Luken Flip-Flops on DARE Program Funding

Luken Flip-Flops on DARE Program Funding
Posted by FoM on September 14, 2000 at 09:08:09 PT
By Kevin Osborne, Post Staff Reporter
Source: Cincinnati Post 
Heeding widespread criticism from school children and their parents, Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken is asking city administrators to restore money to the city's DARE program - despite voting to approve $250,000 in cuts late last year. Luken said his reversal was prompted by the outpouring of support for the program, and the importance of having children interact with police officers in a non-adversarial situation.
''My opinion about its value has changed,'' Luken said. ''It's clear from the reaction of children and school administrators that the contact with police was healthy. I would like to get that going again, and I think so would the police.''During budget negotiations last year, City Council considered eliminating funding for DARE - Drug Abuse Resistance Education - citing several national studies that question whether it's effective in preventing school children from using illegal drugs and alcohol.Eventually, City Council settled on a compromise that reduced one-third of the program's fund ing. The deal was approved by six council members including Luken.Before the reduction, the city spent about $700,000 annually on the program.DARE still is taught at 62 schools. Of the 30 schools where the program was eliminated, 20 were Catholic institutions.''The perception was this was a targeted cut,'' Luken said.Under Cincinnati's form of government, the mayor alone cannot set spending priorities or ap prove a municipal budget, which requires a majority vote by City Council.But in a memorandum Tuesday to City Manager John Shirey, Luken wrote: ''Next year, (the) safety (department) will be one of the only departments spared new budget cuts. I urge you to work within that budget to recommend the restoration of DARE.''City administrators are working on a budget recommendation, which will be presented to City Council in early November. Public hearings will be held later that month and in December, before City Council approves a final budget by year's end.Council Member Pat DeWine, who didn't support the initial cuts, still said the program's worthiness must be proven to justify spending three-quarters of a million dollars.''I'd be willing to go back and look at restoring the cuts,'' DeWine said. ''The question I have is whether DARE has been effective and if it's a wise use of drug prevention money. We need to look at what the studies say.''Locally, more than 6,000 fifth- and sixth-grade students participated in the program in 1998, with 5,700 passing the course. Uniformed officers teach drug resistance skills and methods for handling peer pressure and DARE promotes a zero-tolerance approach to use, and advocates that any alcohol, drug or tobacco use can lead to addiction.Published: September 13, 2000Source: Cincinnati Post (OH) Author: Kevin OsborneCopyright: 2000 The Cincinnati Post Contact: postedits Website: DARE Chief Probed After Tongue-Lashing Council:Published: September 14, 2000By Kevin Osborne, Post Staff ReporterA police officer who oversees Cincinnati's DARE program is facing disciplinary action after she sent an unauthorized letter to various school principals sharply criticizing City Council for cuts in the program.Also, another unauthorized letter by an unidentified officer was sent to parents, urging them to write City Council and Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. to protest the cuts.City Manager John Shirey Wednesday called the tactics ''reprehensible,'' saying they amounted to ''bureaucratic sabotage.''''There were memos that were cir culated that were never reviewed at upper levels or authorized,'' Shirey said.Shirey made the revelation after City Council members questioned him and Mayor Charlie Luken about letters they have received from school children and parents.''I am wondering what's going on here,'' said City Council Member Todd Portune. ''We had no involvement in how the safety department or the police division is implementing the program, and I would like to know who is suggesting otherwise.''A letter was sent to principals Aug. 25 by Cincinnati police Sgt. Carolyn Williams, DARE unit coordinator. She referred to a December vote by council that reduced DARE's funding by one-third - or $250,000 - for this school year. Four of the police division's 11 DARE officers were reassigned to other duties, and DARE was eliminated at 30 of 92 schools.In the letter, Sgt. Williams wrote, ''I feel this is a gross miscarriage of service to the youth of Cincinnati ... (school children) will be deprived of the only program that puts them in a positive environment with experienced police officers teaching various techniques in how to say no to drugs, gangs and ultimately resist violence.'' She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.Shirey said Streicher and police supervisors were unaware of the letters. Shirey and Luken also criticized how the cuts were implemented, noting 20 of the 30 schools affected were Catholic institutions.''We had the responsibility for implementing the cuts and, in my opinion, it was done poorly and with no sensitivity,'' Shirey said.''We could have done this in a far better and far more professional way than it was handled.''Luken suggested the program be restored, but some City Council members questioned the program's effectiveness.They cite more than a dozen studies showing DARE has minimal effect on reducing drug, alcohol or cigarette use.About DARE: About 80 percent of U.S. schools use the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program.More than a dozen studies have indicated the 20-year-old program has minimal effect on reducing drug, alcohol or cigarette use; it doesn't rank in the top 10 of programs rated most successful at curbing substance abuse, and the U.S. Department of Education said its effectiveness is unproven.Cost is about $5 per student, which rises up to $50 per student once police time is added. It costs about $4,000 to train DARE officers. Published: September 14, 2000Source: Cincinnati Post (OH) Author: Kevin OsborneCopyright: 2000 The Cincinnati Post Contact: postedits Website: DARE Archives:
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Comment #3 posted by Cinc'y Drug Dealer on September 14, 2000 at 15:01:06 PT
that was close!
Whew, sure am glad that funding was re-instated. After a number of DARE programs around the country were closed, teen drug use actually appeared to be DROPPING.  And that lowers the number of cutomers I have in the pipeline. Yay, DARE!
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Comment #2 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on September 14, 2000 at 13:38:17 PT:
The regressive behavior of an ostrich
Why do people refuse to face facts? Can you say regressive move? Can you say ostrich?
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Comment #1 posted by shishaldin on September 14, 2000 at 11:53:17 PT
DARE to not waste money on programs that don't work. DARE to tell the truth to our children. DARE to resist the Police State!
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