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Choosing dance over drugs: DEA program partners with elementary schools

Law enforcement wants kids to be smart about illegal drugs - so they're using hip-hop dance to teach that lesson

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For some East Tennessee kids, stepping to the beat is a step towards beating the spread of drug use.

The Drug Enforcement Agency partnered with three local elementary schools to help steer children away from illegal drugs, and towards dance as a healthy alternative. At Dogwood, Pond Gap, and New Hopewell elementary schools, fifth grade students signed up for hip-hop dance lessons, hosted by the DEA 360 Youth Dance Program.

"Our goal is that through education and prevention, the DEA 360 program, along with the Coordinated School Health program... sends the message to young boys and girls that illegal drugs are dangerous, and that dance is healthy and a fun exercise," said Bob Wooldridge, who does community outreach for the 360 program in Knoxville.

Students at each school wrapped up twenty weeks of lessons with recitals at their respective schools. Wooldridge says about 68 kids took part in the program.

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