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Posted: Apr 22, 2009  08:20

D.A.R.E. Promotes Healthy Choices


D.A.R.E. Officer Don Moore

As a former math teacher with five children of his own, one might think that Officer Don Moore of the Bonners Ferry Police Department wouldn't need to get a "kid fix" very often.
Fortunately for the fifth graders of Boundary County, this is far from the case.

In his third year as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) officer, Don speaks with approximately 120 ten-year olds for the ten-week program about issues such as peer pressure, friendship, personal pressure, ways to say no, how to get out of risky situations and avoid risky situations altogether.

"We discuss a wide range of topics including drugs, alcohol and marijuana. We use the D.A.R.E. decision making process to give students a tool to make decisions."

Don said that students are taught to use the acronym D.A.R.E to remind themselves of the D.A.R.E. decision making model: Define, Assess, Respond and Evaluate.

"This is just a structure to help them think about what they are doing before they do it, both positively and negatively. The bottom line about the D.A.R.E. program is to help kids make healthy choices because at the end of the day, their behavior is their own choice."

Don said that D.A.R.E. focuses on teaching kids non-violent, non-aggressive responses for handling risky situations. He emphasized he tries to keep his classes up-beat, light and interactive.

"D.A.R.E. is a partnership between the school, the police and parents, who I think are the most important. D.A.R.E. is simply another tool to help parents raise their kids. It exposes kids to facts about the health and legal consequences of drug, alcohol and tobacco use. In my opinion, however, it's only as good as the parents. We are trying to expose the kids to facts and research, but parents are the key."

Another benefit of the D.A.R.E. program that Don thinks is important is that it may also have an impact on the students' families.

"I've had a few times when kids have shared tobacco facts with their parents and the parents decided to quit smoking," he said.

With his beautiful black lab, Sammy, in tow, Don explained that going into the fifth grade classes also helps the children see that police officers are people, too. He said that his personal interaction with the students helps them see him as a person rather than just the guy with a gun and a badge.

"This is law enforcement's way of helping our community," he said. "The D.A.R.E. program is about helping our children make healthy choices and making our community a better place to live."


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