How I Dealt With D.A.R.E.My son is now in the sixth grade, and had some problem with DARE, when the program was offerred in the fifth grade. He claimed that they made him act out scenes where he was made to feel like an idiot, such as wearing his clothes inside-out and acting out little passion plays where drug users were caricatured and lampooned. He also reported that the police officer who ran the class was not telling him the truth, as his mother and I had related the truth about drugs to him. I did a little research and found out that the program is permissive i.e. they must seek out parental permission, by law. They did not do so at his school and, I gather, rarely ask for this legally mandated permission. I went to the school and presented them with a letter revoking "any implied permission" for his participation in the DARE program. Not surprisingly, they complied immediately, asking no potentially embarrassing questions.
The result has been entirely positive. Every time the DARE officer came to his class, he was released to the library, and was able to do his homework. His classmates were jealous, as I was able to hear on one occasion. And the experience made him proud of his dad for sticking up for him, which any parent of a pre-teen boy can use a little of. The other parents I discussed this with mostly gave me an "attaboy," plus some of "where did you find the guts," but none followed suit, so far as I know.
My own objection and fear about the DARE program is about the misrepresentations and lies that the police, who are the instructors of the program, spread regarding drug use. The children were told that ALL drugs are bad, and are not medicines, which are good. Not explained, and left for the impressionable young to find out for themselves, is that this is a bald lie. Medicine would be in the stone age if not for Morphine, and my State (Washington) is one that has made Marijuana legal as a medicine. Some kids in the class take Amphetamines for certain learning disorders and discipline problems, etc.
When will the Drug Warriors realize that lies just don't cut it in the real world. I will bet anything that my son will be better prepared to deal with the realities of drugs than any kid whose parents allow the schools to render instruction on this very important subject in an untruthful, immoral way. My son's teacher explianed to me that she considered my wife and me to be her "partners" in the raising of my child! It is frightening to think that there may well be parents who have turned the raising of their children over to the Secular Humanist teachers, and also to Police who are not trained or credentialed to teach children.
What is so wrong with telling a child the truth? Such as, drugs make you feel good, and usually will not turn people into homicidal maniacs upon first use. What is wrong with relating the truthful reasons that drug use is bad, and must be avoided if at all possible? I can truthfully relate to my sons that drug use starts out as a pleasurable moment, followed by falling grades, inability to achieve one's goals, and ultimately to jails, institutions, and an early death. This way, what I tell them will be verified by what they will eventually see in the schools that they will attend as they get older. They will be armed with the most powerful tool for dealing with life: knowledge. The truth. I believe that my sons can make the right choices if they are armed with the correct tools with which to do so. Telling kids that they will turn into thieves and rapists upon smoking their first joint will not survive their first contact with a non-raping, non-stealing marijuana user. Moreover, knowing that I told them the truth about first use will encourage them to believe what I told them about further use. Some of these kids have already told me that DARE was a joke. I believe that drug abuse is very serious. I can not allow something so serious to be left to teachers and cops, especially when their approach is based on lies and making jokes about drug users. And that is what DARE is apparently all about.