Fourth graders graduate from DARE program


Maple Lake Elementary Principal Kris Harlan didn’t shy away from the topic that was likely on the mind of many of her fourth-grade students and their parents at the graduation ceremony for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program on Thursday, Dec. 18.
“This has a little different feel in light of yesterday’s events,” Harlan said, referencing the bomb threat at the high school which disrupted classes and after-school activities throughout the district. “I’m very proud of my kids and staff. We’d never practiced an evacuation, but it went as planned.”
She was thankful that Deputy Bernie Williamson, the DARE officer, was at the school to assist with the evacuation.
“The plan is really good and, when it was put into action, it went off without a hitch,” Williamson said, before turning to the topic at hand.
He explained that the primary focus of DARE in fourth grade is on alcohol, tobacco, bullying prevention and peer pressure.
“Do you remember that bad decision I made as a kid?” Williamson asked the students. “I wasn’t alone.”
He joked about telling his boss he has so much fun at work, before introducing Sheriff Joe Hagerty.
“How many of you were afraid?” Hagerty asked the students. “Someone made a bad decision and it affected a lot of people. Our passion is to keep you all safe and I think we did that.”
More information appears in this week's Messenger.