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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Sheriff's Office provides D.A.R.E. class at Xavier

  • He now wears a different uniform, but Mark Lingenfelser has wrapped up another D.A.R.E. class at Xavier Catholic School.
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  • He now wears a different uniform, but Mark Lingenfelser has wrapped up another D.A.R.E. class at Xavier Catholic School.
    Lingenfelser used to teach the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program at Xavier as a member of the Leavenworth Police Department. He retired from the Police Department in the fall and is now a deputy the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office.
    With the Police Department temporarily without a D.A.R.E. officer, the Sheriff's Office agreed to provide the program this year to fifth-graders at Xavier. And the program was taught by Lingenfelser.
    "It's hard to get away from it," Lingenfelser said of teaching D.A.R.E.
    He taught D.A.R.E. for the Leavenworth Police Department for 20 years.
    Connie Anderson and Jeff Adams also still teach D.A.R.E. at other schools for the Sheriff's Office.
    Lingenfelser also serves as a school resource officer at Pleasant Ridge High School as part of his duties with the Sheriff's Office.
    A graduation ceremony was held Friday to honor the 21 fifth-graders who completed the 10-week D.A.R.E. program at Xavier.
    The Sheriff's Office provided the program at Xavier at the request of school officials.
    The initial request had been made to former Sheriff Dave Zoellner, who retired in January. He was on hand for Friday's ceremony.
    Current Sheriff Andy Dedeke said he hopes his office can continue its relationship with the school.
    County Attorney Todd Thompson was the guest speaker during Friday's ceremony. Thompson, who's the chief prosecutor for the county, said most, if not all of the cases, he sees are rooted in drugs or alcohol.
    He said the education provided in the D.A.R.E. program is tool the fifth-graders can use for the rest of their lives.
    As part of the D.A.R.E. program, the students wrote essays. Four of the Xavier fifth-graders ― Lo Hilton, Quinn Michaud, Karli Schmitt and Dylan Smith ― were asked to read their essays during Friday's ceremony.
    The students reviewed some of the issues they dealt with in the program including drugs and bullying.
    "D.A.R.E. teaches children to make good choices in life," Schmitt said.
    Smith said he believes "every kid should go through D.A.R.E. because I think it will really help in life."
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