SOUTH TOMS RIVER – Over 70 South Toms River Elementary School students became certified in the county-wide G.R.E.A.T. program on Feb. 21. G.R.E.A.T. stands for Gang Resistance Education and Training.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato noted that this was the first of many G.R.E.A.T. graduations within Ocean County Schools for the 2017/2018 school year.
Collaborating with the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, Toms River Police Department, South Toms River Police Department and Lakewood Police Department, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has been able to train nearly 2,600 fifth and sixth grade students in the G.R.E.A.T. program over the last few years.
Conducted each year in Ocean County schools, the G.R.E.A.T. program focuses on teaching children life skills such as decision-making, communication, anger management, anti-bullying and respect. It is built around a school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum.
G.R.E.A.T. is an evidence-based, national and international gang and violence prevention program that has also been helping to build trust between law enforcement and communities for nearly 30 years. It is an effort to teach young children the dangers of delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership.
The program is taught by Officer’s trained and certified by the OCPO, allowing local law enforcement to work collaboratively with the school districts and the community, according to the OCPO.
This program has been in place in ocean County schools since 2011, thanks to the OCPO, who has been working to expand it as far as possible.
For more information about the G.R.E.A.T. program, visit great-online.org.