Brac students DARE to do better

The RCIPS has completed its Drug Abuse Resistance Education programme in the West End Primary and Creek and Spot Primary Schools in Cayman Brac.

Cayman Airways provided return flights for the instructor.

According to a press release from the RCIPS, the 10-week anti-drugs and violence presentation was carried out by DARE qualified, Seven Mile Beach Community Police Officer, Jon Siddall who flew to the Brac once a week and Cayman Brac Community Police Officer Rob Stewart.

PC Siddall said: ‘The DARE programme is very much about teaching children, normally aged 10 -11 about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and violence and what I aim to do is provide them with the skills needed to avoid and deal with situations involving any of these.’

The programme was founded in Los Angeles, USA in 1983 and currently operates in 53 countries reaching approximately 26 million children each year, says the release.

PC Siddall added: ‘The DARE curriculum is designed to be taught by police officers whose training and experience gives them the background needed to answer the often sophisticated questions posed by the young students about drugs and crime.

‘The programme goes beyond traditional drug abuse and violence prevention programmes.

‘It gives the children skills needed to recognize and resist the subtle and overt pressures that cause them to experiment with drugs or become involved in gangs or violent activities.’

DARE is universally viewed as an internationally recognized model of community policing. The United States Department of Justice has identified how DARE benefits local communities, the release notes:

• DARE “humanizes” the police: that is, young people can begin to relate to officers as people;

• DARE permits students to see officers in a helping role, not just an enforcement role;

• DARE opens lines of communication between law enforcement and youth;

• DARE Officers can serve as conduits to provide information beyond drug-related topics;

• DARE opens dialogue between the school, police, and parents to deal with other issues.

PC Siddall added: ‘I have really enjoyed instructing the course in the Brac and found the children to be keen, engaging and a pleasure to teach.’

Classroom Year Six teacher, Margaret Juman said: ‘I believe that the DARE programme is vital for the success of our children, especially during their teenage years. It enhances their lifestyles by providing them with the medium through which they can learn how to say ‘no’ to drugs, resist the negative pressures of peers/adults, realize the dangers of drugs and how it can destroy their lives, as well as those around them.

‘PC Jon Siddall and PC Rob Stuart did a splendid job in preparing the Year 6 students on the Brac to be drug free.’

The programme was sponsored by Cayman Airways which gave PC Siddall complimentary flights to and from the Brac every week. The RCIPS has extended a huge thanks to the company for making this possible.

‘The DARE program provides children with skills to resist negative pressures, strive for a positive lifestyle and aspire to be laudable citizens,’ commented Cayman Airways CEO & President, Michael Adam. ‘Cayman Airways Express is pleased to assist in bringing this internationally recognized programme to the children of the Sister Islands.’

A graduation ceremony will be held for all the students later this year.