The revised D.A.R.E program has begun in Westmoreland County Schools with recently certified Officer Karl Wendell (School Resource Officer) leading the program.
D.A.R.E stands for drug, abuse, and resistance education. The program is a series of classroom lessons led by a police officer that teaches children K-12 how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence free lives. D.A.R.E was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles, and with implementation in 75 percent of the nation’s school districts and in more than 43 countries around the world, proves to be successful.
The D.A.R.E website, DARE.ORG, gives a number of reasons for the program’s success including its utilization of law enforcement officers as instructors and that it was the first program of its kind anywhere in the world. To keep the program relevant, effective and impactful, the program requires critical review and substantive contributions from highly respected experts in the field of education, science and law enforcement. It also requires comments or recommendations from the program’s audience, school children. In order to harness all of this, several years ago D.A.R.E established committees in which the members are actively engaged in the development and implementation of virtually all aspects of the program.
The program is supported by the state, with Trooper Gene Ayres as the D.A.R.E. coordinator for VA.