Scaring kids to not do drugs or drink alcohol used to be the main message of Drug Abuse Resistance Education or D.A.R.E., but things have changed over the last 30 years.
D.A.R.E was founded in 1983 to educate students about drugs and alcohol to prevent them from ever using in the first place. Now, it focuses on teaching kids how to be responsible.
“Make kids think about their decisions before, during and after what they do,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Jensen, Watford City Police.
This is the first year Watford City is teaching it.
Jensen said some kids start drinking as early as 11 years old, and he wants to educate them now before it’s too late.
“That’s our fifth graders, that’s our fourth graders that are starting to drink. I want to raise that up,” Jensen said.
“We have too many fatalities on our roadway that we deal with almost every year. Kids in our district who drink and drive who get injured because of a drunk driver.”
Last week, they learned about making those responsible decisions. And although it’s only been a week, they seem to be learning something.
“I have heard that kids are using that in practice and with some of the things, ‘We learned this so we’re able to do that.’ So putting it into practice is what we’re hoping,” said Bradley Foss, principal.
Kids already looking forward to the rest of the program.
“Looking at the side effects and writing about different things just learning about what’s not good and what’s good for you and how to stay away from drugs and alcohol,” said fifth-grader Vivian Villalobos.
“I want to learn about ways to prevent alcohol drinking, to stay away from chewing that sort of thing,” said fifth-grader Brandon Spacher.
At the end of this 16-week program, the school will have a graduation ceremony around February.
The Williston School District is sending two school resource officers to D.A.R.E training so they can teach it in their schools as well.