Elizabethtown Police presents anti-drug D.A.R.E. program for homeschool youngsters

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) — Elizabethtown Police hope to reach a new class of kids with one of the country’s most well known anti-drug programs. 

They’re taking D.A.R.E. into the home. 

Parents like Tesia Rivera teaches everything from 8th grade math to Kindergarten science — and she does it all out of her home.

“This used to be our dining room, and we’ve turned it into our classroom,” Rivera explained.

With four kids between the ages of 5 and 13, this homeschooling mom says she’s learned a valuable lesson when it comes to teaching her kids to stay off drugs.

“It’s also good for them to hear it from somebody other than me,” she said.

That’s why Rivera was among the first to sign her kids up for the new homeschool D.A.R.E. program offered by the Elizabethtown Police Department.

“I don’t have to tell you the drug epidemic is not going anywhere, and it seems to be getting worse,” said John Thomas, spokesman for the Elizabethtown Police Department. “We’re starting to realize prevention is far more effective than reacting to a problem that already exists.”

D.A.R.E is one of the oldest and perhaps most recognized anti-drug initiatives in the United States. Traditionally, it is taught to public school students in the 5th grade.

“I actually did the D.A.R.E. program as well in Arizona, and I remember how fantastic it was,” Rivera said.

It may not be the program you remember. The curriculum has expanded to include violence and bullying prevention, communication skills and decision making.

“If we reach only one student and prevent them from ruining their lives — or the lives of others — with drugs and addiction, then it’s well worth it to us,” Thomas said.

Police are not going door-to-door offering D.A.R.E. to homeschooled kids. Instead, it will be offered once-a-week for 10 weeks on Monday nights at the police department from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

The first class starts Jan. 22. 

Rivera’s oldest daughter may be the most excited. The family started homeschooling due to her medical needs.

“I had heard from my friends — because I had kept in contact with them — that the D.A.R.E. program was so cool,” said Tasia Rivera, one of Tesia Rivera’s children and students. 

Elizabethtown’s program is open to children of ages 10 to 12.

“The response so far has been overwhelming,” said Thomas. “We’re hoping this is not a one-time thing — that we can offer this to homeschooled students on an annual basis.”

To the Riveras, that’s a good thing. Only three of the four kids…

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