Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.)

D.A.R.E. is a local and international substance abuse prevention education program whose goal is to prevent use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior. It was founded in Los Angeles in 1983 as a joint initiative of ex-LAPD chief Daryl Gates and the Los Angeles Unified School District as a drug control strategy for the American war on drugs.

Students who enter the program sign a pledge not to use drugs or join gangs and are informed by local police officers about the government’s beliefs about the dangers of recreational drug use through an interactive in-school curriculum which lasts ten weeks.

Instructors of the D.A.R.E. curriculum are local police officers, including those from the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office, who must undergo 80 hours of special training in areas such as child development, teaching techniques, and communication skills. Police officer and deputies with the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office, are invited by the local school districts to speak and work with students. Officers and deputies are permitted to work in the classroom by the school district and do not need to be licensed teachers. There are programs for different age levels. Working with the classroom teachers, the officers lead students over a number of sessions on workbooks and interactive discussions. The DARE program involves students interacting with deputies in a classroom environment rather than in a criminal justice setting. The Surgeon General reports that positive effects have been demonstrated regarding attitudes towards the police.

The D.A.R.E program’s use of police officers and deputies in schools alleviates some student’s concerns about situations like school shootings and other threats of violence to children while at school.