For years the Headland Police Department has reached out to help students make the right decisions with regard to peer pressure.
“We have a new school year under way and our department is going to have a busy year,” said Headland Police Chief Mark Jones. “My goal is to show each child the dangers associated with peer pressure. Those dangers are more than alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. Those dangers include gangs, firearms, and bullying. I believe it is important to reach out to every child. Each child is important, and children are our future. So, it is our job to make sure they are educated on what to do and what not to do when it comes to peer pressure.”
The Headland Police Department offers different educational programs to students in elementary school, middle school, and high school. The programs are under the instruction of Lt. Dennis Cobb.
Cobb has taught the D.A.R.E. (drug abuse resistance education) program for more than 24 years. The D.A.R.E. program allows Cobb to educate the students on the dangers associated with drugs, tobacco, and alcohol, and includes a special section for students that addresses bullying.
“We want every child to know that bullying is not OK,” Cobb said. “We want the children to understand that if someone is being bullied, tell someone. The message also speaks to the bully.”
The D.A.R.E. program is taught to third- and fifth-grade students.
The Eddie Eagle program is sponsored through the National Rifle Association.
“This program is amazing,” Jones said. “The program is designed to educate students on what is the correct way to handle a situation when a child comes in contact with a firearm. Children are very curious and this program stops the curiosity when it comes to guns. Eddie Eagle educates the students, if they come in contact with a gun, to stop, don’t touch, and go tell an adult. The best piece of advice you can teach a child about a gun is don’t touch it.”
The Eddie Eagle program is taught to students in grades, kindergarten, first and second grade.
“Our G.R.E.A.T. Program reaches out to students in middle school,” Cobb said. “This program is intended to educate students on the dangers associated with youth violence and gang membership.”
The G.R.E.A.T. Program is taught to students in sixth and eighth grade.
For the high school students, Headland Police Department offers its Drunken Goggle Program. This program is taught around prom each year.
“The glasses allow students to see just how they are affected when it comes to drinking and driving,” Jones said. “We hope, by teaching this class just before prom and graduation, it will help students make the right decision instead of a decision that could end their life.”
Both Jones and Cobb hope each student will remember what they learn in each program. However, they will also be the first to tell you if the programs reach and save just one child, well the programs are working.