Kim Cranston, Rockwood School District chief communications officer, responded Friday evening to Patch inquiries regarding the recent step to eliminate the drug education program called Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program.
"This is a change in an instructional model; not a change in our emphasis or focus on educating students about substance abuse and the importance of making good choices," she said.
Beginning next school year, Cranston said district officials are expanding the scope of the instruction provided by the D.A.R.E. program to include students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
"The D.A.R.E. program is limited to fifth grade students. We are doing this (the expansion) through our health curriculum, which already addresses the same objectives and topics as the D.A.R.E. program," she said.
As part of the expanded curriculum, Cranston said police officers and other special guests will be invited to share their expertise with students on topics including drug-prevention, safety, bullying, peer pressure, citizenship and community service.
"These discussions will continue to allow students to have positive interactions with law enforcement officers and other adults," she said.