Last week, it happened again. The day after a lesson about marijuana was given to 5th graders at an elementary school in Matthews, North Carolina an eleven year-old-student brought his parents marijuana to school to give to a D.A.R.E. officer and report them. D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education and is an international education program aimed at children.
The program that began in 1983 in California has students sign a pledge not to use drugs or join gangs. The interactive in-school curriculum last ten weeks and is taught by a trained police officer in full uniform. D.A.R.E. has been criticized because follow up studies have proven it to be ineffective at best.
Scientific evaluation studies have consistently shown that DARE is ineffective in reducing the use of alcohol and drugs and is sometimes even counterproductive — worse than doing nothing. That’s the conclusion of the U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education, and others. DARE is being implemented in 80 percent of the United States’ school districts and in more than 43 countries around the world.
In the North Carolina case, a spokesman for the Mathews Police department, Officer Stason Tyrrell said about the incident, “Even if it’s happening in their own home with their own parents, they understand that’s a dangerous situation because of what we’re teaching them.
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That’s what they’re told to do, to make us aware.” Police arrested the child’s 40 year-old father and 38 year-old mother on Thursday. Both were charged with two misdemeanor counts each of marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.
They were both released after the arrests and given a date to appear in court. In response to media reporters waiting for him outside of his house, the father told them point blank, ”I don’t give drugs to my kids.” When asked where his child got a hold of the marijuana he replied, “that’s no one’s business.” The eleven year old child that turned in his parents to a DARE office along with a sibling have been removed from the parents home by social services. Police report that they are staying with relatives.