RES Hosts DARE Graduation
For a period of 10 weeks, once a week, sixth grade students at Rector Elementary School meet with deputies Michael Beasley and Russ Latimer from the Clay County Sheriff’s Department to learn skills related to the DARE curriculum which began in California as a single-faceted drug resistance education program.
Locally, the program has expanded over the 25 years it has been in existence. These days, students look forward to participation in the expanded program, and enjoy meeting with Beasley and discussing current topics related to complex issues of the day.
The curriculum which is part of the sixth grade program which teaches the dangers of all drugs, including alcohol and tobacco. Over the years, as society has infiltrated much of these students’ lives, the curriculum has ballooned to include techniques to make good decisions, resist and combat bullying and open doors to communication with law enforcement officers.
Fifty-two students in Rector celebrated the completion of the program on Thursday, Feb 25, with a ceremony and recognition of the DARE essay contact winners. In Deputy Beasley’s opening remarks, he noted the recent school shooting in Kentucky, speaking about the open channels of communication are between adults and children, officers and students. The issues faced by students today, Beasley remarked, are far more serious than those he faced as a child. As part of his role as DARE officer, he makes sure the students know they can always talk to him.
“The students I had in my DARE program five years ago seek me out and talk,” he offered. “I feel these open channels are for everyone’s good.”
Makayla Owens and Haden Rabah each read their essays that explained what they learned in the DARE program and how they intended to put these new skills to use. They represented Donna Haynes' and Mrs. Bethany Burns' classrooms. The overall winner of the essay contest, Carter Hill, also shared his essay with those on hand for the occasion.