This past week, our fall semester Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) classes began. The D.A.R.E. Program has been presented to Munster students for 35 years (since 1988) and recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary in the United States, having been founded in 1983 in Los Angeles. The purpose of D.A.R.E. is to educate our community’s young people not only about the dangers of drugs but to also provide lessons on important life skills.
A recent, three-year independent study by UNC Greensboro on the D.A.R.E. Program’s Keepin’ It Real core curriculum found the program to be effective in reducing drug use among students who participated in the program.
The Munster Police Department will be presenting the program to the following grades and schools this semester:
• Kindergarten, 1st, and 3rd Grades at Eads, Elliott, and Frank Hammond Elementary School. Depending on the grade level, these grades may receive safety visits on seat belts, bike helmets and safety, calling 911, stranger-danger, internet safety, pedestrian safety, and bullying prevention. These lessons are instructed by D.A.R.E. Officer James Ghrist.
• Fifth Graders at St. Thomas More and St. Paul’s Lutheran School. These students will participate in the core 10-week curriculum which provides lessons on drug prevention, bullying prevention, managing stress, using help networks, making positive decisions, effective communication skills, and more. These students will also be visited by D.A.R.E. Role Models in November where they can ask them questions and receive positive advice for the future. The students will be honored during D.A.R.E. Graduations, attended by their parents, in December. These lessons are also instructed by D.A.R.E. Officer James Ghrist.
• Eighth Graders at Wilbur Wright Middle School, St. Thomas More School, and St. Paul’s Lutheran School. These students will participate in the secondary school curriculum which re-enforces the lessons that they learned in fifth grade while also introducing additional lessons and statistics. These lessons involve videos as well as more demonstrations of learned skills. These lessons are instructed by Officer Kevin Cooley (Wilbur Wright Middle School) or Officer James Ghrist (St. Thomas More and St. Paul’s).
We appreciate the continued support from our community which has helped to keep the program going strong and which allows for us to provide these important safety lessons in our schools. Parents are encouraged to ask and talk with their children about the lessons that they are learning this semester.