Select Page

Certificates were given to all D.A.R.E. graduates, and medals were awarded to the students who wrote the best essays at the end of the program. See more photos from the event at Daily Commercial

MINNEOLA — About 200 Grassy Lake Elementary fifth graders on Wednesday became the first class to graduate from the Sheriff’s Office’s D.A.R.E. program in six years.

Sheriff Peyton Grinnell said the program used to draw 6,000 students a year before it was cut for budget reasons in 2013. He estimated that 30,000 students missed out on the program, which he promised to bring back during his 2016 campaign.

“That’s roughly 30,000 students that we did not come into contact with in a positive way,” Grinnell said. He said one of the biggest benefits of D.A.R.E. is the opportunity to show students that police weren’t just there to get people in trouble.

“This is good, to have it back in our schools,” Grinnell said. “And I really like how the curriculum has evolved.”

He said that D.A.R.E., Drug Abuse Resistance Education, has shifted priorities since it was last implemented to focus more on life skills than before. Students learn the old material, but they are also expected to learn about things like conflict management, how to avoid peer pressure, standing up against bullying and how to discern a good choice from a bad one.

Students maintain a journal at the end of each D.A.R.E. lesson, and at the end of the program, they write an essay about what they learned and how they’ll use it to be safe and make good choices in the future. Once they’ve turned it in, they can graduate.

Grassy Lake’s students are the first to go through the new curriculum, taught by Sgt. Fred Jones and the School Resource Deputy, Master Deputy Lori Bott.

“I think the model of life skills is even more important now than when the program ended,” Jones said.

In the digital age, children are faced with ever-increasing access to the internet, which can be both good and bad. D.A.R.E.’s focus on figuring out whether a decision is good or bad can help kids navigate the internet responsibly, he said, or help them figure out when something they saw was bad.

It also might help with the growing issue of vaping on school campuses, Jones added. Deputies have given out more than 100 citations for students with vapes in school.

Bott said that D.A.R.E. didn’t have specific curriculum for vaping yet, but they do cover it when discussing healthy choices, and students frequently ask about it.

Grassy Lake Principal Julie Williams said the program’s early reach has had a major impact on not just Grassy Lake students, but her own family.

Her son went through fifth grade after D.A.R.E. was cut, but her daughter had the opportunity to take the course. She said the difference in their knowledge about drugs and topics like conflict management is stark, and her daughter often teaches her son new things, even though he’s much older.

She’s happy to have the program back after watching several classes pass through without it.

“To see it come full circle today was just really exciting,” she said.

The Sheriff’s Office expects to host one more graduation in April, when students from Seminole Springs Elementary School finish the program.

From Daily Commercial

Manville Schools Welcome Back D.A.R.E. Program

Celebrating the graduation of 110 fourth-graders from the revived D.A.R.E. program at Roosevelt School are Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson, Manville Police Det. David Sheffrin, who taught the course, Daren, the course's mascot, and Manville Police Chief...

Montgomery Bringing Back 2 D.A.R.E. Police Officers

Montgomery Police Officer Bruce Heddy receives his D.A.R.E. Officer certification from his training mentor, Officer Kate Proscia of the Branchburg Police Department. In the background is Rafael Morales of D.A.R.E. America…

D.A.R.E. Comes Back to Northside

Walterboro police officers helping to push an anti-drug message to a local elementary school. Students who attend Forest Hills Elementary in Walterboro will be receiving a D.A.R.E. course, thanks to new D.A.R.E.-Certified officer Rusty Davis. Davis is a Lance Corporal with the WPD who received his certification through the national anti-drug program last year.

D.A.R.E. Program Returns to Saranac Lake

SARANAC LAKE – After an eight-year hiatus, Saranac Lake School District has brought back the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. The D.A.R.E. program has been revised using a new “keepin’ it REAL” curriculum. Students are assigned to write an essay expressing their thoughts and ideas about what they learned during the D.A.R.E. program.

D.A.R.E. Returns to Anne Arundel County, Maryland

The return of D.A.R.E. to Anne Arundel County was announced by County Executive Steve Schuh, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto, and Police Chief Timothy Altomare. D.A.R.E., which was part of the county schools’ curriculum from the 1990s to 2003, will be taught at Annapolis, Corkran, and Lindale middle schools starting in February this year.

D.A.R.E. Program Comes to Gwinn

The Forsyth Township Police Department has initiated a new Drug Abuse Resistance Education — or D.A.R.E. — program in the Gwinn Area Community Schools. D.A.R.E. was taught in schools throughout Marquette County in the past. Last fall Sergeant Jesse Cadwell attended D.A.R.E. training in Virginia and can now teach the curriculum.

Groveland Police Restart D.A.R.E. Program

GROVELAND — After a 12-year hiatus, the Groveland Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education program has been restarted and, according to Chief Jeffrey Gillen, it has been well received by school officials and parents.

Groveland Detective Josh Sindoni (in photo), a three-year member of the department, is the town’s D.A.R.E. officer.

D.A.R.E. Program Returns to Nelson’s Elementaries

D.A.R.E. Essay Finalists Cady Marrs (from left) and Jacob Willoughby, Essay Winner Karley Campbell and Nelson County Sheriff David Hill at Tye River Elementary School on Dec. 5 LYNCHBURG — After a four-year hiatus, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office has brought back...

Teaching Kids to Make Safe, Responsible Decisions

Students in a fifth-grade class at Herkimer Elementary School were given a scenario Thursday where a girl who smokes was going to a party. Some of the students offered solutions about what they would do. One said to not go. Another said to go, but if the friend started smoking to say you had to go home. Another said to just walk away.


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