Select Page

Newport D.A.R.E. Officer Bob Spellman, a 15-year veteran of the department, is also on the community-oriented policing team.

The D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program has been a part of Newport’s educational system for over two decades. Originally designed to complement national drug and alcohol awareness and education policies, D.A.R.E. was aimed at helping young people make sensible and safe decisions about addictive substances.

In recent years, the curriculum has evolved to counter other challenges faced by today’s youths, including physical bullying and cyber-bullying. The program is designed to teach confidence, empathy, healthy decision-making principles, and to foster better communication with teachers and parents. It also helps students manage feelings of anger and aggression, and demonstrates how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence. The dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use are also covered.

Newport police officer Bob Spellman, a 15-year veteran of the department, is Newport’s D.A.R.E. officer and is involved with community-oriented policing. “I’ve been teaching this course at Thompson Middle School and Cluny School for the past four years, and I have personally observed the difference it makes in children’s lives.”

Spellman’s course, taught to seven Thompson fifth-grade classes and one Cluny class, is comprised of 10 lessons lasting 55 minutes each. An animated film is shown to highlight scenarios that students may confront in their lives.

When the sessions first begin, Spellman sometimes notices a reluctance of students to speak up or openly participate, as they may be apprehensive about speaking in front of their peers. Then there is the issue of a police officer conducting the class.

“Some of these kids aren’t too sure if they can speak frankly or openly in front of me,” Spellman said. “Their opinions of police officers may have been shaped by someone who doesn’t trust us. One of the changes we made was to adapt a softer uniform approach with blue polo shirt and khakis. It makes me more approachable than if I was in full uniform.”

Spellman also uses stories of his own life experiences as a youngster and relates them to the topics the students are studying. He uses these examples and his own observations to facilitate discussion. “Once we get going, the feedback from the class is overwhelming. They are grasping the importance of these various issues and seeing how it all applies to their lives at the present time,” Spellman related.

The final segment of the course on bullying on school grounds, whether done physically, socially, or verbally, drew an animated discussion. Spellman told the class about his own experiences with being bullied when he was their age and the effects it had on him. He spoke of incidents which have occurred at southern New England area schools.

“Some young people felt it was all their fault and were afraid to attend school, while others felt that there was no way out of the situation and wanted to hurt themselves, even to the point of committing suicide,” Spellman said. “In a couple of instances over the past few years, victims made ‘hit lists’ and planned to hurt those they felt were responsible for their unending pain.”

This lesson struck home as Spellman detailed the need for empathy for the victim and the need to speak up and report problems to school officials immediately.

The final assignment for participants is to write an essay about their experiences in the D.A.R.E. classes and how they will carry forward what they have learned. The essay will be part of their English class grade.

“We have a great program here in Newport and the cooperation between the teachers, school administrations, and police department is excellent,” Spellman reported.

The students will be feted at a D.A.R.E. Day Celebration on Wednesday, June 15, at King Park from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., marking the end of this year’s program. “We’ll have tug of war, potato sack races, basketball, and other games and pursuits,” Spellman said. “The kids will receive T-shirts and lunch, and we’ll announce the winner of the essay contest.”

How safe is your child’s school?

How safe is your child’s school?

On the surface this is a story about numbers. 22 assaults in Oldham County Schools, 452 drug offenses in Bullitt County, and 67 weapons at Jefferson County Public Schools. When you dig a little deeper, it’s a story about kids and it could be your kid.

Internet Safety is Topic of Parent Presentation

Internet Safety is Topic of Parent Presentation

Surprise Elementary School will host a parent presentation by notMYkid on Thursday, November 20, 2014, at 6 p.m., on the topic of Internet safety. notMYkid is a non-profit organization with the vision that “Every kid will have the knowledge and confidence to reach...

School Safety Improvements A Statewide Priority

School Safety Improvements A Statewide Priority

Just a few months after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, Governor Matt Mead launched a task force to look at the safety and security of Wyoming’s schools and recommend improvements…

Google Offers Internet Safety Tips

Google Offers Internet Safety Tips

Would your grandparents be OK with what you’re about to post online? That’s a question representatives from Google asked middle schoolers during an online security event in Minot today. The Google presentation is designed to get young internet-users to think twice...

School safety conference held amid threat investigation

School safety conference held amid threat investigation

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — School officials and parents came together in Warwick Thursday to talk about safety while police continue to investigate a second threat made against students in three local communities. As Warwick, Cranston, and Johnston react to a second...

Community Safety Day Held

Community Safety Day Held

Beverly-Center held Community Safety Day October 1. Safety sessions were set up throughout the school, with classes visiting and learning about different kinds of safety at each station. Kathy Dodrill from the OSU Extension Office showed students how to be safe in the...

Bozeman schools land $3 million grant

Bozeman schools land $3 million grant

Bozeman Public Schools was awarded more than $3 million in a grant from the National Institute of Justice. The grant will evaluate the school safety impacts of implementing a Trauma-Informed Care approach, and will provide trauma screening, assessment, and treatment...

Copyright © 2020 D.A.R.E. America. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2020 D.A.R.E. America.
All Rights Reserved.