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Parents and families all over the country are currently concerned about the health and safety of our children. Communities are scrambling to try to find ways to keep our schools and classrooms safe. Minnesota D.A.R.E. has long been known as a program to prevent alcohol, drugs, and violence. However, we continue to find new and innovative ways to utilize our specially-trained law enforcement officers to form relationships with children, families, schools, and communities; our mission—to keep our children safe.
We are asking you to join Minnesota D.A.R.E. (our officers, parents, educators, and community leaders), in strengthening and engaging our local communities and schools, for the safety of our children. Our children are crying for our help. We are their role models and protectors. We need to listen to their pleas and come together for safe schools.
PREVENTION is the answer! Reaction solutions are too late. D.A.R.E. Officers and the D.A.R.E. program are a large piece of this solution. Minnesota D.A.R.E. has approximately 300 specially-trained law enforcement officers ready to meet this goal. But WE cannot do it without community support.
Quality relationships among our students and adults are necessary in our schools. We need available social workers, counselors, and school resource (DARE) officers to work with our educators and parents. We need social-emotional curriculum taught (the D.A.R.E. curriculum meets this standard) to cultivate social and emotional health. We need to connect to community resources, and respond to troubled students. Students need to have adults they can trust to report bullying or being threatened. We need to add resources to shut down bullying, discrimination and harassment while there is a chance to de-escalate conflict before it starts. We need to use technology to identify troubled students. Early assessments are necessary to address behavioral problem. And we need to work closely with parents to educate and advise them of potential problems.
D.A.R.E. has become so much more than just a drug and violence prevention organization. Our D.A.R.E. officers are telling us that they work with children who need assistance in many additional areas. Law Enforcement are exposed to children in traumatic situations everyday—homelessness, mental health issues, domestic violence, abuse, neglect, lack of food/nutrition, and the list goes on.
The D.A.R.E. program is the largest community policing program in Minnesota. Annually we instruct between 60,000 – 70,000 Minnesota students. The key to the D.A.R.E. program is the development of a relationship between law enforcement and children (this allows for a positive first exposure). For community policing to work; there must be a trust and confidence building initiative. It improves public safety by eliciting the input of stakeholders and responds to a neighborhood’s unique cultural and socio-economic dynamics; it is community-centered and human-centered programming. The DARE program integrates police, schools, parents, and communities. One of these groups alone is unlikely to succeed in directing a child’s behavior. DARE officers can reinforce the positive efforts of parents and schools.
DARE is a partnership with mission of keeping our children and families safe. Thank you for being a part of the solution!