Today’s D.A.R.E. more than just drug prevention

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Program includes promoting safe and responsible decisions

INNISFAIL –  RCMP continue their community outreach with the annual D.A.R.E. program.

Innisfail RCMP Const. Craig Nelson, school and community resource officer, recently completed the D.A.R.E. graduation at both Innisfail’s public and Catholic schools.

He was at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Catholic School for its D.A.R.E. graduation on May 3.

Students in grades 5 and 6 at Innisfail Middle School, along with Grade 5 students at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Catholic School, participated in the program.

“We had a total of 225 kids graduate from D.A.R.E. this year,” said Nelson, noting three graduation ceremonies were held.

D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, but today, the program deals with a lot more than just drugs, said Nelson, noting some changes to the program in recent years.

“D.A.R.E. really used to be just about drugs, but drugs aren’t the only issue our kids are facing these days,” he said.

“We’re talking about safe and responsible decisions. That can tie over into how do we deal with emotions, how do we deal with drugs, how do we deal with peer pressure, and how do we deal with bullying,” he added.

In addition, the program spans issues kids face outside of school boundaries.

“(It teaches kids to deal with) any type of school situation, but also situations outside of the school (and) at home. We teach kids a D.A.R.E. decision-making model,” said Nelson, noting students can learn steps to  best resolve a problem and apply those steps to any situation they may face.

To help students understand those important lessons, Nelson said they have students complete a D.A.R.E. report in class.

“In order to graduate from D.A.R.E. they have to do a report that explains what they learned in (the program) and how they’re going to apply it,” he said, noting several students presented their reports during the graduation ceremony at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys School.

“They will talk about how they learned how to make some of those responsible decisions, how they learned about consequences, how they learned about peer pressure and how to deal with those things.”

Students, staff and parents took part in the graduation ceremony on May 3. Students received a certificate for completing the D.A.R.E. program.

The D.A.R.E. program is presented at Innisfail schools, said Nelson, thanks to local partners Central Alberta Co-op, McDonald’s and Dairy Queen in Innisfail.

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About Author

Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.