This fall, 7th grade Trottier students may have a sense of deja vu when they head to health class. An old friend from the Southborough Police Department will be visiting to talk about the dangers of drugs.
The school is working with Southborough Police to incorporate D.A.R.E. into the lesson plan.
For years, Neary School 5th graders have had special “Drug Abuse Resistance Education” lessons with Officer Kevin Landry. Now, he’s moving up to work with the 7th graders, teaching follow up lessons as part of the school’s health class curriculum.
Superintendent Christine Johnson previewed the initiative at the June School Committee meeting. Trottier Middle School Principal Kieth Lavoie said that he’d been speaking with the school education officer, Kevin Landry, about it for a couple of years. It’s now officially in the works.
According to Johnson, Chief Kenneth Paulhus approved adding another officer to the program to make the expansion happen. Officer Aaron Richardson will be trained this summer. Paulhus clarified for me that Officer Richardson will take over the 5th grade education and Landry will head to Trottier.
Lavoie told committee members that the program will add on to teaching that was already being done. Both officers have already met with Trottier’s Health teachers to begin coordinating the DARE plan. It will be launched in September.
Not mentioned in the committee meeting – but likely linked to the new effort – was a deal forged between Town selectmen and CommCan.
The Medical Marijuana dispensary is scheduled to open in town this summer.* Many parents were upset about the proximity between the facility and the schools. As part of its agreement with the Town, CommCan agreed to pay $15K up front for education and policing.
Paulhus confirmed, that the Southborough Police Department hopes to tap into that budget for the expanded program. That’s still needs to be fleshed out this fall.
More information on the program was included with the school committee’s meeting materials. You can read that here.
It’s worth noting that the dispensary is on the hook for even more education and policing funds down the line. The agreement included payment of an additional $50,000 annually to fund prevention and intervention education through school substance abuse and mental health programs and/or be used for police expenses pertaining to the dispensary.
*The CommCan website still posts that Southborough will open in June 2018. But according to Chief Paulhus, the owners are now expecting to open sometime in July. A Detail Officer will be on site per the agreement when that occurs.
Updated (7/2/18 8:03 am): As two commenters pointed out, I had mistakenly shortened Officer Richardson’s last name. My apologies.