D.A.R.E.: Ripping Families Apart Since 1983

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

When it comes to its stated mission—keeping school-age children from trying illicit drugs—the D.A.R.E. program has been a failure. But D.A.R.E. does have a fun history of teaching kids to turn their pot-smoking parents in to the police.

It happened again last week:

The 11-year-old student is in 5th grade at a an elementary school in Matthews.  Police say he brought his parents’ marijuana cigarettes to school when he reported them.

Matthews Police say he reported his parents after a lesson about marijuana was delivered by a police officer who is part of the D.A.R.E. program, which teaches kids about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

“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,” said Matthews Officer Stason Tyrrell.  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 not jailed and were released on a written promise to appear in court…

Police say both the 11-year old and a sibling have been removed from the parents’ house by social services.

Proving once again that pot ruins lives. Not because of the drug itself, but because of what the government will do to you if they catch you with it.

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130 Responses to “D.A.R.E.: Ripping Families Apart Since 1983”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 


    thumbs up for sharing Radley’s articles with your students- too much of history and current events is turned into a crappy, g rated disney story that bores kids to death. I bet they’re fascinated when you introduce them to some of these stories!

  2. #2 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #89 | akb4189

    There is empirical evidence that the slippery slope does apply to State intrusion in individuals lives. It’s called the history of the United States of America. Attendant with the slippery slope is the ratchet effect — progressivism never regresses. I don’t expect that you read the book I recommended yet, but Dr. Twight does a fabulous job of proving the slippery slope in about 300 pages.

    If the slippery slope is not a true gradient, then there are infinitesimal little points on an ever-descending line — a distinction without a difference.

    Your error in logic is not understanding that a slippery slope is not necessarily true, but not always false.

    One thing I will agree, however, is that between anarchy and statism, there can be no slippery slope — it is digital, either on or off.

  3. #3 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #96 | Sky — “I live in a very very rural community, lotsa hillcountry and places to hide. Even the County Sheriff’s office calls this place the meth capitol of the U.S.”

    Wasilla, Alaska?

  4. #4 |  Cynical in CA | 

    @#98 | Marty — “fascist larvae”

    I saw them open for Suicidal Tendencies back in ’83.

  5. #5 |  Sky | 

    #101 | Cynical in CA – Wasilla, Alaska?

    LOL! No, further south, way further.

  6. #6 |  Marty | 


    I’d love to see the handbill art to that one!

  7. #7 |  Jon | 

    Chain of Evidence? I can’t see any way they will be convicted if they have a half decent lawyer.

  8. #8 |  Joe | 

    I agree that this could have been handled better, but I also recognize that I don’t have all the facts. Was this the first time either parent had been busted fro drug possession?

    The other thing I don’t understand is – it is against the law in the US to be in possession of drugs of this nature. Everyone knows this. It isn’t some weird law that is kept hidden from the public. If you knowingly break the law, then shouldn’t there be some form of punishment? Again, I think this particular case could have been handled better, but both parents knew what they were doing.

    How do you try to teach your child that it is ok to break one law but not another?

  9. #9 |  Jenn | 

    I know I am preaching to the choir, but as a child therapist who works with foster kids, I see the truly horrible things that SHOULD bring children into foster care. Severe sexual and physical abuse and neglect. When I have a child in care who was taken in during a no knock raid or due to something like this, I am always furious! Even the severely abused children are badly traumatized by being ripped from their horrible families, let alone children with well adjusted parents who like to get high and relax now and then. I cannot tell you how many times I have encountered PTSD from kiddo’s taken during a no knock raid. Nightmares, constant fear, hatred and distrust of the police…

    I have written to my local lawmakers to discuss that the psychological damage done to these children by being put into foster care is far more harmful than being in a home with a parent who smokes pot. Of course, I live in Seattle, so my opinion is in the minority…

  10. #10 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    When is it the Communities business to get involved and tell the authorities?

    The “authorities” are corrupt and only have guns and sledgehammers. So when you need a corrupt thug swinging a sledgehammer and shooting a gun; it is a good time to call the authorities on corruption, sledgehammers and guns.

    Freedom and liberty are not easy and difficult issues are what test your convictions. Yes, people seem to constantly need bad examples to teach them how to live. But, the false promises of the state to end suffering are not the answer.

