Pubdate: Sun, 01 Apr 2007
Source: Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV)
Copyright: 2007 Nevada Appeal
Author: Karen Woodmansee


A Dayton Elementary School teacher's efforts to keep  her fifth-grade 
students off of drugs has landed her a  statewide honor.

Linda Peterson was chosen as the 2006-2007 D.A.R.E.  Teacher of the 
Year, a statewide honor designed to  honor teachers who participate 
in the D.A.R.E, or Drug  Abuse Resistance Education, program.

She said that along with Lyon County Sheriff's D.A.R.E.  Officer Bob 
Kahn, she tries to make sure her students  understand the dangers of 
all kinds of drugs, from meth  to inhalants, to alcohol and tobacco.

"We also talk about the difference between medicinal  drugs you take 
for an illness versus street drugs," she  said.

Peterson, who has taught for 13 years, seven in Lyon  County, said 
kids are interested in the D.A.R.E.  program.

"It's an important program and the kids really love  it," she said.

Peterson said D.A.R.E. is essential because students  are becoming 
exposed to drugs at an early age.

"I'd rather have them know about it rather than have  them 
accidentally taking meth, with the strawberry meth  and, I guess 
there's a chocolate one now," she said.

Peterson said she laminated pictures of strawberry meth  and posted 
them in her class so students can identify  them.

"It looks like packaged gelatin," she said. "They're  not going to 
know the difference between the meth and  strawberry gelatin. Drug 
dealers are trying to get kids  younger and younger hooked."

Peterson was a military wife and mother, who didn't  begin her career 
until after her children were grown  and her husband, Earl, had 
retired from the service.  Then she went back to school to earn her 
teaching  credentials and began her second career.

Kahn, who nominated Peterson for the award, said he did  so because 
she was an "outstanding educator, one who  really cares."

"She just pushes them, stay away from drugs, be  everything you can 
be," he said.
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