This year millions of school children around the world will benefit from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the highly acclaimed program that gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs, and violence. D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and has proven so successful that it is now being implemented in 75 percent of our nation's school districts and in more than 43 countries around the world. D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.
Sheriff Ira Edwards is pictured with the founder of the D.A.R.E. Program Retired Chief Daryl Gates of Los Angeles Police Department. Both were attendees at the 26 international D.A.R.E. Conference held in Orlando, Florida during the week of June 20-24 where Sheriff Edwards serves on the Law Enforcement Executive Advisory Board. There were over 1000 officers in attendance that were certified to teach the new middle school curriculum "Keeping it Real". D.A.R.E is currently in 75% of our nation's school districts and in more than 43 countries around the world. Over the past three years, well over 220 communities have started the new D.A.R.E. Program. D.A.R.E is a law enforcement led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive lives.
Overwhelming national and international demand for D.A.R.E. led to the creation of D.A.R.E. America, a national non-profit organization. D.A.R.E. America serves as a resource to communities, helping to establish and improve local D.A.R.E. programs. D.A.R.E. America provides officer training, supports the development and evaluation of the D.A.R.E. curriculum, provides student educational materials, monitors instruction standards and program results, and creates national awareness for D.A.R.E.
The D.A.R.E. curriculum is designed to be taught by police officers whose training and experience gave them the background needed to answer the sophisticated questions often posed by young students about drugs and crime. Prior to entering the D.A.R.E. program, officers undergo 80 hours of special training in areas such as child development, classroom management, teaching techniques, and communication skills. 40 hours of additional training are provided to D.A.R.E. instructors to prepare them to teach the high school curriculum.
D.A.R.E. Receives High Marks From America's Leaders
Presidential administrations, governors, members of congress, and state legislators have praised D.A.R.E. Since 1988, Presidential Proclamation declares one day each year National D.A.R.E. Day. State legislatures have joined with the President and Congress by proclaiming D.A.R.E. day within their respective states.
D.A.R.E. Training is Unique
D.A.R.E. goes beyond traditional drug abuse and violence prevention programs. It gives children the skills needed to recognize and resist the subtle and overt pressures that cause them to experiment with drugs or become involved in gangs or violent activities.
D.A.R.E. is Community Policing
D.A.R.E. is universally viewed as an internationally recognized model of community policing. The United States Department of Justice has identified how D.A.R.E. benefits local communities:
• D.A.R.E. "humanizes" the police: that is, young people can begin to relate to officers as people
• D.A.R.E. permits students to see officers in a helping role, not just an enforcement role
• D.A.R.E. opens lines of communication between law enforcement and youth
• D.A.R.E. Officers can serve as conduits to provide information beyond drug-related topics
• D.A.R.E. opens dialogue between the school, police, and parents to deal with other issues
The New D.A.R.E. classroom lessons
Never satisfied, D.A.R.E. America is moving forward with an even better and improved D.A.R.E. program. In fact, it is in the tenth revision of the program. Recognizing that no other school-based program possesses the delivery system of D.A.R.E., the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has provided a generous grant to the University of Akron to develop and test a new D.A.R.E. curriculum. This new state-of-the art substance abuse prevention curriculum will be tested and evaluated over a five-year period with over 50,000 students in six U.S. cities. The goal is to design and test the next generation of science-based program.
For more information on the DARE evaluation process (PDF)
The bottom line--to combine the best research and science with the world's most effective delivery system--D.A.R.E.
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