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 DARE 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 appears to foster the development of resiliency in young people who may be at 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, communication 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 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. 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.
Sergeant Tom Madden is the Dormont Police Department’s D.A.R.E. officer.
For more information on D.A.R.E. please visit http://www.dare.com/.