In 1992, the Streamwood Police Department, along with the combined efforts of D.A.R.E. America, educators, students, parents and the community, implemented the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, within the Village’s nine elementary schools.
The Streamwood Police Department encourages the philosophy of the D.A.R.E. Mission – “Teaching students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives.” By helping students learn of ways to avoid dangerous situations, recognize and resist direct and subtle pressures that may influence bad choices, and by learning social skills that will help enhance their self-esteem, the students are expected to become the future role models of their schools and neighborhoods.
The D.A.R.E. program is currently taught by two D.A.R.E. certified police officers, working primarily with 5th grade students in the classroom setting. The updated D.A.R.E. core curriculum - ‘Keepin’ it REAL,' takes a hands-on, social influence approach that emphasizes and aims to strengthen children’s refusal skills so they can better resist social pressures to try and use drugs. The program builds communication and decision-making skills, and allows children to rehearse learned strategies through role play with fellow students.
The 17-week Keepin’ it REAL classroom curriculum, taught one lesson per week, includes the following topics:
- Introduction and discussion of personal rights and general safety practices
- Drug use and misuse: The harmful effects from misuse of drugs
- Consequences: Consequences of using alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs
- Resisting pressures: Different types of pressures to use drugs are identified and discussed
- Resistance techniques: Students learn refusal strategies to combat peer pressure
- Building self-esteem: Importance of self-image and how to identify positive qualities in yourself and others
- Assertiveness: Personal rights and responsibilities and situations that call for being assertive
- Managing stress: Identifying stress and ways to cope with it without drugs
- Media influences: Discussion of movies, television, and advertising techniques
- Decision-making and risk-taking: Discussion of risky behavior and consequences of choices
- Drug-use alternatives: Other activities students can engage in besides drug use
- Role modeling: Role models that do not use drugs and older students that have stayed away from drugs
- Support systems: Types of support groups and barriers to friendship
- Gang pressures: Discussion of gangs and the consequences of gang activity
- DARE summary: DARE review
- Taking a stand: Discussion of how to stand up for yourself when pressured to use drugs
- DARE culmination: Award assembly and encouragement of participants to stay away from drugs
During the D.A.R.E. program the students experience the Fatal Vision Goggles, are visited by high school role models and the Police K-9 unit, and attend a special D.A.R.E. bowling event. In order for students to graduate at the conclusion of the program, and to help them remain accountable to themselves and others, they must write a 5-paragraph essay and present it in front of their peers.