Hayti, Mo. (KFVS) -The Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E, is a program law enforcement took into classrooms and into the lives of countless young people from the early 80′s to the late 2000′s.
Now at a time when we hear about armed officers protecting students at school, one Heartland county is looking to reboot the D.A.R.E. program to create new bonds with children.
The Pemiscot County Sheriff’s Office and seven school districts in the county are staring a partnership to include the D.A.R.E. program while providing a School Resource Officer (SRO).
There will be two full time D.A.R.E. Officers (deputies) who will teach the program at all the school districts and provide security to the districts along with two other SROs.
Pemiscot County D.A.R.E. Officer Anthony Dale said times have changed at schools and so has the prevention program.
“Back in the day we focused on solely on the problem and not the source of the problem,” said Dale.
According to the D.A.R.E. website, the program started implementing the ‘keepin’ it REAL’ curricula. The style promotes students working in small groups to help create individual methods in addressing high-risk situations in their lives.
The program also now addresses over-the-counter drug abuse, internet safety, bullying and role models.
Dale believes in the D.A.R.E program and said it helps children learn about making good choices.
“A lot of times kids will talk to you about their feelings or their personal life, stress , and your able to interact or point them in the right direction,” said Dale.
It is easy to spot the D.A.R.E. officers when they arrive to the schools. They have new wraps on their vehicles identifying them with a large D.A.R.E. logo. The funding for the wraps was paid for through local donations.
A group of fifth graders expressed how much they appreciate the program. “I love it very much."
They said they’ve learned a lot in D.A.R.E. “Not to do drugs or drink or drive and to make good choices."
Some of the youngest students are interacting and getting to know the D.A.R.E. officers and SROs.
“You have to tell the cops your name,, your address and what’s happening,” said some Pre-K students.
The Hayti Senior High School Assistant Principal stands behind the D.A.R.E. program and is glad to have the program available for students.
“I feel like it’s important to start young and by the time their seniors their built in to knowing thing besides just drugs,” he said.
Dale said the program is actually keeping kids out of trouble.“Our incidents county wide has greatly reduced because of our positive interaction,”he said.
The D.A.R.E. program has been active in Pemiscot County for more than 25 years.