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Sergeant Pete Butcher talks to fifth graders at Centennial Elementary about the D.A.R.E. program, which came back to Duchesne County School District this year.

Since 1983, The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program has been a part of young people’s education across the country. After a short absence, the D.A.R.E. program has come back to Duchesne County School District this year. The program is being administered by the Roosevelt Police Department and the Duchesne County Sheriff for students at elementary schools across the district.

Duchesne County Chief Deputy Travis Tucker said Sheriff David Boren used to be a D.A.R.E. instructor and when he became sheriff, he decided to bring it back. The program mainly targets fifth graders, but Tucker said the officers will also spend some time with first and third graders.

“The D.A.R.E. program gives the kids an opportunity to get to know the officers when they’re younger and helps them develop a good opinion of them,” Tucker said. “It’s a good way to develop a relationship, and anytime we can have law enforcement in a positive situation is a good thing.”

The program used to be more focused on resisting drugs and alcohol, but Tucker said it’s changed since it first began and now helps children with decision making, good and bad consequences and bullying. Officers spend an hour a week with the students. The program runs for 10-12 weeks and has already began in Roosevelt schools. Neola, Altamont, Myton, Tabiona, and Duchesne schools will start in early October.

“We are really excited to bring it back and become more involved with the kids,” Tucker said. “It’s nice that we can be available to them and give them someone else to talk with.”

Fifth graders at Centennial Elementary meet with Sergeant Pete Butcher from the Roosevelt PD on Friday mornings. Nicholas White is one of the fifth grade teachers that is participating in the program. He said his students get really excited when they know the officers are coming in to visit them.

“I like that the officer comes and talks to the kids about making good choices. I think that’s something that will benefit them,” White said. “This program seems to fit in with the other curriculum just fine.”

During the hour officers visit the school each week a new lesson is presented and new vocabulary words like consequences and risk are taught to help reinforce the theme for that week. White said his students are enjoying the program and spending time with the officers. And the lessons they are trying to teach the students seems to be taking hold.

“It’s telling you what the positive and negative consequences of doing something,” Centennial Elementary fifth grader Abraham Lopez said. “I’m excited to keep going with the program.”