It’s the season of D.A.R.E. graduation in Eastern Idaho. Madison County School District 321 just had its graduation last week. The D.A.R.E. program was established in 1983 to help educate children on the danger of drugs and violence, said Officer Shawn Scott, school resource officer in Rexburg.

D.A.R.E. is an acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. A curriculum called the “Dare Decision Making Model,” teaches children that it also stands for define, assess, respond and evaluate.

Officer Scott is assigned to work with the fifth and sixth graders at Madison Jr. High School and Kennedy Elementary in Rexburg. He teaches the students about the importance of making good decisions.

His favorite part of this assignment is being able to associate and spend time with the children during the day and at recess, Officer Scott said. He enjoys building a relationship with them and their parents.

“I’ve really fallen in love with the D.A.R.E. program,” he said. “It’s grown on me. I’ve seen the effectiveness in it, and it’s won me over. I’m definitely a believer of the effectiveness of D.A.R.E.”

The students spend a trimester learning about the program, and at the end of the year they get to graduate from it. On the day of their graduation the students hear from a guest speaker who shares personal stories of accomplishing hard things and making hard decisions.

Officer Scott explained that there have been many success stories over the years from officers who have been a part of this program. Officers have seen children turn to the principles they were taught in school and become better citizens because of them.

Students are encouraged to get involved with D.A.R.E. Officers in the area are looking for students to volunteer with car washes and the 4th of July and Pioneer Day parades.

The Madison County Sherriff’s Office also does a junior deputy program, where the kids can help with the D.A.R.E. program and get involved with activities. They can contact Officer Scott at the Rexburg Police Department or Corporal Moroni Burton at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office for more information.

Officer Scott reminds the students there are two things that will rob people from opportunities in life, addiction and bad choices.

“Addiction makes your choices for you, so you don’t get to make the choice,” he said. “The second thing is you lose opportunities when you make bad choices. Sometimes we can get those opportunities back and sometimes we can’t. It’s the consequences that come from that.”

When students participate in D.A.R.E., they will learn the importance of getting good grades, going to school, and making good choices, Officer Scott said.