County DARE gets new hope

By Staff
Melissa Cason
The Franklin County Drug Abuse Resist Education (DARE) Program is a little closer to staying in Franklin County Schools as two public officials have pledged a large sum of financial aid to keep the program open.
Senator Roger Bedford and Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing announced this week that $20,000 has been made available between the two of them to keep DARE up and running in the Franklin County.
Bedford's office was able to secure $5,000 from the Senate Discretionary Fund for the program. The remaining $15,000 came from the District Attorney's Office.
Rushing said $6,000 of the money is coming from his office's budget with the other $9,000 coming from a grant to district attorneys across the state designed to curb methamphetamine usage.
"I felt like this program is too important to our county to lose it because of a funding issue," Rushing said.
Rushing said he has seen the effect DARE has had on the students, and the reason the program is so effective is because of DARE Officer Mike Franklin.
"You've got to have the right person for this program to work and we've got him," Rushing said.
In addition to the $20,000 Rushing and Bedford have been able to secure, Judge John Jolly has pledged an additional $1,000.
Franklin County Sheriff Larry Plott said the program needed approximately $36,000 to stay in the schools.The program is still almost $10,000 short.
"We are three-quarters of the way there thanks to the generous contributions," Plott said.
The DARE program's existence in Franklin County was jeopardized last October when the county commission didn't hire more deputies to work the road.
Instead of pulling the program from the schools immediately, Plott decided to attempt to partner with local school boards in the county to keep DARE alive. Those efforts failed because of the boards' own financial crunch.
Since the announcement, Franklin has worked tirelessly applying for grants and making speaking engagements trying to raise awareness that DARE was in danger of extinction.
For more information on how you can help the DARE Program stay in Franklin County Schools, contact Mike Franklin at 332-8820.

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