D.A.R.E students graduate with popcorn

June 2, 2023


The Villano View Staff

The website for D.A.R.E. explains its lessons: “General life skills education to support good decision making for a safe and healthy life.”

As a celebration for completing the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, sixth graders at Patrick M. Villano School watched the movie “Beyond The Spider-Verse” at Westwood Cinemas.

“The police department pays for this as a way of giving back to the community and school for passing along positive things learned in D.A.R.E.,” Officer Glenn Howard of the Emerson Police Department said.

Howard is the D.A.R.E. officer for Emerson, and he accompanied the students on the June 1 field trip. Throughout the school year, Howard taught students about making safe decisions. The sixth-graders read about good choices in special D.A.R.E. books and completed individual assignments to show their understanding.

“We’re trying to build the foundation for you [students] in the future to make the right choices to know what is and what’s not healthy for yourselves,” Howard explained.

According to the D.A.R.E. website, “D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.”

“Students learn about how to be a positive role model, affects of alcohol and tobacco use, and having open conversation with police officers about different topics that might come up,” Howard said.

Olivia Gagliardo, a sixth-grader, explains why she thinks D.A.R.E. is important.

“As we go into the high school, there is going to be a lot of people trying to tempt us into doing bad things and using peer-pressure to try and get us to do those bad things. If we know how to not do that and how to resist that we can make sure it doesn’t happen early on.”

Amanda Binetti, the school social-worker, assisted Howard during the lessons.

“Learning about the topics covered in D.A.R.E. is very important because it prepares our 6th graders for what they may be exposed to in middle school and high school,” Binetti explained. “The purpose of DARE is to prepare students for potential peer pressure, and it gives them the tools to say ‘no’ to things that are harmful and dangerous, like drugs and alcohol.”

Students learned several tactics to avoid peer pressure. Those tactics include staying in groups, changing the subject, avoiding bad locations or dangerous situations, walking away, using an excuse, saying no, or contacting a trusted adult.

“I think the 6th grade did a great job. I hope they can take what they learned for the future,” Howard said.

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