Hampden Elementary Celebrates A D.A.R.E. Graduation
Towson, MD (December 16, 2010)– Twenty-four sixth grade students at Baltimore’s Hampden Elementary/Middle School #55 celebrated the Culmination of their ten-week Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program yesterday at a graduation celebration with Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke and Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld. Officer Bexley Collins, D.A.R.E. Instructor for the Northern District, and Principal Dr. Judith Thomas joined forces to bring the prevention education message to Hampden. Students were presented with graduation certificates from both the Baltimore Police Department and the Baltimore City Council for their commitment to a drug and violence free lifestyle.
Drawing from personal experiences, Councilwoman Clark spoke with students and attending parents about peer pressure and the ability to rise above negative influence. Commissioner Bealefeld delivered the keynote address in such a relaxed and down-to-earth manner, that it seemed more like a conversation. His message to students was about staying true to yourself, doing the right thing, and being a “good person” no matter what.
Drug Abuse Resistance Education is a prevention education program delivered by uniformed law enforcement officers in partnership with schools and other youth venues. Focusing on decision making, the program goal is to provide children with accurate information and the skills necessary to make healthy and informed decisions, recognize pressures to engage in negative behaviors, and demonstrate positive responses and behaviors. Social and personal issues such as drug abuse, bullying, and gang violence are studied by students, as well as learning skills to resist pressures and negative influences.
Debuting in Maryland in 1986, D.A.R.E. has recently been re-implemented in some Baltimore schools through a cooperative effort between local schools and the police. For more information contact the State D.A.R.E. Coordinator’s Office at the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions, an agency within the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (410-875-3426).