Last week, 105 students in the fifth grade at Mountview Road School and Bee Meadow and Salem Elementary Schools completed L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs & Violence), a nationwide nonprofit that works with communities to help students understand the dangers of drugs and violence. The fifth graders were instructed by Detective Pete Hermans and Police Officer Stephen Manney of the Hanover Township Police Department.
Throughout ten weeks, the students received lessons on how to set goals, manage their emotions, make good decisions, and learn why steering clear of drugs, alcohol, and violence is vital. During the next school year, Det. Hermans and Officer Manney plan on teaching L.E.A.D. to the new fifth-grade classes at each school.
“We’re thrilled that attendance from the Hanover Township Police Department at one of our training sessions allowed a few schools in the town to implement L.E.A.D. as part of their school curriculum,” said Nick DeMauro, CEO of L.E.A.D. “It’s great that drug and violence prevention education has become a priority in Hanover Township. We’re excited that the students can apply the skills they learned during the program to other aspects of their lives.”
L.E.A.D. provides services “On the Street” and “In the Classroom” as it brings law enforcement and communities closer together. The “In the Classroom” program is taught by 3800 trained instructors in 41 states. L.E.A.D. has a proven effective, law enforcement-focused anti–drug, anti–violence curriculum for K-12 students in the U.S. The L.E.A.D. curriculum is taught throughout a 10-week program to educate youth on how they can make smart decisions without the involvement of drugs or violence.
Det. Hermans says that the Hanover Township Police Department shares the mission of strengthening the relationship between police officers and youth with L.E.A.D.
“We appreciate the organization’s efforts are put toward advancing police-community relationships. Teaching the program has shown us that L.E.A.D. does bridge the gap between police officers and communities, and the connection that we’ve built with the students over the last ten weeks has been incredible,” said Det. Hermans. “The students began to ask more questions about law enforcement and became more open with us as the program continued. It was nice having the kids greet us when we ran into them outside of the classroom, and we look forward to continuing that bond for many years to come.”
Officer Manney agrees that forming a relationship between students and law enforcement is a critical aspect of L.E.A.D.
“As their instructor, the children have gotten to know Det and me. Hermans on a personal level. It’s been incredibly rewarding knowing that the students don’t just view us as scary folks wearing a badge and uniform anymore,” said Officer Manney. “The kids have grasped that we’re normal people just like anyone else, and we’re confident that they’ll find us in the skills that L.E.A.D. has taught them throughout the rest of their school careers and beyond.”
L.E.A.D. provides the leadership, resources, and management to ensure law enforcement agencies have the means to partner with educators, community leaders, and families. L.E.A.D. succeeds by providing proven and effective programs to deter youth and adults from drug use, drug-related crimes, bullying, and violence. L.E.A.D. is committed to reinforcing mutual respect, goodwill, and relations between law enforcement and their communities.
For more information on L.E.A.D., please visit www.leadrugs.org