BUCKHANNON — The new courses for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program launched this week at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School. Upshur County Sheriff’s Deputy Crystal Linger accepted the instructor role as the county’s D.A.R.E. Officer and took the required training in order to teach the courses to students.
Linger completed the training for D.A.R.E. back in September, which comprised of 80 hours in two weeks. The students’ participation in the program will be a 10-week course, about three to four times a week, starting with the sixth grade.
“I am very excited to begin teaching the new D.A.R.E. “Keepin’ it REAL” curriculum this week at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School to the sixth-grade students,” Linger stated. The REAL acronym stands for the four ways to refuse drug offers: Refuse, Explain, Avoid and Leave. Linger mentioned that the new curriculum of the program continues many of the strengths of the previous D.A.R.E. lessons. There will be different opportunities offered for students to practice the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model and apply it to real life situations.
The new theme of being safe and responsible provides a framework for teaching about decision making, risk, stress, communication and peer pressure, while providing youth with the information about drugs they need to make informed choices. The skills are also taught through stories. “This includes videos, role-play and journaling to give students the opportunity to practice skills, write and plan for the future,” Linger added.
The core concepts of the 10-lesson curriculum will focus on: exercising self-control, identifying the risks and consequences of choices, making safe and responsible decisions, communicating confidently, and becoming safe and responsible citizens. Linger stated “I’m delighted I was chosen to send the message that we want our kids to make smart choices and well-informed decisions.”
Upshur County is very grateful for its members of the community who provide the knowledge and encouragement necessary for our youth and take the opportunity to explain the importance of drug resistance and awareness. Deputy Linger stated, “As I like to say, be careful with your choices - your choices matter!”