There are 14 schools in Washington County that received word this month that the D.A.R.E. program is being suspended.
D.A.R.E. is a Drug Abuse Resistance Education program designed to teach students to say “no” to drugs. The program is also designed to build a students’ social skills and improve their self-esteem.
Mary Woerner had been an instructor with the D.A.R.E. program through the Washington County Sheriff’s Department for 15 years.
For 10 weeks, she said, they would reach out to students in fifth grade before most experiment with drugs and alcohol.
“Critics often say D.A.R.E. does not work but it is an important piece of the prevention puzzle,” said Woerner. “D.A.R.E. teaches students the facts and consequences of drug abuse. It opens up communication between parents and children about drug use and it builds a lasting bond between students and officers.”
Woerner had seen the program changes lives. “I measure success in having a student come up to me years later and tell me how important the program was to them,” she said.
In an effort to save the program there is a grass root effort to show him the community support.
A web site, Save the Washington County Dare Program, was created Wednesday evening.
One of the posts from parent Jerilyn Kind notes “manpower” may have played a part in the decision to reportedly suspend the program.
Last month, Washington County Insider ran an exclusive story about Mary Woerner leaving the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in November to take a job in the private sector.
Woerner started with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in 1993 as a special deputy when Robert Schulteis was sheriff. In March 1997 she was hired full time and three years later she took over the D.A.R.E. program.
Calls have been placed to the Washington County Sheriff. I’ll bring you comments from Dale Schmidt later this morning.
More details on the Save the Washington County Dare Program are at www.facebook.com/groups/1727051987529416/?__mref=message_bubble