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Parkway Hopes to Land $500,000 Grant

The Parkway Coalition for Community Health is competing for a $500,000 grant to prevent drug abuse and suicide among its students. Police want the grant used to reinstate the DARE program.

The is one of twenty non-profit entities vying for a $500,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. If successful, the grant would be spread out over five years and fund a community outreach program to battle drug and tobacco use as well as prevent suicide among its students.

The Missouri Foundation for Health will announce grant recipients in 2013. The privately funded foundation has awarded over $450 million in health related grants since 2000.

Fred Crawford, Chief of Security at Parkway, said the coalition is trying to bring together community groups from police to religious leaders that could influence young people in regard to drug or tobacco use.

“It involves a lot of different people,” he said. “They want to set a clear program of instruction. We’ll develop lesson plans as it applies to drug safety—and make sure we’re all on the same page.”

Crawford said the curriculum developed would be shared with Parkway schools as well as private schools in the district.

The coalition could also help fund police efforts to bust retailers who sell tobacco or alcohol to underage buyers.

The coalition is still in the development stage and is awaiting funding. They held an informational meeting in June to invite community groups to join the school district.

Captain Charles Hunn of the believes the school should simply reinstate its DARE program if it's serious about fighting drug abuse. He tells Patch the grant money should be used for that purpose. The program was canceled in 2007 to allow for more classroom teaching time. School officials said that DARE took 16 hours of instruction time and only involved 5th grade students.

Hunn was a Manchester DARE officer from 1991 to 2007.

The DARE program was immediately replaced with a School Resource Officer program. Manchester provides two dedicated officers to the Parkway schools that serve its residents—one stationed at and another at . The officer stationed at the middle school also visits Manchester elementary schools. All the public schools in Manchester belong to the Parkway district.

The resource officer may only spend three to five hours in a classroom teaching drug awareness, according to Crawford. He said most of the material from the old DARE program has been added to the school’s health curriculum.

Hunn said the city of Manchester funds the School Resource Officers and also funded the DARE program in the past. He said the Board of Alderman supported the DARE program and provided funds for the officers and teaching materials.

“I’m shocked, these educators are wondering what to do with this money? Bring the DARE program back. Now they’re worried about community health? Give me a break, the problem they have is drug addiction,” Hunn said. Hunn added the school should be more concerned with heroin use than anything else.

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