Select Page

For Small, left, this is the first year teaching a D.A.R.E. program, while Robertson, right, has been doing it for eight years now.

CANTON — The D.A.R.E. program has been around for a long time, but for local police departments like Canton’s, the name of the game is evolution.

Currently teaching the program at Meadowbrook and North Canton Elementary Schools is Det. William Small and Officer Jennifer Robertson, who is also a patrol shift supervisor. Chief Shawn Gaddis has long been a supporter of the program.

“We’ve had the D.A.R.E. program as long as we can remember,” he said.

The 10-week program is taught to all fifth graders at the two elementary schools, an age officers believe is when peer pressure begins kicking into high gear. Since Small and Robertson were kids in the program, things have changed.

“It used to be nothing but facts and telling kids why drugs are bad, now it’s more strategies and the program has evolved as the drug problem has evolved,” Small said.

Specifically, the class now focuses much more heavily on decision making and offering strategies for kids to deal with tough situations.

“They have a whole lesson on eye contact and body language,” Small said.

Although this is Small’s first time teaching the classes, Robertson has been doing it for eight years, dating back to when she worked for the Hendersonville Police Department. She noted that although some kids can be more difficult than others to reach, the extra duty is rewarding.

“I say just please be respectful and listen to me,” she said, adding that most kids are responsive to the lessons.

Small said a new part of the lesson plan is a focus on opioids, which often can be found in many a household medicine cabinet.

“We’re trying to be proactive on that issue and not just always reactive,” he said.

Both Small and Robertson said that they are usually impressed by just how much the children absorb from the class, both noting that the quietest kids in the classes often retain the most knowledge.

“They’re very smart,” Small said. “They know a lot more than people give them credit for.”

Gaddis wanted people to know that his department takes the program seriously. It’s about prevention.

“The D.A.R.E. program is just as important as patrol and criminal investigations,” he said.

He also talked about how proud he is of the officers who dedicate several hours every week to preparing and executing lesson plans for multiple classes each of the 10 weeks.

“I want to commend both Jen and Will,” Gaddis said. “Jen has to work as a patrol supervisor, will as an investigator. They took on this added role with the D.A.R.E. program which shows their commitment.”

From The Mountaineer

HMS Fifth Graders Celebrate D.A.R.E. Program

Hayesville’s fifth graders celebrate completion of the D.A.R.E. program designed to prevent young people from abusing drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Hayesville Middle School fifth grade students participated in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. D.A.R.E. is a...

Rocky River Elementary Celebrates D.A.R.E. Graduation

Rocky River Elementary School and the Concord Police Department recently celebrated the graduation of 5th grade students from the D.A.R.E. Program. During the ceremony all graduating students received a graduation certificate, and some students received medals for...

D.A.R.E. To Be Great: Marion Fifth Graders Complete 10-week Program

Marion Elementary fifth graders completed 10 weeks of D.A.R.E. taught by School Resource Officer Michael Hensely of the Marion Police Department. Marion Elementary fifth graders graduated with the knowledge to make good choices with lessons they learned from Drug...

January 2019 KARE Donation to Ronald McDonald House

Because of you, families are embraced in a community of love, a home away from home, while their children fight big battles. Thank you for keeping families close. Thank you for your generous donation. Thank you for your love…

‘D.A.R.E.’ Program Revamped to Tackle Opioid Abuse

WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Drug education programs in schools used to involve just illegal drugs, but with today's opioid crisis, that list must now include legally prescribed but highly addictive medications. In 2015, Wake County Public Schools replaced D.A.R.E. with...

Eastfield Students Graduate D.A.R.E.

Four classes of fifth graders at Eastfield Global Magnet School graduated the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program taught by Officer Michael Hensley. The students were on the brink of getting cupcakes and punch, and a group picture was just not in the...

Survey: One-Third of High Schoolers Use Tobacco Products

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. -- Nearly one-third of high schoolers in eastern North Carolina use tobacco products, according to a recent release of North Carolina's 2017 Youth Tobacco Survey. Over half of those smokers use e-cigarettes. All Brunswick County fifth graders...

Pitt County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. Event

Deputy Will Judge, Sgt. Clemmie German, Deputy Freda Godley-Hines, Deputy Les Jackson, Deputy Lee Darnell, and Deputy Marcia Perkins as they sing Happy Birthday to a surprised family…


Purchase D.A.R.E. Merchandise & Workbooks