Hogansville Elementary School’s L.E.A.D. program begins with over 250 students

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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On Monday, Officer Danielle Thompson with the Hogansville Police Department began teaching the L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs & Violence) program to over 250 students in the second, third, fourth and fifth grades at Hogansville Elementary School.

L.E.A.D. is a nationwide nonprofit that works with communities to help students understand the dangers of drugs and violence. Trained to teach the program’s evidence-based curriculum, Thompson will educate the children on the harms of drugs and violence and help them to build skills surrounding effective communication, conflict resolution and social and emotional competency.

“We look forward to seeing how the elementary students in Hogansville will be positively impacted by the L.E.A.D. program. Our proven effective curriculum not only allows students to understand why avoiding alcohol, drugs and violence is vital but gives them the tools so that they can set attainable goals, manage their emotions and make wise decisions. I’m certain that the children will walk away as new people after completing the program,” said Nick DeMauro, CEO of L.E.A.D.

“It’s wonderful that Officer Thompson attended one of our training sessions to become a L.E.A.D. instructor. Now, she has the opportunity to entirely change young students’ lives as well as strengthen the relationship between her police department and the Hogansville community.”

Thompson said she believes that the program will be a great benefit to the students in Hogansville.

“The children that I’ll be instructing are at the elementary level, so it’s my guess that many of them will begin the program without having learned about peer pressure, for instance, and how to avoid succumbing to it,” Thompson said. “It’s great that L.E.A.D. provides the opportunity to teach kids at a young age about the difficulties of social pressure so that when it arises in their lives, they’ll have the knowledge to handle it and, consequently, turn down situations with harmful substances and violence.”

Thompson said the lessons are altered to meet the needs of each age range, which is something she values most about the program.

“The gap between second and fifth graders is large, so I appreciate that the material I’ll be teaching to each grade level varies. I imagine the students will differ vastly from one another. I want to make sure that I’m helping them to gain skills that are most appropriate for their age,” Thompson said. “I think the hands-on activities are excellent. They’ll assist in delivering the information from the curriculum to the kids so that they’re able to retain the subject matter more easily.”

Thompson said she’s looking forward to the time she’ll get to spend with the students in the classroom.

“It’s exciting that I’ll get to know the kids on a personal level, and they can also get to know me better. Getting to have conversations with them about real-life situations that they could encounter at any time as well as helping them to make positive choices in their lives will be really special,” Thompson said.

“I also look forward to contributing toward a stronger bond between the police and the community in Hogansville. I’m confident that the students and their families will feel more comfortable approaching and interacting with me and the other police officers at Hogansville Police Department.”