(Law Enforcement Teaching Students) was developed for Dallas area schools as a joint project between the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Independent School District. The program is taught at two grade levels; the fourth grade, which consists of four classroom visits and at the elementary exit grade (fifth or sixth), consisting of six classroom visits. Fourth grade is an age appropriate curriculum that introduces and begins to discuss material that is later reinforced in the exit grade session. Repeating the skills taught reemphasizes the importance of these skills and helps students retain these skills. It is in these late grade school years that students are becoming vulnerable to negative peer pressure. Yet, the students are still receptive to learning and are beginning to make lifestyle decisions based on that learning.
Specially selected and trained Police Officers teach the program in the classroom setting. No assemblies or combining of classes is permitted. Cooperative learning, group work, and role-playing are used to deliver the curriculum. Students also use a workbook to enhance and reinforce learning.
L.E.T.S. is a “Life Skills” program. Four core skills are taught at both grade levels:
Self-Confidence - is often taken for granted. Students are taught how to obtain it, nurture it, and use positive self-confidence as a tool against situations that are harmful or unhealthy.
Conflict Management - is crucial in today’s society. Communication skills are the focus and students are taught to work towards solutions to reduce conflict.
Decision Making - is something we all do daily. It is important that we have the skills necessary to make correct decisions. Students are taught a simple process to use when making decisions, especially when friends are exerting pressure.
Peer Pressure Reversal - is essential. Second only to media, the greatest influence on children, are other children. Students are taught simple skills to resist negative peer pressure and are taught ways to encourage positive peer pressure.
Another important component of the L.E.T.S. curriculum is character education. Six core character values; Respect, Responsibility, Caring, Fairness, Trustworthy, and Good Citizenship are discussed.
Advertising techniques used by the media to lure consumers to their products are also discussed. Television and other forms of media have the greatest influence on children age 9-12 years old. This is extremely important since two of the three Gateway Drugs; alcohol and tobacco are heavily advertised and glamorized in the different forms of the media.
Laws, rules, and the role of police are discussed. This establishes an understanding on the part of the students that law enforcement representatives are a source of information and help. It is this belief that enables the officer to present the curriculum in a way that can make a difference in the lives of children.
Drug use, violence, illegal and unhealthy behaviors have become serious problems that impact all segments of society. The consequences are tragic and pervasive. These activities destroy families and affect the physical and mental health of users and victims. It is activities such as these that are the catalysts triggering much of the criminal activity plaguing society. We believe prevention through education is one of the most effective strategies to address these problems.
Public education has modified attitudes about drunken driving and the dangers of tobacco. The same can be done with drug use, violence, and other unhealthy or illegal behaviors. The key to long term success is reaching young people with meaningful educational messages before they face difficult choices.
The success of the L.E.T.S. Program comes from the teaching of life skills, the dedication of the L.E.T.S. instructors, school administrators, classroom teachers, and the total involvement of the students in their own learning. Police Departments, Schools and Churches, nor Families alone can solve the problems that plague our communities. However, together, as a community, we can make a difference in changing the attitudes of our children toward drugs, violence, and other illegal or unhealthy lifestyles.
The Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Independent School District’s Office of Student Wellness Programs are mutually committed to help prevent negative behaviors among students by developing and implementing specially-designed, age appropriate curricula that teaches life-long skills of decision-making, negative peer pressure reversal techniques, problem solving, conflict management and character education.
- To provide life skills information/training/ resources to be integrated into existing fourth and elementary exit grade curricula;
- To establish an understanding on the part of students that law enforcement representatives are a source of information and help;
- To equip our youth with skills for recognizing and resisting peer pressure, which leads to negative behavior;
- To help students develop communication and other interpersonal skills that promotes healthy, positive lifestyles.