The Warren County Sheriff’s Department has created its own awareness program to take the place of DARE called “Strong Together.”
At the County Corrections Partnership Committee meeting last week, commissioners discussed the new program for fifth graders. When Sheriff Jackie Matheny Jr. was elected, he said the department needs to get back in schools with the DARE program. DARE was a 10-week program which stressed the importance of avoiding harmful situations. Students were taught the dangers associated with drug and tobacco use, as well as other life skills.
“I am proud of our new program. This is replacing our DARE program. This one is 'Strong Together,’” said Commissioner Steven Helton.
Matheny explained the enhanced flexibility the new program offers. “We are not restricted to a curriculum like with DARE and LEAD. You couldn’t change the curriculum and stress the dangers of the trends we are seeing so we developed our own program called ‘strong together’ which I am very proud of,” said Matheny.
The new program will tackle drug use as well as relevant situations in the schools and community.
“If we see something in the schools or something going on in the community, we can actually go into the school and change what we are teaching to teach what we are seeing in the community. Everything branches off of DARE. It is still drug abuse and stuff like that,” said Matheny.
This program will be a seven-week course for fifth-grade students.
“I think DARE was fifth and sixth, but we were talking and we are seeing things are starting earlier,” said Matheny. “We are seeing things starting way earlier, so we are targeting fifth grade. We have seen 12-year-olds on fentanyl and stuff and it is really sad.”
“I agree with that. I think that was a good decision,” said Commissioner Kacey Owens.
Warren County schools as well as FC Boyd Christian School and Covenant Academy can participate in the program.