Warren County Middle School sixth-graders are being taught to say no to drugs.
Half of the school’s sixth-grade students have completed their DARE class and those who wrote the best essays explaining what they learned were honored with medals and stuffed animals on Friday.
DARE stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. The program was founded in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department. DARE is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children in grades K-12 how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug- and violence-free lives.
Students who enter the program sign a pledge to say no to drugs and alcohol.
WCMS school resource officer Brad Hennessee has taught DARE since 2006. Hennessee said, “I feel very privileged to be a DARE officer and that I get to spend time with and teach the kids. I had a blast. I love it. They’re great.”
Every student who completed the class was given a certificate and a goody bag filled with a pencil, eraser, ruler, pencil grip and a rubber bracelet emblazoned with the DARE logo.
The students did not have any homework during the class and did not have to take tests. They did, however, have to write an essay telling what they learned during the duration of the class. Sheriff Jackie Matheny was given the essays and picked the ones he thought best told what the DARE program is about. The winner from each class received a medal.
The top winner in each team received a stuffed Daren the Lion. Daren is the mascot for the DARE program. The winner from the Prospectors team was Kaylee Campbell. Shonacye Rutledge was the winner from the Trailblazers team. And, Brianna Pack took Daren home for the Navigators team.
During graduation, the top winners from each team were asked to read their essays to the audience.
Brianna Pack was absent, but Hennessee read her essay. She had written, “Tobacco. Everywhere in the United States it’s there. Malls, home, markets, alleys, everywhere! It is sickening. I don’t like it because it makes me feel as if I am going to throw up. It has a death rate of 4000,000 Americans a year. Also, every year 50,000 people die from second-hand smoking.”
“Let’s talk about alcohol. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what’s bringing the police knocking with your child in the backseat of a car with red and blue flashing lights. On top, 75,000 people die every year because of it. Kids are wondering why Dad is getting home with a bottle in his hand, then why he has shiny bracelets ... then why Mom won’t let him in the house. In conclusion, alcohol and tobacco break families.”