Monday, June 21, 2004

Hendry Sheriff Switches Programs

This school year, school resource officers and sheriffs office
administration were faced with a decision whether or not to continue the
DARE program. Challenged with the tremendous expense of continuing the
DARE program and the lack of available funds, Sheriff Worley turned to his
resource officers for possible alternatives.
In March 2004, a pilot program was launched, introducing S.T.A.N.D. that
has concluded with a great deal of positive feedback from teachers, school
administrators and students.
S.T.A.N.D. (Students Taking A New Direction) is a new program offering
fifth grade students an educational classroom approach to prevent drugs and
violence, nurturing a positive development of recognizing and resisting
many direct and subtle pressures that influence the use of alcohol,
tobacco, and drug use.
Along with the anti-drug message taught by officers, instructors also teach
communication skills, self-esteem, empathy, decision-making, and conflict
resolution. The program is a ten (10) week presentation that offers
flexibility and the ability to take full advantage of teachable moments.
Whereas, the DARE program is very structured, instructors must be state
certified, attending a two (2) week training program, and may only be
taught by another current certified instructor, this sometimes causes
difficulty and scheduling inconveniences if an instructor is unable to
attend class due to an unexpected conflict.
The S.T.A.N.D. program is taught by certified law enforcement officers as
well, however, if a scheduling conflict arises, such as illness, or
required court appearance, another officer can easily substitute. If
instructors find that a particular portion of the curriculum is not well
received then it may easily be disregarded and another put in its place.
School resource officer, Ty Marshall, is currently assigned the
responsibility of a 1998 Pontiac Trans-Am, seized from a local drug dealer;
the sporty new car is seen at various schools, STAND functions, and
community events. The flashy custom graphic design was created and done by
Big Lake Cruisers Car Club from Clewiston. Big Lake Cruisers has supported
the DARE program for many years and will now support STAND. Print to Fit,
shop owner, Shannon Woosly, was able to provide t-shirts for the program
for less than $1,500, compared to over $5,000 for D.A.R.E. t-shirts. The
Hendry County School Board offered to print and bind the books needed for
students at no cost, eliminating another approximate $1,000.

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