COSTA MESA — Many of the 600 Costa Mesa Middle School students wore red shirts Thursday in recognition of Red Ribbon Week, an anti-drug movement born in the Just Say No 1980s.
The annual demonstration fell days before voters will decide on Proposition 19, which would decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults older than 21.
"They can legalize it," said Nabeel Salamen, 12, a seventh-grader, "but it's going to be people's choice then to [make] their life worse."
The middle schoolers said they've been taught about the pitfalls of drug abuse.
Hanna Filner, 12, a seventh-grader, cringed at the thought of her healthy lungs turning black, as they were in the photographs that were brought into the classroom.
And Kelsi Kusman, another seventh-grader, said she has seen commercials and videos on methamphetamine addicts who "shake" and "look crazy."
"Drugs are bad for you," she said. "It's just a bad idea. We're never going to do it."