D.A.R.E. Wages New War on Bullying
Posted at: 12/04/2012 12:00 AM
| Updated at: 12/04/2012 10:55 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
Hermantown Middle School welcomed the families and friends of 161 sixth graders Tuesday afternoon as they celebrated completing the district's D.A.R.E. program.
“What makes saying no so difficult is the thought of betraying a friend, in most cases your friend will understand when you say no,” said speaker and Hermantown High School senior Kevin Folman. “If they don't, they're not a friend.”
D.A.R.E is a long tradition in Hermantown. This is the district's 23rd year participating in D.A.R.E and this year, D.A.R.E. unveiled a new curriculum called “Keeping it Real.” Saying no to drugs and alcohol are still paramount in the curriculum, but times have changed and so has peer pressure.
“Every community deals with bullying issues and to be able to help these kids understand the aspects of bullying and how to combat bullying, it's positive for everybody,” said Hermantown Police Chief Jim Crace.
It's something kids can relate to everywhere.
“Nobody likes to be bullied,” essay reader Mya Austin said. “That's why in D.A.R.E. we learned to help bully victims.
The D.A.R.E. graduates learned how to react to peer pressure situations, whether it's drugs, alcohol, or bullying. The new program also helped cater to the unique challenges of bullying online.
“When I was in school...bullying just happened when you were around other kids. Now it's happening through social media, through texting, all these things that kids can't get away from,” said Chief Crace.
Chief Crace added that Hermantown and Floodwood are the only two districts in lower St. Louis County that still have D.A.R.E. programs, attributing the loss to reported effectiveness and funding.