Pubdate: Tue, 13 Jul 2004
Source: Daily Herald (IL)
Copyright: 2004 The Daily Herald Company
Author: Darryl Mellema
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Students - United States)
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


There was only one question from the public for new Schools
Superintendent Barbara Erwin at Monday's St. Charles Unit District 303
board meeting and it concerned whether or not the district had a
growing drug problem.

Erwin's candid reply was that, yes, the district has a drug problem
because all communities have a drug problem.

"Drugs are not the problem," Erwin said. "Denial is the killer. Some
schools are willing to push drugs outside the four walls and then it's
a problem for the police."

Later in the meeting, the district unveiled its pilot program to
address drugs in the schools.

The district's new initiative is Too Good for Drugs, a program created
in 1978 by the Mendez Foundation.

Too Good for Drugs will be piloted this fall with fifth-graders at
Corron, Fox Ridge, Norton Creek and Wasco elementary schools. The DARE
program will continue at all other elementary schools.

"There's more flexibility for us in terms of the way we can teach it,"
St. Charles Police Chief James Lamkin said. "It has a lot of the same
core values as DARE had. It will still keep us in the classroom and
still give us a chance to interact with the kids."

One of the key components in the Too Good for Drugs program is a
testing prior to and at the completion of the program, said Stacy
Anderson, district student assistance coordinator. Anderson and
Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Melanie Raczkiewicz
were among the team that researched alternatives to the DARE program.

"It allows some sort of measurement tool," Anderson said. "We can
measure the intentions of children entering and exiting the program.
It will give us some data to analyze in assessing the success of the

The decision to search for and to begin a pilot program does not
indicate failure of the DARE program, said Kane County Undersheriff
Mike Anderson.

"It's been positive," Anderson said. "I have kids who've gone through
the DARE program and it's always been a positive. Hopefully, the new
program will give us the opportunity to enhance it a little bit. It
will give us a little more flexibility."

Anderson said new police officer training for DARE would have to take
place out of state. He also cited the ability of Too Good for Drugs to
be expanded to a kindergarten-to 12th-grade program as another
benefit. The DARE program is limited to fifth-graders.

In addition to the St. Charles Police Department and the Kane County
Sheriff's Office, police departments in South Elgin and West Chicago
will be partners in the Too Good for Drugs program.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin