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Officers Replacing D.A.R.E. With Another Prevention Program

April 4th, 2022 by Guest Communications


Written by: Pam McLoughlin, New Haven Register, Conn.  March 31, 2022


(TNS) – Two local police department detectives/youth officers recognized how the internet and pandemic have complicated life for young people, so they’ve developed an innovative program for kids to replace the long-running Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., program.

Officers Carolyn Bailey and Charles Knepper soon will begin teaching their tailor-made program, “Students of Orange Acting Responsibly” — or S.O.A.R. — to all sixth-grade classes in the town’s three-elementary schools.

“There’s more going on now they have to worry about,” Knepper said, and that includes social media, all the internet can bring and the stress and effects of the pandemic. “We want to be able to stop things before they get to middle school.”
The officers said they think D.A.R.E. is a great program, and part of the new curriculum will address the dangers of drug use, but it will reach wider and be tailored to the community of Orange.

The officers poured through police reports and spoke with school officials to develop the program for the specific needs of youth in Orange, they said. Knepper said cyberbullying, respecting property, respecting self and peers were identified as key topics, as well as managing stress, the later escalated by the pandemic.

The classes to be taught by the detectives will address the role of police in the community — including their helping role; internet, social media, and cellphone safety; drug resistance education; peer pressure and bullying; stress management; respect and communication, tobacco, vaping and alcohol education.
The overall goal of the program is to help strengthen the bond between students and local police. The police department hopes to teach juveniles “where they fit in the community, and how they can do their part to not only help themselves develop but help each other as well,” Police Chief Robert Gagne said.

“It teaches similar lessons as D.A.R.E., including drug resistance, but it is tailored to our community. It goes beyond what D.A.R.E. teaches,” Gagne said.

Superintendent of Schools Vince Scarpetti said the S.O.A.R. program will begin in April and “provide students with a bridge from the strong foundations of the D.A.R.E. program to the relevant topics not included in D.A.R.E., but necessary to support our students.”

“Their dedication and effort are greatly appreciated,” Scarpetti said of Bailey and Knepper. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Orange Police Department and providing opportunities for our students to build relationships with our school resource officers.”

D.A.R.E was developed in 1983 as a joint effort between the Los Angeles County School District and the Los Angeles Police Department.

Bailey, who taught the D.A.R.E. program for five years, said the local officers wanted to be more “proactive.”

“This is a program we truly believe in,” she said.

Bailey say they stress communication to the kids and emphasize the police are “just another trusted adult thy can talk to.”

Knepper said they will also teach students the importance of watching out for peers, even if they’re not necessarily friends.

“It’s looking for red flags from each other,” he said. “Even if you’re not friends, you’re still peers and you have a responsibility to take care of each other.”

The detectives will instruct each sixth-grade student at Turkey Hill, Peck Place and Racebrook schools. Each class will receive eight hours of instruction, culminating in a graduation ceremony at the end of the school year.


(c)2022 the New Haven Register (New Haven, Conn.)


This article appeared on Emergency Management News and is shared with consent: Officers Replacing D.A.R.E. With Another Prevention Program (


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