Empower DC is based upon Project Alert, a research-based substance abuse prevention program, and it consists of twelve lessons that are being implemented through PE classes and DC Proud, the middle schools’ character education program. Each Middle School Resource Officer (SRO) presents the lessons about drugs and the dangers of drugs. These lessons provide SROs the opportunity to build positive, mentoring relationships with students within the schools they serve. In smaller groups, middle school teachers lead Empower DC lessons that focus on pressure and resistance skills. Empower DC lessons to incorporate developmentally appropriate videos with real-life situations that prompt discussion, brainstorming, and role-playing. Also, lessons include a follow-up ‘homework’ aspect to promote conversation between students and parents/guardians or other trusted adults.
While the most significant risk of drug use occurs in early adulthood, Davie County Schools wants to ensure that students are well prepared for the challenges they will face and are empowered with the skills to make good, healthy choices that will support a prosperous future!
DRUGS: You use, you lose
Lead SRO, Jeff Jones, has served at Davie County High School for 9 years. Each year, he teaches drug awareness and prevention lessons to all freshman, approximately 400 students, through Health/PE classes. His current lesson topics include the dangers and consequences of vaping/Juuls, marijuana (including synthetic, DAB pens, and wax), prescription drugs, heroin, fentanyl, and meth, but he continually revises his information and lessons to stay up-to-date and relevant.
Officer Jones incorporates a video with testimonials from young adults who were addicted and charged with drugs as a youth. He also presents a scenario about being at a party where drugs and alcohol are present. Students engage in discussion about whether it is okay to attend even if they are not participating. Officer Jones says, “I emphasize that surrounding yourself with the right group of friends is one of the most important decisions you will make. You are who you hang around with. If you are making new friends and they are making bad decisions and using drugs, it will be very hard not to follow in their footsteps.”
Furthermore, Officer Jones realizes the importance of teaching and talking with all students during their freshman year in high school. “I have found that this makes me more approachable for the kids to come up and talk to me when there is something wrong.” Ultimately, connecting with students and building positive relationships enables him to ensure school safety better.
Davie County Schools is grateful to have a strong partnership with the Davie County Sheriff’s Office and dedicated SROs who serve and protect students across the district. Together, we will work to empower all students to make good choices and encourage them to stay drug-free!
Smoking areas at school are a thing of the past, and the days of cigarettes and lighters confiscated at school will soon be a memory. As suspension reports come into the superintendent's office, I cannot help but notice the significant increase in the number of suspensions related to vaping and juuling this school year. These incidents are just the ones reported and addressed. This special edition of School Matters will help alert parents to this growing and dangerous trend. Please take a moment to review the following resources:
A healthy learning environment is free of alcohol, tobacco products, and drugs. The possession, use, distribution or sale of these substances in any form is prohibited on school property. The term “tobacco product” means any product that contains or that is made or derived from tobacco and is intended for human consumption, including all lighted and smokeless tobacco products, as well as electronic cigarettes, vaporizers, JUULs, MODs, and other electronic smoking devices even if they do not contain tobacco or nicotine. See Board Policy 4300, Student Behavior Policies; Board Policy 4320, Tobacco Products - Students; Board Policy 4325, Drugs and Alcohol; Code of Student Conduct.
We realize that it takes a village...Davie County Schools will continue to partner with parents and the community to equip and empower our students to be the best they can be.
William P. Steed, Ed.D.