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School Programs: Since 1990 The Hinsdale Police Department has presented the D.A.R.E. Program in all of Hinsdale Grade Schools. Our D.A.R.E. Officers present these D.A.R.E. programs. 

D.A.R.E. CORE PROGRAM Is a 10-week program designed to give young people the facts about drugs and alcohol and provide skills to resist social pressures to experiment with tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. The program helps children raise their self-esteem, teach them how to make decisions on their own and help them identify positive alternatives to substance abuse, and other destructive behaviors.

D.A.R.E. JR. High/Middle School Curriculum
The D.A.R.E. Jr. High/Middle School Curriculum is a ten-lesson program taught in consecutive days in Hinsdale Eighth Grade Classrooms in both public and parochial schools. The program reinforces and expands upon concepts learned in the core program. It gives specific information on the risks involved in using drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, inhalants, and cocaine. The program also talks about how to avoid violent relationships and develop good character.

For more information contact: D.A.R.E. Officer Kowal  or visit the official D.A.R.E. Website.

V.E.G.A. (Violence Education Gang Awareness) VEGA is a 5-week program taught to 6th grade students the year after the D.A.R.E. curriculum. It offers prevention strategies to deal with students at risk of gang involvement and violence. VEGA meets the goals of the Illinois State mandate to teach violence prevention and conflict resolution skills in all public skills.
Five Principals of VEGA

  1. Distributed Leadership - All students are capable of understanding, learning and performing leadership tasks.
  2. Heterogeneous groups - The most effective students groups are those which include different backgrounds, skill levels, physical capabilities, and genders.
  3. Positive interdependence and individual accountability- students need to learn to recognize and value their dependence upon each other. They are expected to participate. We sink or swim together.
  4. Social Skill acquisition - Working in a group requires the acquisition of specific social skills which can be taught and learned.
  5. Group Autonomy - When students learn to resolve their problems with little or no intervention from the teacher, they become more autonomous and self - sufficient. 



Frequently asked D.A.R.E. questions:

  • What is the mascot and what is its name? The D.A.R.E. mascot is Daren the Lion.  Daren represents the courage it takes to be your own person and say no to drugs, alcohol and violence.
  • What does D.A.R.E. stand for? 

          D = Drug
          A = Abuse
          R = Resistance
          E = Education

The D.A.R.E. decision making model is also based on the acronym:

          D = Define – what is the problem/challenge
          A = Assess – What are the options/choices and consequences of those options/choices?
          R = Respond - using the REAL strategies of Refuse, Explain, Avoid and Leave
          E – Evaluate – did you make a wise and healthy decision?

  • Who teaches D.A.R.E.? D.A.R.E is taught by local Police Officers who have been certified by D.A.R.E. America to teach the curriculum.  D.A.R.E. is taught by Police Officers, but is a collaborative effort between the Police Department, schools and parents.  D.A.R.E. curriculum is based on a 10 week program of 45 minute presentations each week.  There are also enhancement programs which include presentations to parents and the public.
  • When is D.A.R.E. taught? In Hinsdale, D.A.R.E. is taught to all 8th grade students.  In the public schools, it is also taught to 5th grade students.  V.E.G.A. (Violence Education Gang Awareness) is also taught to 6th grade students at several schools.
  • What if I have special needs? There are several versions of the D.A.R.E. workbooks, which include special workbooks for the visually impaired (Braille) and Spanish-speaking students.  We also work with the schools and the aides to assist with other special needs students.
  • What is “core curriculum”? In 5th Grade, D.A.R.E. covers:  the D.A.R.E. Decision Making Model, facts on and effects of alcohol and tobacco, making safe and responsible choices, resistance strategies (avoiding the situation, strength in numbers, walking away, saying no while giving a reason/excuse, and changing the subject), responding to pressure, signs of stress, evaluating your decision, communication styles, how to communicate effectively, bullying, and learning about a help network. In 8th grade, D.A.R.E. covers: Options, choices and consequences; risks and consequences; communication and conflict; the R.E.A.L. strategies (Refuse, Explain, Avoid, Leave); norms; feelings; and support networks.
  • What do I do if someone I know is using drugs? Tell a trusted adult!  That can be a parent, teacher, Police Officer, church member/clergy, or counselor.  The trusted adult will assist that person get help.  Remember, there is a difference between “telling” and “tattling”.  If you are trying to keep someone from getting hurt or in serious trouble, you are NOT “tattling” on them, you are “tellingsomeone so that you can get them help!
  • How can you tell if someone is using drugs? A major sign is a big change in behavior.  They may start eating/snacking a lot or maybe not eat at all.  Their group of friends may change or their grades may change drastically.  If you see any signs of drugs or drug paraphernalia (items commonly used to ingest drugs), that is your best sign that it is time to get help for that person.
  • Where can I find out more about the D.A.R.E. program? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Officer Kowal by phone or e-mail, or visit D.A.R.E.’s website.
  • What is the D.A.R.E. Lock-In? The D.A.R.E. Lock-In is a fun filled, drug-free night for 5th & 6th grade D.A.R.E. students from Hinsdale, Burr Ridge and Oak Brook.  It is typically held in April of each year at Hinsdale Central High School.  It starts at 5:30 PM and ends at 12:30 AM.   It includes a ton of fun, a Dare Lock-In t-shirt, pizza, snacks, games and much more!  Students should watch for the D.A.R.E. Lock-In 2020 registration form handed out during D.A.R.E. class.

For more information contact: D.A.R.E. Officer Kowal  or visit the official D.A.R.E. Website.