TORRINGTON – D.A.R.E. certificates and t-shirts in hand, several Trail Elementary fifth-grade students walked the stage at Torrington High School auditorium Monday morning as part of a graduation ceremony.
Torrington Police Department D.A.R.E. officers Beth Bryan and Larry Curtis led the event, which also featured reports on the program from individual students.
“You get the interactions with the students, and they get that interaction with you – even outside of D.A.R.E.,” Bryan, who has taught D.A.R.E. for approximately 10 years, said ahead of Monday’s ceremony. “It builds positive relationships with students and law enforcement.
“Basically, we’re teaching the kids how to make wise choices by using D.A.R.E. decision-making model.”
D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, “is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive, drug and violence-free lives,” according to the program’s website dare.org. D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and is now being implemented in 75 percent of U.S. school districts and in more than 52 countries around the world.
At the graduation ceremony, Curtis said the program is “evidenced-based, supported by the substance-abuse prevention community, and endorsed by the Surgeon General,” adding, “Beth and I also teach values … (including communication skills and making safe and responsible choices).
“For the police department, this program is an effective crime-prevention strategy. Through community partnerships … we can educate the next generation and help parents as they teach, mentor, and guide their children
to the future.”