educational experience, where learning is valued and student growth and development inform instructional practices. The CVESD community is dedicated to providing youth with the support, resources, and guided experiences they need to actively explore the world around them. At CVESD, our mission is to nurture every child’s imagination, intellect, and sense of inquiry. Our motto is, Each Child is an Individual of Great Worth.