Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

December 1, 2012

Better decisions focus of D.A.R.E.

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — For one Garvin County deputy the D.A.R.E. program is a great way to bring elementary students together and show them the best ways to not only stay away from drugs but make better decisions.

Bryon Gordon is not only a county deputy but he's also the officer who teaches the D.A.R.E. classes, which stands for Drug Awareness Resistance Education.

During this holiday season Gordon wrapped up another semester of the program for students in five Garvin County schools with another three set to have their turn starting in January.

It was just last year the D.A.R.E. program made a triumphant return to the county after being absent for many years. In fact, the program came to some schools that had never experienced it before.

Now the program looks to be on solid footing and set on teaching kids, in this case in the fifth grade, about much more than just drug education.

“The D.A.R.E. program focuses more on life skills,” Gordon said.

“We do cover drugs and alcohol and tobacco, but we're talking a lot about peer pressure, bullying and making better decisions,” he said.

“It's all to help you make a good decision. I work to give these kids some tools to help them make good decisions.”

There looks to be an even greater emphasis on that next year as Gordon said the program will be revamped a bit with participating elementary students learning more about the decision-making process.

“It will be more focused on life skills,” he said.

“We'll be teaching life skills they don't necessarily learn at school or home.”

As an example, Gordon said kids are learning that just saying no to things like drugs doesn't really work.

Instead, the D.A.R.E. program looks to give kids the information needed to combat peer pressure from pushing them into such behavior as taking drugs.

One of Gordon's favorite parts of the program is the D.A.R.E. box.

It's this box that allows students to submit their own questions about all kinds of things. This alone seems to get many of the students fully involving in learning more.

“I allow them to be themselves,” Gordon said.

“Every week we have discussions on what they really think.”

Students completing Garvin County's D.A.R.E. program this semester were from Pauls Valley, Whitebead, Paoli, Elmore City-Pernell and Maysville.

 The schools lined up for next semester are in Wynnewood, Stratford and Lindsay.