Weakley County Schools Communications Director
“DARE to resist drugs and violence” remains the motto of the school, parents, and police partnership Drug Abuse Resistance Education program at Weakley County middle schools. As school comes to a close, essays, hands-on experiences and graduations are also marking the close of the ten-week program led by law enforcement on the Dresden Middle, Gleason, Martin Elementary and Martin Middle campuses.
Nearly 140 Martin Elementary fifth graders, led by School Resource Officer Rachel Green, joined 75 Martin Middle School 8th graders in a graduation ceremony on May 13. SRO Jimmy Brown runs the MMS program. Students heard from guest speaker and MMS and soon to be Westview graduate Ty Simpson and DARE winners Adriana Alvarez and Harper Jones.
Alvarez, a fifth grader, wrote that through DARE she learned about “risky situations, safe and responsible choices, peer pressure, and safe reporting.” She also pointed out that she uses the DARE decision-making model – Define, Assess, Respond, Evaluate – and plans to continue to use it in the future.
Jones, an eighth grader, focused on “Why I DARE to say No to Drugs” in the winning MMS essay. After citing reasons like family and friends, she writes, “I dare to say no to drugs for myself. I want to live a long and happy life. I don’t want to ruin my body. I care too much about myself to just throw it all away.”
Hands-on learning concluded Dresden’s program which is led by Lt. Bryan Chandler, the DARE officer with the Dresden Police Department. Fifth grader Colt Melton was one of the students who donned “drunk goggles” which mimics the vision of people with a blood alcohol range of .15 to .25, and tried to pedal go carts through an obstacle course.
The 11-year-old said the experience was blurry and the “coolest” experience of the multi-week program. He said Lt. Chandler and DARE showed him more about drugs, why not to use them, and more about the importance of “helping out people and respecting others.”
Lt. Chandler also led the DARE program for 4th and 5th graders at Gleason in the fall.