Every sixth grade student at Southeast Lauderdale Middle School completed the D.A.R.E. program, which is a ten week course on drug and alcohol awareness, as well as giving them the tools to stand up to peer pressure and bullying. The program teaches students the truth about drug addiction to help encourage them to live a drug free life.
Deputy Robby McClure, who is the D.A.R.E. officer at Southeast, says, "It makes them aware of the facts, of the consequences for using drugs as well as the health effects, which is important to the youth that they understand the truth about tobacco and alcohol."
As part of the D.A.R.E. program, students had to write an essay summarizing what they learned. A winning essay was chosen from each period, and the winning students read their essay at the graduation.
"We've learned not to do drugs, and how to stand up to...if we see any peer pressure or bullying, and who to have in our help network."
"I've learned that taking drugs is never the answer and taking them causes serious health effects. You should always make a good choice and don't let peer pressure get to you, because if you do, you show people a side of you of someone you're not."
"D.A.R.E. has changed my life decisions. I thought about smoking a cigarette. I don't want to anymore because of what the D.A.R.E. program taught me. D.A.R.E. gave me good ideas on how to help people if they are on drugs."
For the first time in Lauderdale County Schools, Darren the Lion, who is the mascot of D.A.R.E., made an appearance at the graduation. Southeast Middle also honored the students with a pizza party after the graduation. Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie told the students that their graduation from the program is something that encourages his department.