Proud to say no
Former Woods students become role models in Linn police DARE program
Linn Police Officer James Bushey with Rory and Randy Shine.
|DARE program continues to grow --
LINN — "If you were to walk into the lunchroom with me at Traver School, everybody knows my name," said James Bushey, town police officer and the man behind the revived DARE program.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Bushey said DARE — Drug Abuse Resistance Education — has expanded since he brought the program back in 2008. Then, he worked at Woods and Traver schools.
Today, Reek is a part of that mix. The program also reaches fifth- through eighth-graders now.
But it was a great deal of work to arrive at this point. Bushey completed 80 hours of training at Fort McCoy, Tomah. He graduated at the head of the class.
In a February 2009 Regional News article, Bushey discussed his desire to break down misconceptions about police and bring them closer to the community as well as teach children about drug and alcohol use.
"I think our goal is to bond with the community," Bushey said Oct. 12. "When the squad car is in front of your school, it isn't always because of a complaint."
Now, with the help of role models, Bushey said it enhances the program to have actual successful high school students talking to younger students.
"These high school kids we bring in, they have character and they're very open and personable," he said. "They're there to answer questions about high school and help with the lessons. … It helps to have them give their perspective on what they do when they handle (peer pressure) situations."
As a reward for their services as DARE role models, Bushey said he provides them with letters of recommendation which they can use when applying for a university or a job.
But what's the point of DARE? In a Feburary 2009 Regional News article, Bushey said it's to teach children what happens when people use drugs or alcohol. While children may see drugs or alcohol glorified in movies or on television, Bushey said there is little positive about the consequences, which can include loss of a driver's license, being kicked out of sports or denied entry into college.|
October 19, 2011 | 07:42 AMIt was a night last summer in North Carolina.
Randy and Rory Shine, 17-year-old fraternal twins and Badger High School juniors, were hanging out in an arcade while on vacation away from their Lyons Township home. They were driving a golf cart back to where their family was staying and came across a group of girls who asked them for a ride.
During a telephone interview Thursday, Oct. 13, Randy said the girls were clearly intoxicated. Once they dropped the girls off at a house, they asked the Shine brothers if they wanted to stay and get drunk or high. Randy said he and Rory looked at each other, then refused their offer.
"I was proud to be tested like that," Randy said. "That had never happened to us before (and) I was proud to be able to live what I'd been taught."
What the Shines learned and what they have achieved are why they are role models in the Linn Town Police Department DARE program. These clean and sober role models will work with the program, which reaches fifth- through eighth-graders in Woods, Reek and Traver schools.
Currently, the Shine twins and other role models are in the second week of a 10-week course at Woods School. James Bushey, DARE coordinator and Linn police officer, said during an interview Wednesday, Oct. 12, the role models provide students firsthand resources of high school life and information about ways to deal with peer pressure.
"High school is typically the most predominant time in which kids are exposed to drugs and alcohol (so having role models) kind of helps to reinforce what we teach in DARE to the kids," Bushey said. "These children are popular and they haven't had to use drugs and alcohol to be successful."
Take, for example, the Shine twins. They have made the Badger High Honor Roll every semester (Rory said in a separate Oct. 13 interview he has a 4.1 grade-point average, thanks to honors courses). They play sports, are in the Badger Athletic Leadership Council — which Randy said is like a high school version of DARE — and have aspirations of attending the U.S. Naval Academy.
Randy said the academy is a "tough school to get into," one which has no tolerance for drug or alcohol abuse. This would affect his goal of becoming a naval officer. So looking back on that night this summer, Randy said passing up the chance to try drugs or alcohol "was so easy it's not even funny."
But he admitted at first, when confronted with the kind of situation he had been taught in a DARE program years ago, it made him pause to think.
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"They were very good-looking girls," Randy said.
Then, he said he thought about what he wants to accomplish later in life. The moment proved to be a test of their belief to stay clean, and Randy said he was glad he passed it.
"Now I know, 10 times out of 10, I'm not going to do that kind of stuff," he said.
A defining moment
Rory recalled a pivotal experience with alcohol which for him made situations like the one in North Carolina easy to avoid.
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He said when he was in fifth-grade, he was at a party for a retiring teacher. There was a bottle of a lemonade-flavored alcoholic drink in a cooler. Rory said he and some other kids were talking about how funny it would be if one of them took the bottle and started drinking it.
So Rory did.
"I didn't know what alcohol really was or what it could do," he said. "I was experimenting I guess."
Rory said he drank a few sips "as a joke," but he said he immediately became overwhelmed with guilt. As punishment, his parents took him off the local baseball team.
"I was really disappointed with myself after that," Rory said.
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But the experience changed his life. He said he was overwhelmed with guilt since before his parents discovered what he had done.
"That made me decide not to ever do that again," Rory said.
Apparently, he continues to abide by his promise. Rory said he stays away from parties he believes will feature drugs or alcohol. He avoids people he thinks will use drugs or alcohol.
"There aren't any positives that come out of that kind of stuff," Rory said.
The effects aren't limited to trouble with the law.
"There's always a chance that you might not get caught, but there's always consequences that can affect your health," Rory said. "These consequences also can affect you personally."
For him, staying clean means a chance at becoming a Navy SEAL.
"I think they're the elite of the elite, and I want to serve my country with the best," Rory said. "I want to be the best of the best."
The Shine twins said they were happy when Badger Principal Bob Kopydlowski asked them to be role models in the Linn DARE program.
Although the highlight so far for the twins has been returning to Woods School, where they went until fifth-grade, it is the chance to make an impact with younger students and the message behind DARE which motivates them.
"Obviously, DARE is an acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, but when you look into it, it's more than being about just saying no," Randy said. "I like the message of standing up for what you believe in. … When you do the right thing, you become stronger as a person."
Rory said being a DARE role model already feels good because he knows these younger students will look up to him.
He said he wants to set a good example for them.
"I hope the kids understand they can just say no," Rory said. "One of the things I would be nervous about is if the kids don't get that message."