Students learn dangers of substance abuse

12 Feb 2010 | Lance Cpl. Courtney C. White

Drug Abuse Resistance Education is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons taught from Kindergarten through 12th grade across the nation, including instruction at Laurel Bay Schools led by members of  the Air Station’s Provost Marshals Office.

This program offers more than drug abuse education; it offers the students a chance to get to know the military police aboard Laurel Bay and feel comfortable speaking to them in any situation.

“It’s good that we get to spend time with the students because they don’t have a school resource officer,” said Lance Cpl. Melanie Davis, a Laurel Bay D.A.R.E. officer. “We are not only their teachers, but also their mentors.”

Students benefit from this program by gaining knowledge of negative affects of substance abuse and learning ways to avoid drugs, alcohol and violence in the community.

“Many people abuse substances and take part in drinking alcohol,” said Lori Wynn, a 5th grade teacher at Bolden Elementary/Middle School. “It can be easy to follow the crowd, but D.A.R.E. teaches students to cope with peer pressure.”

Work books, videos and role playing of what a student should do if they encounter a situation with drugs, alcohol or abuse are incorporated in the lessons, according to Wynn.

“The classes are important, because they teach us what the effects of drug usage are and why we should stay away from drugs,” said Charles Barron, a 5th grade student at Bolden.

During the classes, the students are taught how to work together in making the right decisions for each scenario.

  “I liked working together in groups because it made the learning fun,” Barron said. “It’s easier to learn when you have a friend to learn with.”

The D.A.R.E. classes are taught by police officers whose experiences give them the knowledge to teach and answer questions that students have about drugs, alcohol and abuse.

“We teach the students real lessons and show them pictures of what drugs and alcohol can do to a person,” Davis said.

At the end of the nine-week curriculum, students write an essay about what they have learned during the classes and have a graduation in which family members and friends are welcome to attend.

Eighty-one 5th grade students and 63 6th grade students graduated D.A.R.E. at Bolden, Jan. 29.

“I feel accomplished to be able to have an impact on several students’ decisions to say no to drugs and alcohol,” Davis said. “We teach the students many topics that they will remember and take with them.”