D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a collaborative effort by DARE certified law enforcement officers, educators, students, parents, and community to offer an educational program in the classroom to prevent or reduce drug abuse and violence among children and youth. The emphasis of the Officer's Guide to D.A.R.E. to Resist Drugs and Violence, Student Workbook, Grades 5-6, is to help students recognize and resist the many direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, or other drugs or to engage in violence.
The DARE program offers preventive strategies to enhance those protective factors-especially bonding to the family, school, and community-which appear to foster the development of resiliency in young people who may be a risk for substance abuse or other problem behaviors. Researchers have identified certain protective and social bonding factors in the family, school, and community which may foster resiliency in young people, in other words, the capacity of young people for healthy, independent growth in spite of adverse conditions. These strategies focus on the development of social competence, communications skills, self-esteem, empathy, decision making, conflict resolution, sense of purpose and independence, and positive alternative activities to drug abuse and other destructive behaviors.
The program content for Elementary DARE is organized into seventeen 45- to 60-minute lessons to be taught by a law enforcement officer with suggested extended activities to be integrated into other instruction by the classroom teacher. A specially trained officer is assigned to the school one day a week for one semester to conduct weekly lessons in grades 5 or 6. Suggested extended interdisciplinary activities to be integrated with other subjects as time permits are listed in the publication titled D.A.R.E. Instructional Activity Guide for Teachers, Grades 5-6. Student participation in the DARE program may be incorporated as an integral part of the school's curricular offering in health, science, social studies, language arts, or other subject(s) as appropriate. The classroom teacher should maintain a supportive role in classroom management while the officer is teaching and should incorporate DARE program participation by students as an integral part of the student's final evaluation
The DARE curriculum for middle/junior high school was developed by the Los Angeles Unified School District for use by law enforcement officers/deputies and educators to reduce drug abuse and violence among youth in their early teens. The emphasis of D.A.R.E. to Be Safe and Free From Drugs and Violence is to provide or reinforce the information and skills to enable students to resist pressure and other influences in making their personal choices. In addition, the lessons focus on helping students to manage their feelings of anger and resolve conflicts without causing harm to themselves or others and without resorting to violence or the use of alcohol and drugs. Continuing emphasis is also directed toward helping students develop the skills and qualities needed to achieve good character and citizenship.
From an administrative point of view, this instructional guide has been designed to assist school district administrators and teachers in working cooperatively with their law enforcement agencies in the planning and implementation of a program of drug abuse resistance education and violence prevention for students in middle/junior high school.
The instruction consist of a series of ten lessons on social skills and violence prevention strategies to be taught cooperatively by the officer/deputy and the classroom teacher. The lessons and activities were designed to be implemented as an instructional block of ten days in a required course, such as health science, social studies, or some other appropriate academic subject. The classroom teacher should maintain a supportive role in classroom management while the officer is teaching and should incorporate DARE participation by students as an integral part of the students' final evaluation.
The use of sworn, street-experienced, trained law enforcement officers/deputies has proven to be a highly effective strategy in helping provide credible education for students in drug abuse, violence, and gang prevention. It is a credibility that narrows the discrepancy between the relevancy of information being imparted in the classroom and the reality of what is happening in the "real world.
Cpl. Kim Lowden
Morehouse Parish Sheriff's Office
Sgt. Sarah Coleman
Bastrop Police Dept.