Johnson brings D.A.R.E. program back to MMS

Published 2:35 pm Thursday, February 8, 2024

The Middlesboro Police Department and K-9 Sgt. Harvey Johnson, Jr., is partnering with Middlesboro Independent Schools to bring back the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. The initiative focuses on empowering students through substance abuse prevention and early education.

Johnson, who graduated from the D.A.R.E. Academy last September, started sharing the program with the fifth-grade class at Middlesboro Middle School in January and hopes to expand to more grade levels over time.

“I am genuinely excited about instructing these classes and connecting with the students at M.M.S. Having walked these halls years ago, I am grateful for the chance to give back,” he said. “Law enforcement broadens your perspective, and my goal is to engage with middle schoolers, establish a rapport, and guide them towards making good choices.”

The middle school curriculum, titled “Keepin’ It REAL,” emphasizes the strategies of Refusing, Explaining, Avoiding, and Leaving. It is interactive, evidence-based, and crafted to impart practical strategies easily recalled in challenging situations.

Middlesboro Chief of Police Petie Gilbert, a long-time resource officer at Middlesboro High School, is happy to see D.A.R.E. back in the schools.

“It’s been years since Middlesboro had a D.A.R.E. program, and I eagerly anticipate collaborating with the school district and SGT Johnson for the success of our community,” he said.

Founded in 1983, D.A.R.E. has earned global acclaim, implemented in numerous U.S. schools and abroad. Led by a trained police officer, the program empowers children to resist peer pressure and lead productive, drug-free, and violence-free lives. The curriculum addresses contemporary challenges, including drugs and opioids, teen suicide, bullying, social media safety, and vaping.

Middlesboro Superintendent Waylon Allen is also pleased to see the district working with local police.

“Our partnership with the M.P.D. has yielded numerous successful programs, including Sgt. Johnson’s ‘Ghost Out’ and ‘Fatal Vision.’ Sgt. Johnson has a knack for connecting with the kids, and we’re sure this new D.A.R.E. program will be another great addition.”

For further details about the D.A.R.E. program, contact Sgt. Johnson at the Middlesboro Police Department at 606-248-3636.