Drug Awareness Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) is a national program created by Los Angeles Police Department Chief Daryl Gates in 1983 to educate young people about the dangers of using and abusing drugs.
The updated D.A.R.E. curriculum is called Keepin’ It REAL or “kiR”. Curriculum developers have shifted the focus in the new D.A.R.E. curriculum from officer-facilitated work and discussion groups to providing students with skills and information needed to make good life choices. Students are taught REAL strategies and skills to employ in refusing offers to use drugs and engage in other high-risk behaviors—Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave.
The program is offered to 5th grade students at Roy Waldron Elementary and Rock Springs Elementary School. Students have 10 weeks of lessons before “graduation” in May. At graduation, students receive T-shirts and a diploma.
At the end of the school year, graduates get to take a field trip that is sponsored by the D.A.R.E. program. Past trips have been to the Tennessee Aquarium and Nashville Shores.
Each year, the D.A.R.E. instructors teach “Stranger Danger” to first graders at La Vergne elementary schools. The lessons are designed as a precursor to the fifth-grade D.A.R.E. program. It allows the students to see the officers in a positive light and teach the dangers of strangers and drugs.