D.A.R.E. Program Continues to Thrive in Comal ISD

(Comal County, TX)--Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Lanigan said he thinks he has one of the best jobs in Comal County.

If you saw the looks on the faces of the students in his Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) program classes at Rebecca Creek Elementary on September 21, it would be hard to argue with him.

“During the course of the program I can see the kids gaining self confidence, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about having the confidence to make the right decisions throughout their lives,” said Lanigan, who has been teaching the D.A.R.E. program in Comal ISD schools for seven years.

During the course of the 12-week program, taught to Comal ISD fifth graders each year since the 1980s, D.A.R.E. officers stress the importance of making healthy decisions and choosing friends wisely, and about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, bullying and peer pressure.

Students meet for one hour per week for D.A.R.E classes. When the program ends, students have a graduation ceremony at their campus in which they receive a certificate, a D.A.R.E. t-shirt and a visit from D.A.R.E. mascot Daren the Lion.

Lanigan teams with fellow Sheriff’s Deputies Linda Bowen and Cpl. Adam Pastrano to teach classes in Comal ISD elementary schools in both the fall and spring semester.

“Officer Lanigan makes things very easy to understand,” said Rebecca Creek Elementary student McKenzie Malish. “It’s great to learn what to do if we’re put in bad situations, but it’s also nice to know we have a police officer that’s a good friend.”

Comal County Sheriff Bob Holder has seen the D.A.R.E. program grow through the years.

“Part of our job as officers is doing everything we can to help our young people be successful now and in the future,” Holder said. “That’s what this program is all about.”

Lanigan is also a Senior Resource Officer at Canyon High School.

“I get a great sense of pride when I see some of the kids all grown up at the high school or even after they graduated letting me know what I taught them in the D.A.R.E program really does make a difference,” he said.

D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and is now implemented in 75 percent of the school districts in the U.S. and 43 countries worldwide.

Rebecca Creek principal Jodi Wymore said D.A.R.E. is a valuable asset to any campus.

“The kids really get excited about D.A.R.E. day,” Wymore said. “It’s a wonderful program. It’s not just about saying no to drugs, it teaches them about making good choices every day and that’s a great thing.”

IN PHOTO: Comal County Sheriff’s Deputy Ron Lanigan works with Rebecca Creek Elementary fifth-grade student Saida Grabowiecki during a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) program classes at Rebecca Creek Elementary. The D.A.R.E. program has been taught to Comal ISD fifth-grade students since the 1980s.