Connecticut Cutting D.A.R.E Programs
The once popular D.A.R.E program has been getting cut from Connecticut schools recently. The D.A.R.E program uses police officers to educate fifth-grade students about drugs, alcohol, gangs and violence and has been in public schools for more than 20 years. Some school districts keep the program running to reinforce a positive relationship with police officers while teaching good decision making. More recently, though, the costly program has been getting defunded by school districts and being replaced with a police officer, or school resource officer, in schools.
Southington DARE officer Thomas Gallo said, “We’re talking about peer pressure and you’re still making that connection with the kids in the classroom and on a one-to-one basis for 11 weeks. You’re talking to them at lunch and at recess. It has a lot of benefits.” Their infamous 'Just Say No' slogan is known among children however, Rich Figlewski, who runs the Dry Dock, a drug and alcohol support center, says the phrase doesn't work. Figlewski says instead of just teaching recovering addicts to just say no, he teaches them that their consequences have actions.
School resource officers are expected to have a positive effect on students. If health classes continue to educate their students about drugs and alcohol, hopefully students will continue to have interactions with law enforcement.