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After Seventeen Years, the DARE Program is Back in Oconee County Schools

Orchard Park Elementary

Westminster Elementary

Northside Elementary

Blue Ridge Elementary

(Pictures Courtesy of the School District of Oconee County)

(Walhalla, SC)---------------After seventeen years, Sheriff Mike Crenshaw has brought back the DARE program to the elementary schools in Oconee County.

“Drug education is a vital element in our attack on drugs. We continue to arrest drug dealers and our county now has drug treatment for those that want to help themselves,” says Sheriff Crenshaw. “As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

“Our goal is to educate our youth and prevent them from going down a road that includes drugs,” continues Sheriff Crenshaw. “This program does just that in addition to helping students with other life problems and issues. I hope to continue growing the DARE curriculum in hopes of having it in all elementary schools as well as our middle and high schools. The Sheriff's Office appreciates the partnership with the School District of Oconee.

Sheriff Earl Holcombe started the DARE program in 1986. DARE stands for “Drug Abuse Resistance Education” and is primarily targeted towards students in the fifth grade. The DARE model “envisions a world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance use, and other dangerous behaviors.” Topics include drug information, risks vs. consequences, peer pressure, dealing with stress, bullying, getting help and helping others.

Lt. Mark Lyles, the last officer to teach DARE in Oconee County schools in 2004, says that he is glad to see the program return to educate students about the dangers of drugs and issues that they face today. Lt. Lyles taught several of the current fifth grade teachers the DARE program when they were in elementary school.

This past semester, fifth-grade students from James M Brown, Tamassee-Salem, Northside, Blue Ridge, Westminster and Orchard Park Elementary Schools participated in the program. Approximately four hundred and fifty students graduated in ceremonies that were held December 10th thru December 16th. Each student received a t-shirt and certificate of completion. The fifth-grade students at Ravenel, Walhalla, Keowee, and Fair Oak Elementary Schools will participate in the program during the second semester.

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