D.A.R.E. is taught to approximately 26 million children in the United States. It gives students the tools needed to avoid peer pressure, to get involved in alcohol and other drugs, gangs, and violence. It also teaches them to look for friends that will not get them involved in the above.
D.A.R.E. gives students decision making skills and uses a catchy acronym to get them to remember it. It is the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model. D.A.R.E. stands for:
D=Define (What is the problem, challenge, or opportunity)
A=Access (What are your choices?) This also attaches pros and cons to each choice.
R=Respond (Make a decision after going through the above)
E=Evaluate (Did I make the right choice and why)
This acronym is used throughout the classes. Facts sheets are also gone over for the following drugs: alcohol, inhalants, tobacco, and Marijuana. The kids are given situations and the class is broken up into pairs or groups. They have to go through the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model while the D.A.R.E. Officer facilitates. The class is then brought back together and the groups present their findings.
This year there were 217 5th graders from Pioneer and Valley View schools. There were approximately 500 in attendance. The guest speaker was author, radio, and TV personality John Maino. I heard John Maino on the radio and the next day praising the Ashwaubenon DARE Program. He was amazed at the turn out and support by the community and stated, "The gym was packed; it looked like the turnout for a high school basketball game."
Due to the increase of juvenile crime throughout the nation, the Village of Ashwaubenon and the Ashwaubenon School District felt it was time to address this issue. Information that was gathered from other police departments and school districts around the country showed that a Police-School Liaison program was a very proactive measure in intervening in this increasing problem. It was the hope that by being proactive to this approach rather then reactive, that juvenile crime rates would drop.
The Police-School Liaison program has been in existence in our community since January of 1995. The goal of this program is "The prevention of juvenile delinquency and the fostering of positive community relations." Our office feels that this is some of the best staffing allocation we have. Our department has assigned two officers to our schools. Officer Jackie Dunlap works with our kindergarten through fifth grades as the Liaison officer and a certified D.A.R.E. instructor. Officer Jeff Everetts works with our sixth through twelfth grades in the same capacity.
Here in Ashwaubenon we feel this mixture of officers and students working together has been a very productive and successful combination. These officers are not considered the "armed guards" of the school; rather they are a resource for kids and schools. Students will speak to our officers about legal issues, problems they may be having at home or in the community, career path, personal relationships, or even just to stop by and say hi! The officers also assist in teaching several classes ranging from government classes to health classes, from "search and seizure" classes to "gang awareness" classes. All of these classes are done in cooperation with the classroom teacher. All in all, the positive relationships built between student and officer helps to keep this community safe and prosperous for generations to come. In Ashwaubenon, we feel having officers working in our schools is just another reason why this community is a great place to live and raise a family.