D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It is a drug abuse prevention education program designed to equip elementary, middle, and high school children with knowledge about drug abuse, the consequences of abuse, and skills for resisting peer pressure to experiment with drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles, creating a positive atmosphere for students to interact with uniformed law enforcement officers specially trained to teach this curriculum.
D.A.R.E. lesson plans focus on four major areas:
(1) Providing accurate information about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
(2) Teaching students good decision-making skills.
(3) Showing students how to recognize and resist peer pressure.
(4) Giving students ideas for positive alternatives to drug use.
D.A.R.E. officers work with children to raise their self-esteem, teach them to make decisions on their own, and help them identify positive alternatives to drugs. Through role-playing, the D.A.R.E. curriculum emphasizes the negative consequences of drug use, and reinforces the skills to resist peer pressure and intimidation.
D.A.R.E. is a cooperative effort by law enforcement, school systems, parents, and the community working together to help our children make the right choices concerning drug use. One of the unique features of D.A.R.E. is the use of uniformed police officers as instructors.
The D.A.R.E. curriculum is designed to be taught by police officers whose training and experience give them the background needed to answer the sophisticated questions often posed by students about drugs and crime. Prior to entering the D.A.R.E. program, officers undergo eighty-hours of special training in areas such as child development, classroom management, teaching techniques, and communication skills. D.A.R.E. is reinventing itself as part of a major national research study that promises to help teachers and administrators cope with issues of school violence, budget cuts, and terrorism.
D.A.R.E. is not a scare tactic. D.A.R.E. relies on accurate information and a straight-forward approach. D.A.R.E. officers never encourage students to "turn in" family or friends who may be breaking the law, D.A.R.E. students are taught to say, "someone I know..." when sharing stories; never using real names. D.A.R.E. does not teach drug use methods. Drugs are never taken into a classroom as part of D.A.R.E. instruction.
The United States Department of Justice has identified how D.A.R.E. benefits local communities:
• D.A.R.E. "humanizes" the police: that is, young people can begin to relate to officers as people.
• D.A.R.E. permits students to see officers in a helping role, not just an enforcement role.
• D.A.R.E. opens lines of communication between law enforcement and youth.
• D.A.R.E. officers can serve as conduits to provide information beyond drug-related topics.
• D.A.R.E. opens dialogue between the school, law enforcement, and parents to deal with other issues.
LASALLE PARISH SHERIFF'S D.A.R.E. PROGRAMS
PRE-K - 4TH GRADE PROGRAM
Students in Pre-K to 4th grades participate in the D.A.R.E. visitation program. They are visited by the D.A.R.E. Officer during the school year. The officer speaks to the students about various safety issues ranging from stranger and traffic safety, to drug awareness. The D.A.R.E. Officer starts building a relationship with these young students that will last for years.
5TH GRADE PROGRAM
The LaSalle Parish Sheriff's Office offers the thirteen week program in LaSalle Parish Schools to the 5th grade classes. Students learn:
• Decision making model (define, assess, respond, evaluate)
• Harmful effects of drugs
• The real truth (how advertisers impact youth)
• Nine ways to be in charge
• Peer pressure (positive and negative)
• Taking charge by using confident response styles
• Correcting misconceptions about tobacco and alcohol use
• Avoiding violence
• Bullying prevention
• Conflict resolution
The program also includes visits from local role models and a graduation ceremony. At the graduation ceremony, students make commitments to their parents, teachers, and community that they will stay drug-free.
JUNIOR HIGH PROGRAM
The "Keepin' It Real" Junior High program contains ten lessons, which are presented to 7th graders during the school year. Program components include:
• Preparing students to act decisively in refusing offers to use drugs.
• Helping students recognize risks and avoid drug-related situations.
• Building strong decision-making, communication, planning, and assertive refusal skills.
• Empowering youth to value their own perceptions and feelings and make choices that support drug-free values.
• Promoting interaction between students and teachers.
• Fun activities that involve students in their own learning.
• Offering students the opportunity to act out the "R.E.A.L." Strategies of Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave.
• A five video series produced by youth and based on students' real stories, which are used as a key learning tool.
YOUR D.A.R.E. OFFICER
Deputy Jenny Parker, a D.A.R.E. Certified Officer, has over thirteen years experience teaching both the elementary and junior high D.A.R.E. curriculum. She also has over fifteen years experience as a law enforcement officer in patrol, narcotics, juvenile, and community relations. Currently, she serves as First Vice President of the Louisiana D.A.R.E. Officers Association. Her partner is Daren the Lion, the D.A.R.E. program mascot. He joins Deputy Parker in the classroom as she speaks with students about safety, making wise decisions, and resisting drugs and violence. Daren and Deputy Parker will be visiting students of LaSalle Parish throughout the school year.
Deputy Jenny Parker