The D.A.R.E. program has been taught to the six graders at Pittsfield Elementary School for several years now. The program is taught with the cooperation of the police, the school, and the parents. D.A.R.E. came about in 1983 out in Los Angeles California. The program came to New Hampshire in 1987. D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. If an officer is interested in teaching D.A.R.E. then they put in an application to their Chief. If they are selected to teach the program they attend an intense 2 week program to become a certified D.A.R.E. Officer. The D.A.R.E. program started as a 17 week course, teaching kids about the abuse of alcohol, drugs, and violence. At the end of the course the students are recognized for their accomplishments at the graduation ceremony.
The D.A.R.E. program has gone through some changes and the course is now 10 weeks long. The program still teaches students about the dangers of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and violence. They learn about ways to say no to the pressures to use alcohol and drugs. Students are giving a planner at the beginning of the course. In this planner they work on a variety of different things. They also work with a partner and in groups. There are various activities throughout the program that get the students involved and practicing how to say no to drugs and alcohol.
Students learn facts about marijuana and alcohol. They learn what happens to your body and how abusing drugs and alcohol can affect your body. Towards the end of the program students write a report talking about the things they have learned and how this is going to help them stay drug free and avoid violence. They also take a pledge to remain alcohol and drug free. Not only is it important for students to learn this, it is also important for them to get to know their police officers and see that they really do care about the community.
There are currently 1 certified D.A.R.E. Officer that instruct D.A.R.E. for the 6th graders at Pittsfield Elementary School. Officer John Webber joined the Pittsfield Police Department in 2005 and started his first D.A.R.E. classes at Pittsfield Elementary in 2006.
Both officers are involved actively with safety in the community. They give safety lectures at the Elementary School on bicycle safety, stranger danger, bullying, and other safety related issues.