D.A.R.E. & School Resource
D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a collaborative effort by certified law enforcement officers, educators, students, parents, and community to offer an educational program in the classroom to prevent or reduce drug abuse and violence among children and youth. The emphasis of the Officer's Guide to D.A.R.E. to Resist Drugs and Violence, Student Workbook, Grades 5 and 6, is to help students recognize and resist the many direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, inhalants, or other drugs, or to engage in violence.
The DARE program offers preventive strategies to enhance those protective factors especially bonding to the family, school, and community which appear to foster the development of resiliency in young people who may be at risk for substance abuse or other problem behaviors. Researchers have identified certain protective and social bonding factors in the family, school and community which may foster resiliency in young people; in other words, the capacity of young people for healthy, independent growth in spite of adverse conditions.
These strategies focus on the development
- Communication skills
- Conflict resolution
- Decision making
- Positive alternative activities to drug abuse and other destructive behaviors
- Sense of purpose
- Social competence
The program content for DARE is organized into seventeen 45 to 60 minute lessons to be taught by a law enforcement officer with suggested extended activities to be integrated into other instruction by the classroom teacher. A specially trained officer is assigned to the school one day a week for one semester to conduct weekly lessons in grades 5 or 6. Suggested extended interdisciplinary activities to be integrated with other subjects as time permits are listed in the publication titled D.A.R.E. Instructional Activity Guide for Teachers, Grades 5 and 6.
Student participation in the DARE program may be incorporated as an integral part of the school's curricular offering in health, science, social studies, language arts, or other subject(s) as appropriate. The classroom teacher should maintain a supportive role in classroom management while the officer is teaching and should incorporate DARE program participation by students as an integral part of the student's final evaluation.
DARE offers a variety of interactive, group-participation, cooperative-learning activities which are designed to encourage students to solve problems of major importance in their lives. An important element of DARE is the use of student leaders who do not use drugs as positive role models in influencing younger students. The last lesson of DARE is a culminating assembly-type activity to which all classes involved in DARE are invited. This event provides an opportunity for recognition of the student leaders and all the students and staff who participated in the program. The scheduling of an event of this nature requires the approval of the school principal.
The DARE program - offered in concert with other school - based prevention activities and intervention strategies for the identification, early intervention, and aftercare support of students at risk for substance abuse - may be viewed as a comprehensive substance abuse program that meets the goals of the federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.
A comprehensive program within the school offers such educational activities as the following to heighten awareness and knowledge about alcohol and other drug dependencies:
- A comprehensive program of instruction of the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs that are commonly abused
- The program is sequential and grade-appropriate for kindergarten through grade 6 - Ideally, this instruction should be offered as an integral part of the school's comprehensive health curriculum
- Faculty in-service training
- Instruction by DARE officer in target classrooms
- Interest groups
- Parent education, including a DARE evening for parents
- Parent outreach and support
- Planning and implementation of the school behavior code that includes guidelines concerning the possession or use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs
School Resource Officer
Gloucester County Sheriff's Officer Jill Manson has presented since 2007 at the Bankbridge Elementary School in Sewell, NJ. Bankbridge Elementary School is a special needs school servicing Gloucester County. A DARE Graduation is held annually at the Bankbridge Elementary School.
Sheriff's Officer Jill Manson, and Sheriff's Officer Al Jones are assigned to:
- Gloucester County Special Services School District
- Gloucester County Vocational School District
- Rowan College at Gloucester County