Ninety-three fifth graders from Plantation Park Elementary School in Bossier City graduated from the D.A.R.E. program. Four students – one from each fifth-grade class – were chosen to read their D.A.R.E. essays, all which dealt with making good choices. Those students were Pau Khual of Tartarla Davis’ class; Ziare Carson of Jamie Dyche’s class; Mekahla Morgan of Karla Greene’s class; and Jaylon Joiner of Jason Ogunyemi’s class.
Principal Tonya Hilburn welcomed everyone to the graduation, prayer was given by D.A.R.E. student Destiny Scroggins, and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by D.A.R.E. student Jaylon Joiner.
Dep. Steve Phillips, Planation Park’s School Resource Office and D.A.R.E. instructor, was joined by Lt. Adam Johnson, Lt. Walt Hollis and Dep. Judy Williams of the Bossier Sheriff’s Office to congratulate the graduates on their outstanding achievement.
“We have a wonderful partnership together between Sheriff Whittington and Superintendent Smith which allows this to take place in our schools,” said Lt. Johnson. “We are one of only two parishes in the entire state of Louisiana that has P.O.S.T.-certified law enforcement officer in every single school.”
These students joined more than 950 other fifth graders in Bossier Parish schools who will graduate from the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program at 10 elementary schools throughout Bossier Parish this semester. A total of 1,700 5th graders will graduate D.A.R.E. in Bossier Parish this entire school year.
“Fifth graders, I want to congratulate you,” said Lt. Johnson. “This is not a very easy task, it’s a very tough task. I hope that when you leave that you won’t forget about the material you’ve learned. This is stuff you will use when you go to college, when you go to the workforce, everyday problem solvers, helping your community.”
Bossier Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. officers know they have their hands full in teaching 5th graders how to make wise life decisions as they move into middle school and face increased peer pressure. The deputies don’t sugarcoat the facts and ensure the children are as best prepared to deal with such things as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and bullying, and emphasize the importance of being responsible for their actions.
Principal Hilburn commended faculty and parents alike.
“I want to thank our parents and our teachers, and I’m so proud of our students,” she said. “These students are leaders not just in our D.A.R.E. program, but they’re leaders on our campus. Parents, you have a lot to proud of! The young men and women you are raising, they are going to change this world.”
The D.A.R.E program is a semester-long curriculum taught by Sheriff’s deputies that emphasizes good decision skills for young people to avoid bullying, drugs, violence and other harmful behaviors. Students are also taught confidence-building and coping skills.
Deputies teach the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model: D – Define: Describe the problem, challenge or opportunity. A – Assess: What are your choices? R – Respond: Make a choice. Use the facts and information you have gathered. E – Evaluate: Review your decision.