The Laredo Independent School District Police Department is taking one step forward regarding the safety of the district’s students with the implementation of the new Law Enforcement Against Drugs, or LEAD, program.
According to the L.E.A.D. website, the strategic relationship with the Mendez Foundation allows the opportunity to offer the most effective evidence-based tested and proven Kinder through 12th grade curricula delivered by law enforcement and educators in the United States.
The school-based drug prevention program utilizes the Too Good for Drugs and Too Good for Violence curricula which develops a framework of social and emotional skills that promote positive, pro-social attitudes and behaviors, while fostering healthy relationships, resistance to substance abuse and conflict, and resistance to negative peer pressure and influence.
The 10-week program was first offered at D.D. Hachar, Gallegos, and Macdonell Elementary Schools and will expand to all 20 LISD elementary schools this upcoming school year. The program will be primarily focused on third grade students and will be taught by 12 certified LISD PD instructors.
LISD PD Sargent and LEAD instructor Araceli Martinez mentions the importance of being instructors and how they teach students how to deal with circumstances that involve in-person and virtual bullying, drugs, vaping, gaming, etc. “As young students, these kids need guidance. We show them how to deal with stress at home and at school,” Martinez said. “The curriculum has interactive and critical thinking games in every single one of the 10 lessons that helps them with decision making. These games demonstrate the positive and negative consequences of those decisions. It’s something positive for the kids and we’re excited to move forward with it.”
Due to its success, 220 students graduated the program with a certificate of completion and crucial knowledge on important topics such as Goal Setting, Decision Making, Effective Communication, Anger Management, Media Literacy, Conflict Resolution, Social and Emotional Competency, and Pro-Social Bonding. Each of the lessons featured age appropriate approach, assessment and evaluation tools, enhanced cooperative learning, built-in classroom management, and a parent component. In order to build students’ self-confidence to make healthy choices and achieve success, the program uses Social and Emotional Learning to work through fun and interactive lessons.
“The implementation of the LEAD program at LISD is beneficial in many aspects. However, the most important aspect for me would be paving a promising path to my group of students. Seeing them smile as they interact with each other and apply the lessons in their day-to-day life is another plus,” LISD PD Investigator and LEAD Instructor Higinio Reyes said. “These students are the future leaders of tomorrow and I am beyond grateful to be part of their growth as a LEAD instructor.”
The L.E.A.D program helps promote positive, pro-social attitudes and behaviors, while fostering healthy relations, resistance to substance abuse and conflict, and resistance to negative peer pressure and influence.
“We look forward to working with all third graders,” LISD Police Department Chief Doreen Hale said. “I thought if we could save one life, one teenager, one child from a life of abuse, drug abuse, and even suicide then we’ve accomplished our goal. I’m really proud of this program.”
For more information on L.E.A.D., please visit www.leadrugs.org