School Resource Officers (SRO) with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department will be presenting an updated D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse and Resistance Education) curriculum to Polk County elementary students beginning in January.

Officer Melanie Hicks will lead the effort, with other SROs helping.

D.A.R.E.’s “Keepin’ it REAL” elementary school curriculum continues a commitment of more than 30 years to providing effective instruction that helps prevent drug use by developing basic, core skills needed for safe and responsible choices – skills that extend well beyond drugs to healthy and mature choices in life.

The curriculum, designed based on the Socio-Emotional Learning Theory (SEL), identifies fundamental, basic skills and developmental processes needed for healthy development including:

  • Self-awareness and management
  • Responsible decision making
  • Understanding others
  • Relationship and communication skills
  • Handling responsibilities and challenges

The course’s 10 lessons are appropriate for elementary students and start with the basics about responsibility and decision making. The program builds, allowing students to develop their own responses to real life situations. The very first lesson starts with responsibility and introduces decision making.

SROs will be working with school counselors and principals to integrate the new DARE curriculum into existing social-emotional and citizenship lessons already being implemented in schools this spring.

Those with questions or who wish to learn more about the program are encouraged to contact a school counselor or Officer Melanie Hicks at the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.