Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2007

With course finished, students can ‘D.A.R.E.’ to say no to drugs

May 31, 2007

About 155 fifth-graders, all wearing matching red T-shirts, marched proudly into the Lansing Intermediate School gymnasium Thursday, May 24, to celebrate graduation from their anti-drug program, D.A.R.E.

The nine-week D.A.R.E program, which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is geared toward teaching students about the dangers of drugs. The program's closing ceremony honored each student's accomplishments with a certificate of completion. One student from each fifth-grade class was also chosen to read a final essay about what he or she had learned from the program.

Madison Bosworth, a Lansing fifth-grader, said she was "really excited" when she was asked to read her essay. She said the main point she wanted to show was that many people will do whatever it takes to get another person to do drugs but because of the program she now knows how to resist.

The part of the program that helped her most was the role-playing skits conducted by the training officer. She said she had fun but learned a lot because the officer acted just like another student would in a regular peer pressure situation with drugs.

Madison's mother, Nancy Courtney, said she was glad her daughter was in the D.A.R.E program so she could be better informed. Despite the good dialogue Courtney has with her daughter, she said she thought the information would make more of an impact coming from someone else.

Courtney said her daughter would always come home excited about the program. She said Madison would tell her facts, that as an adult, she didn't know herself. Although Courtney said she didn't like the fact that such a program was necessary, she said through conversations with her daughter, she could tell fifth grade was the appropriate age to start the training.

Sunday Holler, Lansing D.A.R.E officer, couldn't agree more. She said fifth grade was a transitional time for students. As they head into middle school and begin breaking into new social groups, Holler said it was best they start off those changes as knowledgeable as possible.

Holler said the program was designed to teach students about the affects tobacco, alcohol and drugs have on their systems as well as teach them the skills they need to resist the negative peer pressure they could face.

One way Holler illustrated the harmful effects of drugs on the body was to show the students what's in them. She said most students were shocked to hear the same chemical ingredients used in tar, nail polish remover and rat poison all go into the contents of a cigarette.

Pam Jackson, a fifth-grade teacher at Lansing Intermediate School, said that she thought the best part of the program was letting the students get to know a police officer. She said it gave students a familiar face they could recognize and feel comfortable with in the future. She said the education they received through the D.A.R.E program would stick with them for years to come.

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