Select Page

Hodges Manor Elementary School student Rylee Long hugs Daren the Lion, the mascot of D.A.R.E, at the December 6 graduation ceremony. Seventy-eight students graduated from the newly revived program.

When staff from the Portsmouth Sheriff’s Office relaunched a drug awareness program for third-graders, they were taken aback by how much the kids already knew about drugs.

“A lot of them know about drugs,” said Sgt. Anturnette Anders. “They talk about stuff they know and stuff they see a lot.”

On Dec. 6, the Sheriff’s Office hosted a D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony for 78 students at Hodges Manor Elementary School. It was the third Drug Abuse Resistance Education ceremony held in Portsmouth since Sheriff Michael Moore restarted the program in partnership with Portsmouth Public Schools.

“We explain to them the different types of drugs, what to look out for,” Moore said. “One key factor that goes into that is to explain to them the effects of drugs if you start using.”

But the program is about more than drugs. It also teaches kids about peer pressure, bullying and self-esteem.

D.A.R.E America, the nonprofit that administers the program changed its emphasis from drug prevention to student decision-making in recent years after research questioned the effectiveness of the original D.A.R.E. program, reported the Scientific American in 2014.

Leah Stith, Portsmouth’s director of D.A.R.E., said the bulk of the 10-week D.A.R.E course for third-graders is about communications strategies. Students study assertive communication, demanding communication and unsure communication.

“We are trying to teach them confident communication,” she said.

They also teach children how to make good choices by explaining peer pressure and how to “ward off peer pressure,” she said. The students watch videos and role-play and journal about how to avoid certain situations.

Deputies also help students identify when something is “not right” and how to walk away from situations like bullying rather than being enlisted by the bullies, Stith said.

D.A.R.E. was founded in Los Angeles in 1983. It has been implemented in 75 percent of U.S. districts and in more than 52 countries globally, according to the organization’s website.

The program has not been held at Portsmouth schools since the early 2000s, according to Stith.

Stith, a former substitute teacher, currently selects the schools, meets with principals and sets up schedules with the deputies.

Before the Hodges Manor event, she organized graduations at James Hurst Elementary and Westhaven Elementary schools.

“We also work with the babies,” Stith said. “We do a little preschool thing at Mount Hermon (Preschool Center) and at Olive Branch (Preschool Center) where we just do the basics with the preschoolers like calling 911 and who’s a stranger.”

At the end of the awards ceremony, the students were called up one-by-one. They received certificates from Superintendent Elie Bracy III and shook the hands of the deputies they worked with.

From The Virginian-Pilot

D.A.R.E. Graduation Honors More than 300 Students

More than 300 fifth-graders were honored at the annual graduation ceremony for the Dover Police Department’s Dover Middle School D.A.R.E. program held at the school on March 15. At the event, 305 fifth-grade students celebrated the completion of the D.A.R.E…

217 Graduate from MTES D.A.R.E Program

Fifth graders at Miami Trace Elementary School celebrated their graduation from D.A.R.E. on Wednesday. D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. The purpose of the program is to help kids gain the awareness and skills to avoid involvement with drugs…

Avilla Schools D.A.R.E. Graduation

It’s graduation day at Avilla schools as 31 student complete the DARE program. Fifth and sixth grade students receive certificates in a ceremony to celebrate what they’ve learned in months of study from deputy Isaac Burley…

Sandy Run Elementary D.A.R.E. Graduation 2019

On January 4th, 2019, Master Deputy T. Snead, the D.A.R.E. Officer at Sandy Run Elementary, finished out his fifth grade classes. These 85 D.A.R.E. students were all looking good in their D.A.R.E. shirts. He invited Calhoun County Councilman Lt. Col (Ret) John D....

Siskiyou County D.A.R.E. Photos 2019

Pictures of Siskiyou County D.A.R.E. graduations and other photos taken at some schools in the area: Grenada Elementary, Delphic Elementary, Scott Valley Christian Academy and Montague Elementary. From Res Deputy Jim Jacobsen, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office…

From Kinder to Grade 12, Kids to Get Drug Education

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has given the go signal for the Department of Health (DOH) to educate school children from Kindergarten to Grade 12 about the ill effects of taking illegal drugs…

Troy Students Graduate from D.A.R.E. Program

Several William B. Orenic Intermediate School students were recently recognized at the Shorewood Village Hall as D.A.R.E. program graduates. Back row from left: Shorewood Police Officer Weston Barlog, Mrs. America Nicole Cook, Sergeant James Butcher, Sergeant Nicholas...

Midlands Students Receive Big Donation at Annual D.A.R.E Graduation

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Midlands students graduated from the D.A.R.E. program on Monday and the program also received a big donation, too. The ceremony was a part of Satchel Ford Elementary School’s D.A.R.E. program graduation. D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse…


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