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Hancock 10th-graders to get DARE program

September 14, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

HANCOCK - Hancock sophomores will have some extra help this year in building their self-esteem and resisting drugs and alcohol.

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For the first time, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, known as DARE, will be offered to 10th-graders at Hancock Middle/Senior High School.

Administrators at North and South Hagerstown, Clear Spring and Williamsport high schools already had adopted the program for sophomores.

"I think it's a real positive influence, and reinforces values and good decision making," said Hancock Principal Robert Myers.

The extension of the program comes at a time when students are still new to high school and may be vulnerable, said Myers, who previously taught DARE in Frederick County schools.

The curriculum for 10th-graders focuses on the risks and consequences of substance abuse and shows students how to recognize and deal with anger constructively, said Hagerstown City Police DARE Officer Harold Feigley.

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Sophomores will take part in 10 lessons on social skills and violence prevention taught by local law enforcement personnel and classroom teachers.

The DARE program has been taught in Maryland schools since 1986.

"It will be similar to the middle school DARE but with more in-depth discussion on drug laws and consequences," said Feigley.

He said students will hear plenty of "real life" examples about topics such as dating, date rape and drinking and driving.

The teenagers learn about positive choices they can make when presented with such situations, said Feigley.

The high school DARE program fits well with the students' health education and life skills curriculum, according to Bonnie Forsyth, Washington County coordinator for safe and drug-free schools.

"It's extremely important to have sixth-grade DARE followed up in high school. It is one more opportunity to learn the skills necessary for refusal" of drugs and alcohol, Forsyth said.

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