Families, community members, and school district and local government leaders filled the South Orangetown Middle School auditorium this morning for the 2018 Grade 6 DARE Graduation. “We are very proud of our students and thankful for the support from our school district and community for the DARE program,” said Interim Principal Dr. Chad Corey.
Through the DARE–acronym for Define, Assess, Respond and Evaluate–program, Orangetown Police Department Officer Elizabeth Muckell and Detective Brandon Myers meet with sixth-graders over the course of each fall to promote positive decision-making and share information about the risks of substance use.
Officer Muckell provided parents with an overview of topics covered during the program and stressed the importance of being informed and taking steps to help prevent drug, vaping, and alcohol use. She noted that the program had added lessons specifically targeting prescription drug use. “I challenge you to go home and look in your medicine cabinets. Get rid of any unused medication,” she said. “Put whatever you have in a plastic bag and drop it off at OPD. We’re open 24/7 and will dispose of whatever you have safely, no questions asked.”
At the end of the ceremony, Officer Muckell and Detective Myers congratulated the following 2018 DARE poster contest winners: Anna C., Jeddy R., Caiden N. and Kate H.
“This is an important milestone and it’s timed around the holidays, when students may be more aware of seeing family and friends drinking alcohol or sharing stories about the consequences of bad decisions others have made,” Superintendent Dr. Robert Pritchard told students. “We need to hear more stories about the good choices YOU make. Your stories are powerful. Sharing your stories can be a valuable gift that you give to others.”