Next week, the annual DARE program kicks off in Clinton Elementary School.
Clinton Police Chief Ben Lowers is one of the certified DARE instructors in the community and explains the curriculum focuses on effective communication and obviously drug, tobacco and alcohol awareness but it can also be modified to address issues of the day.
According to Chief Lowers, the DARE program has been under scrutiny due to its effectiveness. He believes even if they impact a small number of individuals, it is worth the investment.
For Chief Lowers, the DARE program also provides positive interactions between law enforcement and the kids in the school. The reality is many kids have already had negative interactions with law enforcement, but the Chief feels the positive nature of the program could change those perceptions.
Chief Lowers explains while the program is centered around drug awareness, they actually only spend one lesson on the dangers of drugs and instead focus on effective communication and making good choices.
Bullying is also a big topic of conversation and the Chief tries to instill lessons of understanding that those things kids send to each other never really go away.