D.A.R.E program ends in Tulare County schools

July 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A long-time South Valley program aimed at steering kids away from drugs and alcohol has come to an end.

Students at Tulare's Elementary School District have long enjoyed the getting one-on-one education from local police officers as part of the D.A.R.E program, or Drug Abuse Resistance Education.

"They would give daily instruction in the schools in regards to alcohol abuse and then gang activity," said Darron Altermatt with the Tulare police dept.

Officers would even take some students on field trips, like a 2012 trip to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

Citing budget restraints, the police department and school district have mutually decided to end the program.

"It was a sad chapter to close and we took a lot of thought and time before we did so it was something that we had been considering over the last year or so," said Clare Gist, Acting Superintendent of Tulare City School District.

The program was costing the district nearly $150,000 a year and it had lost its recognition by the state as an approved drug and alcohol education program. Since then, administrators have provided additional programs to its 6,500 students in kindergarten through sixth grade, and used the D.A.R.E. curriculum as a supplemental program.

When officers realized they had to travel out of California in order to get new training for D.A.R.E, they said the costs were just too much.

"We've had a wonderful relationship with the police department and we've really appreciated, we're going to continue that relationship with our resource officers," Gist said.

While students will certainly miss the daily presence the two Tulare police officers had on campus the police department says they will still be giving presentations to students on gang-awareness and cyber bullying.

The two D.A.R.E. officers have been reassigned at the Tulare Police Department.


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