The Houston Independent School District announced the return of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program to select HISD schools at a press conference on Monday.
“I am so very excited about D.A.R.E. returning to HISD,” Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said. “We are determined to ensure that all students not only receive a quality education but that they come to school not under the influence and prepared to receive that quality education.”
In partnership with state Rep. Jarvis Johnson, D.A.R.E. America, the HISD Police Department, and the Houston Police Department, the program will initially train 35 HISD PD officers and seven HPD officers on teaching evidence-based prevention education curricula to students.
“Millions of students from across the nation benefited from the D.A.R.E. program this year, and our HISD Police officers and students are proud to be a part of the program,” HISD Police Chief Pedro Lopez said. “Throughout my decades-long career as a public servant, it was always my goal and mission to do whatever I had to do to keep young people off dark and struggling paths, and the D.A.R.E. program is one way we can do that in HISD.”
The two-week training course will provide these 42 officers with the knowledge and tools to help school-aged children address bullying and make good decisions for safe and healthy living. The program will also create an opportunity for police officers and children to build positive relationships with each other and the community.
“It is important to change the recent dynamic by creating conversations that will help people understand one another,” Johnson said. “Through the D.A.R.E. program, police officers are working with children and talking with children – then (they) see those children differently and vice versa – thus creating that important dialogue and building those relationships.”
The D.A.R.E. program will be offered during the Spring 2021 semester at the following eight HISD campuses:
- Black Middle School
- Burrus Elementary School
- Highland Heights Elementary School
- Kennedy Elementary School
- Osborne Elementary School
- Washington High School
- Wesley Elementary School
- Williams Middle School
The program will also be offered to students in HISD’s Ascending to Men Project. For more information about the D.A.R.E. America program, visit DARE.org.