Sheriff Michael F. Strada recently announced that the 5th grade students from the Marian McKeown Elementary School have graduated from the Sussex County Sheriff’s L.E.A.D. program. Under the direction of Sussex County Sheriff’s Officer Lewis LaBar and 5th grade teachers Dereck Wilpert and Shannon Crane, fifty 5th grade students regularly attended weekly classes to graduate.
Law Enforcement Against Drugs (L.E.A.D.) is a community-based program which was founded in 2014 in New Jersey. In Sussex County, the sheriff’s office offers the L.E.A.D. program to area youth through the local schools.
The aim of L.E.A.D. is to educate the county’s youth about substance abuse. Its curriculum covers alcohol and drug resistance, violence prevention and anti-bullying. It goes beyond traditional programs, however, as the critical thinking, decision making and interpersonal skills it instills can be used in everyday life.
Lessons cover issues such as consequences, pressures, ways to say no, effects of the media, stress, alternatives, conflict resolution and improving self-esteem. These lessons, designed around a problem-solving model, offer a variety of interactive, role-playing and cooperative learning activities, all of which serve to empower kids to recognize and resist the subtle and overt pressures that cause them to experiment with drugs or become involved in violent activities.
Sheriff Strada is proud to offer this program in ten schools throughout the County and stated “I couldn’t be more proud of the kids that graduated today. Their willingness to learn about making good decisions can affect the rest of their lives and it’s important to their futures.”