• Last modified 152 days ago (Feb. 15, 2024)


Students learn to make a difference

Staff writer

Peabody-Burns and Hillsboro fifth graders are getting a 10-week course meant to help them avoid the pitfalls of violence and drugs.

At Peabody, retired teacher Brenda Riggs is teaching students a Law Enforcement Against Drugs and Violence curriculum developed by a nationwide nonprofit that works with communities to help students understand the dangers of drugs and violence.

This is the second year the program has been taught at Peabody and the first year it is being taught by Riggs.

At Hillsboro, police officer David Funk teaches the program. Three fifth grade classes are getting the course this semester.

Hillsboro Police Chief Jessey Hiebert said his department used to teach a Drug and Alcohol Resistance Program but phased that out and started teaching LEAD when money became available through Marion County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.

Funk teaches classes once a week, with his next class scheduled for Thursday.

“LEAD reaches beyond drug abuse,” Hiebert said.

Terry Bebermeyer, executive director for Families and Communities Together in Marion County, said he thought of Riggs to teach LEAD because she recently retired from teaching.

“Mr. Bebermeyer thought that I, as a former teacher, would be a perfect candidate to teach the LEAD curriculum as I’m comfortable with a classroom setting and have taught fifth graders many times before,” Riggs said.

LEAD reinforces mutual respect, goodwill, and relations between law enforcement and their communities.

“Mrs. Riggs has the opportunity to entirely change kids’ lives,” LEAD chief executive Nick DeMauro said. “We know that Mrs. Riggs will do an excellent job teaching our evidence-based program, which emphasizes the importance of drug and violence prevention and helps students to gain skills surrounding effective communication and conflict resolution, for example. We look forward to seeing the positive changes that will develop among her fifth grade students.”

Last modified Feb. 15, 2024