D.A.R.E. Program Gives Students Powerful Decision-Making Skills

3_LEARNING WEBBy: Helen Elkins

If knowledge is power, then the graduates of the D.A.R.E. program will have what it takes to tackle future challenges.

Revamped for the fast paced, ever changing digital age, D.A.R.E. provides more than just drug and violence awareness.

They seek to equip students with knowledge about bullying, good citizenship and helping one another, nonverbal communication and listening, peer pressure, responsible decision making, dealing with stresses, basic communication skills, internet safety, over-the-counter and prescription medication, and distracted driving.

Schools all over the country are continually being confronted with constant changes in society, and what children face today is very different from what they faced even 20 years ago.

“The D.A.R.E. program has been updated and is relevant to what our students face in their everyday lives,” said Deputy Sheriff Paul McCord, second-year Officer for the program.

Not only is he the D.A.R.E. Officer, Deputy McCord is also a trained and certified School Resource Officer and an ALICE instructor.

School safety has become an important issue and a priority and is being addressed by the School Resource Officer and ALICE training. While Deputy McCord is in the schools for D.A.R.E. classes, he can identify possible problems and improve the security of the schools.

Should a problem arise, quick and critical thinking is important for student safety. “The ALICE program teaches the students to think critically,” he said.

Not only does Deputy McCord work with the 5th graders in the D.A.R.E. program, but he has plenty of opportunities to interact and positively influence many students during the school day.

“It is my goal to make sure our students are prepared to face whatever arises,” said Deputy McCord. “Critical thinking is something that will be useful for the rest of their lives,” he added.

Funding for the D.A.R.E. officer position currently comes from the general fund, with some monies being reimbursed from grants given by the Attorney General’s Office and the ADAMS Board.

Sheriff Steven M. Towns brought back the D.A.R.E. program and believes it is an essential part of our students’ education and growth.

During his campaign for office, Sheriff Towns said that if there were no other way to provide for the D.A.R.E. program, he would attempt to find private funding. He is very committed to supporting the schools in any way he can.

Private contributions do currently come in to help with the budget, but there is still a need for more support to guarantee the D.A.R.E. program continues.

For more information on growing trends in the community and to keep current on the program, visit the Williams County D.A.R.E. Facebook page. They also provide essential tools for helping parents.

Donations to help fund the program can be made to the Williams County Sheriff’s Department. For more information about contributing, visit the Williams County Sheriff’s Office website at williamscosheriff.com or their Facebook page.

Helen may be reached at

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