D.A.R.E. claims to have a goal of keeping children off drugs are they succeeding? Based on a conversation I had with a young man just out of high school, I would say no. I was talking to this young man at a rally recently and the subject of D.A.R.E. came up, he told me an interesting story...
He said that when he was in 8th grade D.A.R.E. came to his school and put on one of several presentations, this particular one was on inhalants. He said they explained what household inhalants were available from airplane glue and nail polish to gasoline and various aerosols. What the effects were, including dizziness, hallucinations, brain damage and the like. What this young man told me was that within a week after the assembly, 90% of his classmates had tried at least one of the inhalants described at the D.A.R.E. presentation. Makes you think doesn't it?
Dare a ten year assessment
Mother questions DARE program
BOWEN Island resident Deborah Kirby's daughter participated in the
D.A.R.E. program. Her child's experience brought her to question the effort:
On Wednesday, May 13 (1998) my daughter graduated from the D.A.R.E. Program.
Just a few weeks earlier my daughter was excited when she told me that her teacher would be choosing the people who would read their D.A.R.E. essays to the assembly.
She later told me hers had been selected.
She was very proud. The day before the ceremony, she practiced in front of the principal. This morning, she invited me to hear her read. Her name was on the program distributed at the door.
Shortly before the ceremony began my daughter was informed by the D.A.R.E. constable that she could not read her essay. It was unacceptable; it might lead to misunderstanding. No staff intervened. We expected some acknowledgment. It did not come. We listened to 13 classmates read their paeans celebrating D.A.R.E.
My daughter wrote in brief, Grade 5 hyperbole that D.A.R.E. was a good program. She also wrote that marijuana has positive uses in society, that it is used to treat glaucoma, and ease the suffering of chemo and AIDS patients. She actually juxtaposed the words "wonderful" and "drug."
For her decision to think beyond mere repetition she was punished by having her work refused in public. She was denied the right to speak to her peers because she thought outside of expected parameters. What a great lesson.
Is the D.A.R.E. program a good one? On the surface it seems to be, we all want our children to be able to resist peer pressure, to have a better understanding of the effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco and to meet and interact with police officers in a positive way. But there are serious flaws in this program.
It is predicated on the assumption that children cannot reason. It dictates information and does not allow for critical discussion. The program is delivered by police to students with no input
from teachers, no assessment of student work, no evaluation of teaching ability.
It was developed and is wholly controlled by a business enterprise worth close to $750,000,000 U.S. based in Los Angeles. No alterations to fit the needs of a school, district, community are permitted without authorization from head office.
The D.A.R.E. Program costs the West Vancouver taxpayer somewhere in the order of $300,000 a year. I suggest this sum would go a long way towards developing a program tailor-made for our schools -- one that would reflect our values and mores and, most importantly, one that begins with the premise that our children are thinking people.
DARE is not a safety program. DARE is a state-sponsored political action masquerading as a public health benefit for kids. Its primary mission is to disseminate propaganda to unsuspecting teenagers and promote the image and public relations of the police, at the expense of the parents, the taxpayers and of course, the youths. It also relies heavily on funds from seized homes, cars and other assets of people many of whom have not been proved guilty of any wrongdoing. You are being used by cynical and determined people with a political agenda and a willingness to accept deceptive and immoral means to achieve their particular political ends. The police, the government and the justice system are not your friends. even though you may encounter some very likable people working in these institutions. Jim Rosenfield RIP
There is also an apparent aspect to DARE that is very disturbing to me: it promotes, or appears to promote informing to the police. Children are encouraged to believe that reporting drug use to the authorities will result in "helping" the drug user, rather than the much more likely scenario of a prison term, and the disruption of family and occupation - often ruining people's lives. The effects of prison on a person are almost always worse than the effect of drugs. Children have occasionally turned in their own parents in the mistaken belief that any and all drug use was a terrible sickness and that the authorities have help to offer. They almost never help anyone. The idea of police convincing kids to report on their families is quite sinister. a concerned mother
Jim Rosenfield banters with a DARE officer
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