Upshur sixth graders set to receive drug prevention education
BUCKHANNON — Sixth graders at Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School will begin receiving a revamped drug prevention education program in January.
The 10-week Drug Abuse Resistance Education program will be taught by court security officer and bailiff Crystal Linger who has completed the required training.
Lt. Mark Davis updated the Upshur County Commission Thursday and said the Family Resource Network of Harrison County had provided support.
“The [Upshur County] board of education is on board with this completely,” he said. “They have done everything they can possibly do to make this happen. It’s been a community effort. The commission has been behind this and we appreciate that so much.”
January’s return of DARE by the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department will end a 17-year absence of the program in Upshur County Schools.
“I truly believe if we get to these kids, we win,” he said. “This is going to be a step to be getting back in to doing that.”
Linger thanked the commission and sheriff’s department for the opportunity to become a DARE instructor.
“I work in the circuit court so I see what drugs do to families every day and it’s awful,” she said.
In September, she traveled to Maryland for a two-week 80-hour training which she described as the toughest training she has completed.
“I had great mentors,” she said. “Along with my 32 peers, we learned how to teach this curriculum the way it needs to be taught. Our goal is to teach kids about making good choices and about having a positive interaction with law enforcement.
“With these lessons, students will learn how to practice tough, practical decision-making activities with other students,” she said.
Linger said she has been working with Upshur County Middle School to schedule the classes and her goal is to be complete by early April.
To reach all the sixth graders, she will have an average of 43 students per class and teach three to four classes a week.
“My goal is to get these lessons taught, make it as fun as possible and have a positive impact on these kids lives,” she said. Elizabeth Shahan, executive director of Harrison County Family Resource Network, said her organization will soon change its name to West Virginia Prevention Solutions.
“We are one of six prevention lead organizations in the state,” she said. “Anytime there is an opportunity to engage with partners in any community we have, we are able to allocate those federal dollars down to the grassroots level.”
Shahan said it must be an evidence-based program or evidence-based strategy.
“We are glad to be a part of Upshur County making things happen,” she said.