D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a collaborative effort by D.A.R.E. certified law enforcement officers, educators, students, parents and the community to offer an educational program in the classroom to prevent or reduce drug abuse and violence among children and youth. The emphasis of the core program (grades 5 – 6) is to help students recognize and resist the many direct and subtle pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants or other drugs or to engage in violence.
The D.A.R.E. program, as presented by the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, offers preventive strategies to enhance those protective factors, especially bonding to the family, school and community, which appear to foster the development of resiliency in young people who may be at risk for substance abuse or other problem behaviors. Researchers have identified certain protective and social bonding factors in the family, school and community which may foster resiliency in young people, in other words, the capacity of young people for healthy, independent growth in spite of adverse conditions. These strategies focus on the development of social competence, communication skills, self-esteem, empathy, decision making, conflict resolution, sense of purpose and independence, and positive alternative activities to drug abuse and other destructive behaviors. Another aspect of the program is the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model. This model is worked on throughout the program to teach students how to make good decisions and to give them the confidence that they can make good choices in any situation.
The program content for D.A.R.E. is organized into ten 45 minute lessons to be taught by a specially trained law enforcement officer with suggested extended activities to be integrated into other instruction by the classroom teacher. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office currently maintains one full time D.A.R.E.officer along with ten part-time officers to serve the more than 1,500 5th grade students in Niagara County. The elementary curriculum is presented in the primary buildings in the Barker, Lewiston-Porter, Newfane, Niagara-Wheatfield, North Tonawanda, Royalton-Hartland, Starpoint and Wilson school districts. In addition to all of the public schools in Niagara County, D.A.R.E. is also taught to fifth grade students in the following private schools: St. Peter’s Lutheran (Walmore Road), St. John’s Lutheran, Holy Ghost Lutheran and DeSales Catholic School.
In addition to classroom instruction, D.A.R.E. also offers speaking engagements to interested groups and clubs. The D.A.R.E. program is coordinated by Lieutenant Robert Richards. The office number is (716) 438-3310. Although these officers are frequently out of the office, all calls are returned as soon as possible, and our best efforts are given in order to assist the people and organizations of Niagara County. Please feel free to also contact Lieutenant Richards at his e-mail address: Robert.Richards@niagaracounty.com
Parents: Click here for information on participating with your kids in "Family Talk" discussions of lessons learned during D.A.R.E