Law enforcement officers and school officials are working together to bring a nationally recognized anti-drug program into Lawrence elementary schools next semester.
Douglas County Sheriff Loren Anderson along with officers Kathy Tate and Steve Brown met recently with Bob Taylor, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for Lawrence public schools, to discuss arrangements that would allow the officers to teach Project DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) to sixth-graders.
Under the program, developed in 1983 by Los Angeles police and school officials, the officers would teach 17 weekly, one-hour courses on subjects including the consequences of using and not using drugs, ways to say no, building self-esteem and assertiveness, and managing stress.
IN NOVEMBER, Tate and Brown graduated from an instruction course for the program and now are certified Project DARE teachers. Once the program is under way, they will spend one day a week at the schools chosen to receive Project DARE.
Anderson said that because of his department's manpower limitations, the program probably will be offered to only two schools. He said Tate and Brown cannot handle much more than that along with their usual duties.
Taylor said Tuesday that he will spend the next few weeks taking information about Project DARE to elementary school principals and to the school board to find out how many schools are interested in having the program.
He stressed that Project DARE wouldn't be the first anti-drug program to be offered at Lawrence public schools. He said the school system has adopted a number of programs, such as Project STAR, since 1982.
AFTER OBTAINING a pool of interested schools, he said, officials will begin narrowing the field. Schools that receive Project DARE will be chosen on the basis of their location and whether their class schedules coincide with the officers' schedules.
Arrangements for Project DARE already have been made in Eudora, where Greg Dahlem, a Eudora police officer, will teach the course beginning Jan. 4 in Nottingham Elementary School.
The Baldwin Police Deparment also is working to put the DARE program in its schools, although all the details have not been completed.
Mike Ross, the only Baldwin police officer certified to teach the class, left the department to take a job in Johnson County.
Sgt. Steve Butell, who oversees the daily operations of the Baldwin Police Department since the city's police chief resigned, said he is working with Ross to see if he still is able to teach the course around his new job schedule.
If Ross is unable to teach, Butell said he would look to the Douglas County Sheriff's Department for an instructor.
Classes in Baldwin are to begin in early January.