Graves school resource officer trains as DARE instructor, starts classes | News
GRAVES COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Graves County Schools’ resource officer John Cavin recently finished two weeks of DARE America training through the Kentucky State Police in Campbellsville to qualify as a DARE instructor.
“DARE stands for Drug Awareness Resistance Education,” he explained. “There were 20 officers and deputies from all over Kentucky and as far away as Kansas who graduated from our training. One person from a provost marshal’s office came from 29 Palms, Calif. The training consisted of 78 hours, two full weeks of instruction, as well as lots of homework. In my 19 years of working in law enforcement, this training was, by far, the most demanding I’ve had.
“DARE is a police officer-taught lesson plan set in sixth grade for the Graves County Schools,” Cavin continued. “It’s designed for students to be able to say no to drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and to their friends when they try to get kids to do something they shouldn’t. There also are sections on bullying, prescription drugs, and other related topics. It’s meant to be taught in a ten-week course, leading up to DARE graduation.
“I was trained in teaching this course to elementary students and a follow-up called ‘Keep It Real’ if our district chooses to use it for middle and high school levels,” he said. “The idea is to teach sixth graders, skip a year, and then follow up when those students become eighth graders.”
Since returning from the training, Cavin has taught the course one day per week since mid-February at Wingo, Fancy Farm, Symsonia, and Sedalia elementary schools. He’ll conduct training next fall at Central, Cuba, Farmington, and Lowes elementary schools. Then, he’ll return next spring to the four elementary schools where he currently teaches.
“A police officer in Los Angeles, Calif., inaugurated DARE in 1983 and I understand it has been taught here before,” Cavin noted. “I think some people across the country have looked at DARE as a save-all on its own. It is very effective tool, but it requires support from families, parents, communities, and schools to succeed, especially the way society has changed. Hopefully, we can change somebody’s life.
“When DARE first came along, it was mainly a lecture presentation,” he continued. “Now, it’s much more about helping a child understand there are other options. You can say no. Just because someone asks a child to do something doesn’t mean that child has to do it.
“There’s a DARE planner workbook, free from the state,” Cavin said. “There are things to do as an individual and in a group. There’s also a DARE box that a couple of students make so that students can submit questions for the officer to answer without having to ask it directly in class. We also want students to know that police can be positive, even if their parents might sometimes get in trouble with the law.
“I hope our parents and community get involved and support their kids in this effort,” Cavin concluded. “We’ve got to do something or we’ll lose our most valuable asset: our kids.”
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