198 graduate from first local program in 10 years
ABOVE: Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley addresses the 198 students who graduated Thursday from the first D.A.R.E. program in city schools in the past 10 years. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Bellefontaine school resource and D.A.R.E. officer, Andy Kennedy, speaks Thursday during the D.A.R.E. graduation ceremony at Bellefontaine Intermediate School. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)
The program that police officers around the country count among one of their most effective tools in combating drug abuse before it begins is alive again in Bellefontaine.
Thursday evening, after a decade-long hiatus, the Bellefontaine Police Department graduated a class of 198 fifth-grade students from its Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., program.
And it took a joint effort between the police department and city and school officials to plan, fund and bring the program to fruition, Chief Brandon Standley told the hundreds of parents in attendance.
“We felt this was a must do for our city schools,” he said. “We didn’t know how we were going to do it, but we did and I hope it’s here to stay.
“We have to get (youths) soundly grounded and in a position to make sound decisions. So if your back is turned and they must make a decision about drugs and alcohol, you can trust they are making the right decisions.”
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