DARE to be different

CJ-1219-dare1-2KHOULKA/OKOLONA – Today’s children and youth face a lot of choices, but the fifth grade students at Houlka and Okolona schools will be better prepared to handle them now.


The Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Department partners with the schools to present the Drug Awareness Education Program and receives support from a bill submitted to the legislature by Rep. Preston Sullivan that provides for an assessment of fines to help pay for the program. Agent Keith Roberson works in the schools to oversee the 12-week program that educates children about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol and bullying and provides them with options to remain drug and tobacco free.


Roberson addressed students, parents and school faculty at graduation ceremonies last week abut the program which began in Los Angeles, California, in 1983 and is now taught in over 300,000 classrooms around the world.


“Saying no has to be ore than simply knowing alcohol and drugs are bad for you,” Roberson said, emphasizing that adult support for children at this stage in life is key.


“The D.A.R.E. program relies very much on the work parents do ahead of time,” Roberson said. “As a parent, you are a role model and hero in your children’s life.”


Houlka Principal Michael Gillepsie asked the fifth graders to take their knowledge forward with them through life.


“I challenge you to live your life free of tobacco and alcohol,” Gillespie said. “You have the tools now.”


“I’m proud of you for committing to stay healthy and make good life choices for your future,” Roberson said.