D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) “… is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.”
In City Administrator Al Roder’s weekly memo for Dec. 17-21:
On 12-14-2007 Northfield Police Department interviewed police officers that had expressed an interest of becoming DARE instructors. Northfield Schools and Northfield Police Department Captains conducted the interviews. Northfield Police Department Officers Blaine Anderson and Paul Haider were selected. The officers will attend state sponsored training from January 7 until January 18, 2008. Northfield Police Department officers will run the first ever DARE program in the Northfield school district starting in February 2008. This program has been put together with cooperation from Northfield Schools and Northfield Police Department.
Numerous studies have been done on the program since its inception in 1983 in urban Los Angeles. The most well-known of these conclude two things: that DARE doesn’t do much to keep kids away from drugs and alcohol, and that it helps form a bond between students and law enforcement. But eight months after the city was rocked by the news of possible drug use problems, Northfield can scarcely afford to do nothing.
I take issue with the last sentence of the editorial.
“…possible drug use problems”? I say our town definitely has drug abuse problems.
“…afford to do nothing”? Much has been done since the heroin story broke last summer.
But my bigger questions are:
- Given the questions about the effectiveness of DARE (see the section in the Wikipedia entry on DARE re: the critical view), should our policy makers (the Northfield School Board and the Northfield City Council) be more involved in deciding whether the time is right for DARE here in Northfield? I can find nothing in the council or school board minutes where the issue has been discussed.
- Should the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol & Drug Use, the HCI, the Union of Youth, and the Rice County Chemical Health Coalition be involved in determining whether DARE is right for Northfield?
My uninformed answer to both questions is ‘yes.’ But I’m open to being influenced.