Rossford Police Department introduce anti-drug, anti-violence program in the classroom

ROSSFORD — The Rossford Police Department today began teaching Law Enforcement Against Drugs & Violence at Rossford Elementary School and Rossford Junior High School.

Wesley Socie, a city police officer, will instruct kindergarteners and students in the first and second grade, while sixth graders will be taught by Jodi Johnson, another police officer. Around 140 students in each of the grade levels will learn how to strengthen their goal setting, decision making and communication skills in addition to receiving age-appropriate lessons on the dangers of bullying, drugs and violence.

“We’re thrilled that the implementation of L.E.A.D. in Rossford will promote an emphasis for students in the town to be educated on the importance of drug and violence prevention,” said Nick DeMauro, CEO of L.E.A.D. “We welcome the Rossford Police Department into our family, and we’re glad that their attendance at one of our trainings has allowed L.E.A.D. to expand in Ohio.”

L.E.A.D. is taught by 3,000 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 over the course of a 10-week program to educate youth on how they can make smart decisions without the involvement of drugs or violence.

“To apply the skills that they’re obtaining throughout the program, the children will get to play games and interact with one another during skits, so Officer Socie and I are excited to see how they’ll react,” Johnson said.

She said that the curriculum is well laid out and easy to teach.

“It’s crucial that the kids understand the lessons that L.E.A.D. advises on early on in their lives, so I think it’s beneficial that some of the youngest students in the schools are going to be involved in the program,” Johnson said. “We know that they’ll start to be exposed to peer pressure as they get older, so we hope that the foundation they’ll develop will help them to withstand it and remain drug and violence free.”

By giving students the opportunity to be instructed by a police officer on crucial life skills, L.E.A.D. is bridging the gap between police and community, which is one of Johnson’s favorite aspects about the program.

“It’s common for children to fear police officers, but I believe that getting to interact with us in this kind of setting will completely shift their mindset,” she said. “We look forward to seeing how the students become more comfortable with us as the weeks pass, and to the strong bonds that I know will be formed at the end of the program.”

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 the mutual respect, goodwill and relations between law enforcement and their communities. For more information, visit https://www.leadrugs.org/.