By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

This past may, we told you how Rockingham County's DARE program was in jeopardy. The school board agreed to fund the program through the end of the school year. But classes start back up in just a few weeks...and it looks like the program may be gone for good.

The DARE program paid for deputies with grants and now there's no state money to pay them. “We were unable to get those grant positions refunded because of those budgets that we're in right now,” said Sheriff's Don Farley.

That's bad news for people like Deputy Jo Ellen Emswiler.

“I have done everything in the department from road deputy to dispatcher, drug task force, everything. And I honestly loved the school resource probably the best because it was the most fulfilling,” said Emswiler.

Emswiler worked at Turner Ashby, but with the other positions cut, she's been sent to work in the jail.

It meant the most to me and my kids, I miss my kids already,”

Each of Rockingham County High Schools will still have a resource officer that will occasionally work with the middle and elementary schools.

Meanwhile, Emswiler says she's still reaping the benefits of her work in the schools. “I just had one of my little girls come by yesterday. She finally got her GED and she's going to start at vo-tech when school starts again in the criminal justice program and i'm like yes!” exclaimed Emswiler.

Sheriff Farley says they have applied for a few more grants as a last-ditch effort to restore the DARE program. He should get an answer within the next few weeks.

The DARE program has also been cut in Staunton and Page County.

Extended Web Coverage

What is D.A.R.E.?

  • The D.A.R.E. program has three main goals:
    • 1) D.A.R.E. seeks to provide students with a knowledge base on the effects of drug abuse that go beyond the physical ramifications and extend to emotional, social, and economic aspects of life.

    • 2) D.A.R.E. aims to build decision-making and problem solving skills and strategies to help students make informed decisions and resist drug use, peer pressure, and violence.

    • 3) An integral part of the D.A.R.E. program is to provide students with alternatives to drug use.

  • D.A.R.E. is a universal program designed to reach the general population, rather than "at risk" groups.

  • It is most often implemented in the fifth and sixth grades.

  • The curriculum focuses on knowledge and skill development in seven areas:
    • 1) cognitive information
    • 2) recognizing pressures
    • 3) refusal skills
    • 4) consequential thinking and risk taking
    • 5) interpersonal and communication skills
    • 6) decision making
    • 7) positive alternatives

  • D.A.R.E. is instinctive in its approach in that specially trained, uniformed police officers conduct the lessons in the classroom.

  • While officers actually conduct the D.A.R.E. lessons, a licensed teacher is required to be present in the classroom. That teacher is expected to reinforce the D.A.R.E. material by integrating its objectives into the general curriculum for the particular grade level.

  • The lessons provide factual information about drugs, with an emphasis on gateway drugs (marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco), and teach refusal skills through role-playing and other techniques.

    For more information visit our source:Overview of the D.A.R.E. Program

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