County Executive Steve Schuh, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto and Police Chief Timothy Altomare have announced the reintroduction of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program to AACPS. The program, which aims to teach students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives, will serve to bolster the County’s education and prevention efforts to keep our children safe from drugs and drug addiction.
“Education is the key to ensuring the next generation of Anne Arundel County citizens understands the dangers of heroin and opioids,” said Schuh. “The DARE program helped a generation of children avoid drugs, and reinstituting it will be pivotal in preventing countless students from walking down the long, dark path of addiction.”
The program will start with students at Annapolis, Corkran, and Lindale middle schools and will be taught by specially trained officers.
“The inclusion of county police officers and the integration of D.A.R.E. principles into curriculum our counselors have developed and implemented will further the critical discussions we must continue to have with our students about the long-lasting effects that their decisions can have,” Dr. Arlotto said. “Our county Police Department has been an invaluable partner with us on many different fronts and this is yet another way in which we can help reach our children together.”
An exciting aspect of the kickoff of the program is the unveiling of our Anne Arundel County D.A.R.E police vehicle. D.A.R.E. vehicles typically have a custom graphic design that helps drive interest among youth and promotes the D.A.R.E. program. Local multimedia journalist Pete O’Neil was looking for a way in which area children can participate in something meaningful to the community when he learned Anne Arundel County was bringing back the D.A.R.E. program. A contest to create the design for the D.A.R.E. police vehicle was held. The winning design, shown below, was created by a group of children from the Boys & Girls Club of Freetown Village. The kids were recently recognized and rewarded with a breakfast hosted by Mr. O’Neil and the police department and provided by McDonald’s. The vehicle wrap was graciously donated by Shannon-Baum Signs & Graphics, Inc. located in Eldersburg, Maryland.
“I am confident that the return of D.A.R.E. will have a lasting effect on our youth as they grow to be productive members of the Anne Arundel County community,” Chief Altomare said. “I cannot thank Dr. Arlotto and Mr. Schuh enough for breathing life back into this partnership.”