Pubdate: Tue, 27 Apr 2004
Source: North County Times (CA)
Copyright: 2004 North County Times
Author: Jo Moreland
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


NORTH COUNTY ---- A national drug abuse education program is disappearing 
at many North County schools. Budget cutting is generally to blame, and the 
Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, better known as DARE, didn't meet 
new state and federal funding requirements, school officials and law 
enforcement officers said Tuesday.

Until last September, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department had 10 DARE 
locations countywide, including Fallbrook and Valley Center. Now the 
sheriff's DARE program is available only in Encinitas and Poway, because 
those cities are still willing to pay for it, sheriff's Sgt. Julie Sutton said.

"There's no funding for it," said Sutton, who supervises the sheriff's 
program. "All of the other sheriff's DARE deputies were redeployed."

Started in 1983 in Los Angeles, police and sheriff's deputies teach the 
DARE program in school classrooms in an effort to curb drug abuse. School 
districts, law enforcement agencies or cities pay for the cost of the 
officers' salaries and program materials through a variety of sources.

The DARE curriculum recently expanded to help students deal with such 
things as bullying, stress and gangs, but it may be too little, too late. 
Some schools have had to go to other programs in order to finance that 

"We still have a DARE program," said Ana Lopez-Rosende of the Escondido 
Union Elementary School District. "We're finishing it this year."

DARE isn't on a state-approved funding list of programs that are 
scientifically researched for drug and alcohol prevention, said the school 
district's coordinator of pupil services and Safe and Drug Free Schools 

The Escondido Union school district used DARE and two other programs to 
cover alcohol, tobacco, drugs and violence education for students. DARE was 
taught only to fifth-graders.

After a year's pilot study of two programs, Lopez-Rosende said, the 
"Positive Action" program will be recommended to the school board instead 
of DARE. Positive Action will cover the needs for all students in all 
grades, she said.

It will cost $310,000 this year to start the new program, said 
Lopez-Rosende. After that, the cost is estimated at $30,000 to $50,000 a 
year for Positive Action program materials.

Under the DARE program, the school district paid $2,000 to $4,000 a year 
for fifth-grade materials and the officer was supplied through the 
Escondido Police Department.

DARE is a good way for children to get to know officers and to learn about 
law enforcement, but school resource officers will continue to be at 
campuses, said Escondido detective Lt. David Mankin.

Similar funding requirements led to DARE being dropped in Oceanside and 
Carlsbad schools, officials said.

The Carlsbad Police Department still has one part-time DARE officer for 
four Encinitas Union School District elementary schools that are in 
Carlsbad. The district pays for the officer's time on campus, but the slot 
may be dropped by the Police Department.

"We have to make some cutbacks," and the preliminary decision is that DARE 
has to go because of the department's budget situation, said Carlsbad Sgt. 
Don DeTar, a former DARE instructor. "If it's a difference between patrol 
officers on the streets or officers in school, it's a tough cut."

Encinitas city and school officials looked at the program in deciding 
budgets this year, said Encinitas sheriff's Lt. Don Fowler, "and they said 
'No, we can't let that go.'"

The officials decided the program had value because it teaches about life 
as well as drugs, Fowler said. Deputy Kathy Wayne teaches DARE to 
kindergarten-through sixth-grade students at eight schools in the Encinitas 
and Cardiff school districts.

"It gives kids the tools they need and the knowledge to deal with difficult 
situations," said Wayne. "There's a process to getting to the right choice."

Poway's DARE program for fifth-graders was funded in 2003 for two years, 
because the City Council sees it as a popular program with support from 
parents and students, said Poway City Manager Jim Bowersox.

"Certainly in 2005, theoretically the entire budget is up for grabs," 
Bowersox said. "You're always looking at your optional programs."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom