Giving children accurate information about drugs is a powerful step in keeping them from forming addictions as adults. One group of Murray students has already taken that step, as the fifth graders in the school’s new D.A.R.E. program graduated in May.

“Unfortunately drugs are a problem everywhere we go in one way or another. We have to teach our kids about them so that they can make the right decisions,” said Clarke County Sheriff’s Deputy Jerome Hill, who ran the D.A.R.E. program in Murray this year.

“D.A.R.E. combats the problem by teaching fifth graders about the harmful effects of drugs on their bodies. The program focuses on making good, informed decisions,” said Hill, but that isn’t all it does.

The skills taught by the D.A.R.E. curriculum are useful in many situations, from how to handle a bully or when to get help instead of handling a problem alone.

“We talk about the D.A.R.E. decision making model and how to think through a problem. The kids actually use the word ‘dare’ to help them make decision. DARE stands for Define, Assess, Respond, Evaluate,” said Hill.

According to their teacher, Karen Burgus, the program is working.

“They enjoyed the role playing situations where they were able to use the strategies they learned,” said Burgus. “Jerome Hill did an excellent job. My students really looked forward to his visits.”

“It is so nice that when I am in the community and my D.A.R.E. kids say hi to me and come talk to me. Building relationships with the kids is an important part of the program,” he said.

“I would like to thank the Murray Schools, Sheriff Kovacevich, the parents and Guide One Insurance who made a donation to the D.A.R.E. Program so that I could purchase supplies needed for graduation and throughout the D.A.R.E. Program,” said Hill, noting that he hopes to return next year and hopefully add younger classes into the program as well.

From Osceola Sentinel Tribune

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