Year-round D.A.R.E. program in place at JPS

When School Resource Officer Nick Hardy walks into any Jamestown public school his main goal is to bridge the gap between students and law enforcement.

John M. Steiner / The Sun School Resource Officer Nick Hardy stands in the commons area Wednesday at Jamestown High School. This is the first full year of the D.A.R.E. program, which Hardy is implementing with multiple grades at Jamestown Public Schools.

When School Resource Officer Nick Hardy walks into any Jamestown public school his main goal is to bridge the gap between students and law enforcement.

This year is the first full year of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. With that Hardy has the tools to reach out to students from kindergarten to high school.

"There are big problems in the area," Hardy said. "Mostly right now I'm trying to prevent them."

Hardy speaks to all students in certain grades about different topics at key stages of their lives as part of the D.A.R.E. program.

The biggest problem facing the district is the one he discusses with ninth-graders at the end of September -- prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse.


Pills fit in pockets, aren't detectable by drug dogs and with a sip of water provide a high comparable to marijuana, he said.

"The biggest problem we have in the Jamestown schools is prescription abuse," Hardy said.

An example Hardy gave is a student may come to school with a broken leg. The student has a prescription for the painkiller Oxycodone but doesn't take the pill. Another student with attention-deficit disorder comes to school without taking prescribed medication, and the two switch pills.

Starting on Sept. 29, all ninth-graders will hear Hardy speak about the problem, how to avoid it and how to report it.

Jamestown High School Principal Bill Nold said the work Hardy does not only helps the schools but the community as well.

"Anybody who doesn't get the message and runs into trouble with chemical abuse -- it becomes a community problem and a state problem," Nold said.

Hardy has already seen results through the text-a-tip program. Anyone, students or non-students, can text Hardy at 320-9503 and give an anonymous tip. He said he already turned one case over to the Narcotics Task Force this year about illegal prescription drug sales.

Educating students about the perils of drugs abuse is one of Hardy's first steps in being proactive and not reactive, he said.


The same applies to other groups of students that will see Hardy during the D.A.R.E. program.

Kindergarteners will meet Hardy next year close to the start of summer. He will use the time as an introduction and to offer safety tips. Some things he'll tell kindergarteners are not to play in the street, wear their bike helmets and never talk to strangers.

In January, Hardy meets with fifth-graders.

He will teach them the core D.A.R.E. program, which covers everything from alcohol and tobacco prevention to ways to avoid violence.

Hardy said it is important to teach this curriculum at fifth grade before the students jump to middle school.

Once in sixth grade, students will meet with Hardy again, this time to discuss bullying.

Hardy taught the curriculum last year and has already seen positive results.

"I've seen it work first in the bullying-prevention program," Hardy said. "I don't need a poll to see it works."


He does have results in a student's assessment after last year's course. A girl changed from a bully to an understanding student, he said, based on her answers.

The final group of students to meet with Hardy will be the ninth-graders on prescription drug abuse.

"You always want to be proactive and any program that can do that is a positive thing," said Superintendent Bob Toso.

Community donations helped Hardy get D.A.R.E. off the ground here.

Because of funding from Cavendish Farms, First Community Credit Union and American Family Insurance in Jamestown, 500 to 600 students will go though the D.A.R.E. program this year.

The funds are used for materials like workbooks, T-shirts and other giveaways like footballs with the D.A.R.E. logo.

"I'm going to try and do it every year," Hardy said. "As long as I can get funding I'm going to do it."

Jamestown has had similar programs in the past but this is the first full year that the district joins 75 percent of the schools in the nation with the D.A.R.E. program.


"It took someone like Nick Hardy to come along and discover the program and provide the leadership and move us in that direction," Toso said.

Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at

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