TILTON — Last year, Winnisquam Regional Middle School and the Tilton Police Department joined forces and piloted project LEAD, or Law Enforcement Against Drugs. This evidence-based prevention education program provided an opportunity to send the same anti-drug and good decision making message to approximately a third of the seventh-grade students. The feedback from participants was positive with many suggesting that we try to expand the training to more students.
At the start of this year, Tilton police and WRMS expanded the pilot to include all seventh-grade students with a long-term hope of finding funding to bring the program to all students at the middle school. In early October, Chief Cormier made a presentation to representatives from the Granite United Way. The outcome of this meeting was a generous donation by United Way to the Tilton Police to purchase the materials and training necessary to train the teachers and police and to provide every middle school student with a LEAD workbook. While it was a bit of a scramble, the training was completed, students scheduled, and starting on Dec. 1, all WRMS students will attend LEAD classes during enrichments on Fridays for 11 sessions per school year.
Cormier said, “We will have new generations of young officers interacting with new generations of students like never before and I think we will start to see the benefits of this almost immediately.”
By next year, they hope to expand the program even further, bringing in guest speakers, linking into the very successful Red Ribbon Week, and developing additional anti-bullying, anti-drug, and good decision making activities into the school. Cormier suggests that this partnership around LEAD will “show our [School, Police, and United Way] commitment to preventing the next generation of kids in our schools from experimenting with drugs or participating in bullying.”
Officers, teacher, and students at the first LEAD completion ceremony. (Courtesy photo)