Jacksboro 5th, 6th and 7th grade students recently graduated from a new program presented by the SRO Matt Windham and the Jacksboro Police Department. The GREAT Program (Gang Resistance Education And Training) was introduced and taught to the students in order to set them in the right direction as they move toward high school, and the decisions they face. Although there is not a large gang presence in Jack County, the program teaches kids how to make good choices that cover other areas, such as bullying and how to respect others. According to the GREAT website:
The Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program is an evidence-based, national and international gang and violence prevention program that has been building trust between law enforcement and communities for almost 30 years.
G.R.E.A.T. is intended as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership. It is designed for children in the years immediately before the prime ages for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior.
The G.R.E.A.T. Program is built around school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curricula. It provides a continuum of components for children and their families. These components include a 13-lesson middle school curriculum, a 6-lesson elementary school curriculum, a summer component, and a families component.
More than 13,000 sworn officers from around the United States and various Central American countries have been trained and certified to teach the G.R.E.A.T. curricula. The G.R.E.A.T. curricula have been delivered to more than 6 million children, allowing law enforcement to foster strong relationships with these students, as well as their schools and communities.
Since its inception, G.R.E.A.T. has developed partnerships with nationally recognized organizations, such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Inc.; Families and Schools Together®; and the National Association of Police Athletic/Activities Leagues, Inc. These partnerships encourage positive collaboration among the community, parents, schools, and law enforcement.
The 5th grade class held their Graduation on December 14th. The group as a whole took an oath, pledging they would resist gang activity, respect others and be a positive influence. As each name was called, the students went up on the stage, where they were presented a certificate of completion and a gift. Later they were treated with a pizza party. Police Chief, Terry McDaniel said “We’re proud to be able to present this program to the kids. Officer Windham has done a great job. He even went to Phoenix, Arizona for the training, so that we could bring this to the kids. We’ve been trying to get it here for about 5 years. It’s a great way to get the kids excited about making good choices”.
The class that was presented to the 5th grade consisted of 6 courses.
- Making GREAT choices (this class deals with violence and gangs, and bullying. The kids did role playing to get a true feel for these issues.
- Practicing GREAT decision making
- Learn to Communicate (both verbally and using body language). The kids learned the importance of looking someone in the eye.
- Anger Management
- Respecting others
- Wrap up. This gave the an overview of the other weeks.
Windham was very pleased with the results and plans are already in the making for bringing the program back next year.