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Deputies are taking D.A.R.E. message into all Colleton elementary schools

The anti-drug and anti-bullying program known as D.A.R.E. is now happening in all schools throughout Colleton County.
The program, which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is taught by certified law enforcement officers. Both the Walterboro Police Department and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office teach the program: the police department focuses on the school located within the city limits, and the Sheriff’s Office teaches the program in schools located throughout the county.
This is the first time that D.A.R.E. is being taught in each school in the entire county.
“Incorporating the D.A.R.E. program into all elementary schools helps mend the gap in officer-student relations,” said Sheriff Strickland. “This affords students the chance to gain positive respect for law enforcement, and their duties to uphold the law,” he said.
As for the actual D.A.R.E. program, Strickland said it educates students on a variety of current problems and topics, including bullying, dealing with stressful situations, non-verbal and verbal communication, and tips on how to be a good citizen.
The original D.A.R.E. curriculum is also still taught in the program. This includes an anti-drug and anti-alcohol message to all students, he said.
“Broadening the topics of discussion during D.A.R.E. over this 10-week course allows us to educate upcoming teens on important life-making decisions, and the crucial effects these choices can have on their lives,” he said.
“The D.A.R.E. program also encourages students to be positive role models.”
For an officer to teach the program in schools, existing law enforcement officers must go through additional training that makes them D.A.R.E. certified. This 2-week training is funded by the Sheriff’s Office and takes place at S.C. Criminal Justice Academy. After passing the course, officers also use materials supplied by the actual D.A.R.E. program.
Individual schools and their Parent-Teacher-Organizations (PTO) are also helping to pay for D.A.R.E. T-shirts for students who graduate in the program, according to Strickland.
The actual D.A.R.E. program started in 1983 and has since become a national educational tool used in public schools.
However, the program currently being taught in Colleton County schools is a revised, newer version called “D.A.R.E. keepin’ it REAL.” According to Strickland, this is an elementary-focused curriculum that focuses on good personal decision-making.
The teaching of the program is part of a partnership between local law enforcement agencies and the Colleton County School District.

Heather Walters (1626 Posts)