MONTAGUE – After 25 years of teaching Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Police Officer Jim Fessler has taught his last class.

On Thursday, May 30, fifth graders at RRO Elementary School graduated as the last D.A.R.E. class under Fessler’s tutelage. It was also perhaps the last class in Muskegon County as well.

D.A.R.E. is a drug education and prevention program that was started in 1983.

With Fessler retiring from the Montague Police Department next March the school has no plans to continue with the program. RRO Elementary School was the only school in the county still using the curriculum.

Principal Jeff Henderson said the school will begin using a social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum starting next year. Henderson said that drug prevention will be a part of the new curriculum.

In addition to teaching D.A.R.E. at Montague Area Public Schools (MAPS), Fessler taught the curriculum at St. James Catholic Church, 5149 Dowling St. He said he taught there for 15-years until the school closed.

Fessler found himself a little emotional on Thursday, and asked Henderson to make the closing remarks in his place. He estimates that he has graduated about 3,000 students from the program.