  11. #11 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #108 | Joe — “How do you try to teach your child that it is ok to break one law but not another?”

    You could have him/her study Goldman Sachs, for starters.

  12. #12 |  Cynical in CA | 

    That’s a real shame Jenn. I wish there were some solution, but the State’s interests are seldom, if ever, the same as the weakest and most vulnerable of society.

    I’ve compared the State to a force of nature before and it bears repeating. Hurricanes, earthquakes, fires and floods cause PTSD in children too. I understand the human element that enters via the State, but the nature of institutions negates any potential humaneness.

    It would be more mature for everyone to get over the idea that the State can be reformed (any more than hurricanes and earthquakes can be reformed!) and get on with cleaning up its messes and rebuilding the damage.

    Or one can abandon the State and live non-violently.

  13. #13 |  Marty | 

    #108 | Joe |

    ‘How do you try to teach your child that it is ok to break one law but not another?’

    wouldn’t we be better off teaching children that if there’s no victim, there’s no crime? or, teach them not to use govt coercion to force their morals onto others? or, that as free men, we are in control of our bodies? or, maybe sit down and work through the DARE propaganda machine and compare that to other great propaganda machines in history and how they’ve negatively impacted society?

  14. #14 |  JDB | 

    Since the majority seem to think this is ridiculous, I’ll take the moment to just remind folks that pot is not exactly an innocuous substance to kids [1]. It’s the parent’s job to keep their kids safe – if they don’t like the law, fine, work to change it. But in the meanwhile, they’re harming their kids and should be considered unfit parents until they’ve shown otherwise.

    1. Cornelius, M. D.; Taylor, P. M.; Geva. D.; and Day, N. L. Prenatal tobacco and marijuana use among adolescents: effects on offspring gestational age, growth, and morphology. Pediatrics, 95: 738-743, 1995.

  15. #15 |  Just Plain Brian | 

    ‘How do you try to teach your child that it is ok to break one law but not another?’

    “One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

    Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”

    -Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Letter from a Birmingham Jail

  16. #16 |  Marty | 

    #114 | JDB |

    ‘Since the majority seem to think this is ridiculous, I’ll take the moment to just remind folks that pot is not exactly an innocuous substance to kids’

    please, without using DARE propaganda or other govt bullshit, explain how pot is a harmful substance to anyone. Also, please point out where anyone here advocates giving children alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, etc…

  17. #17 |  Andrew S. | 

    @JDB: I’d just like to point out that, when I was in High School (graduated 15 years ago, but I’d be surprised if this wasn’t still true), it was far easier for me to obtain marijuana than alcohol. There’s a reason behind that. I’ll let you guess what it is.

  18. #18 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    if they don’t like the law, fine, work to change it.

    Are you being naive or dismissive?

  19. #19 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.

    Which God? I hope not Loki!

  20. #20 |  Cynical in CA | 

    @#119 | Boyd Durkin

    Oh c’mon Boyd, you’re just being difficult.

    A just law is a man made code that feels all warm and fuzzy and full of yummy goodness.

  21. #21 |  Pinandpuller | 


    I guess responsible meth use is why I have to sign in when I have a runny nose.

    The general tone of this thread has been about drugs used outside a doctor’s care-if you didn’t read all 120 posts so far.

    The people at the start of this thread apparently didn’t have a script for marijuana so I must conclude that you are being kind of a dumbass.

    Elvis used to swipe PDR’s from doctor’s offices to help manage his drug interactions so I guess I’m not all that impressed but then I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

  22. #22 |  Pinandpuller | 

    I think we should take kids away from libertarians who tell them,” Do it because I told you to.”

  23. #23 |  will killam | 

    Meth used to be available to the public as Desoxyn. I once took it for weight loss and it sure worked. They took it off the market for public consumption but the military has tons of it for the hired killers they use. Up and down pills to control them and use them when needed. I know a pilot and they chemically control their alertness and shifts, time to kill wake up and take some meth, at the end of the shift take downers and fall out.

  24. #24 |  Darlene | 

    Well, I didn’t read EVERY posting but I can tell you this….pot is NOT harmless……I smoked it for 15 years and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in giving it up. You have to actually face life staight when times are tough….If we smoke our kids smoke and I just don’t want that kind of legacy for my children. When you’re high you never amount to your true potential – you hide from everything!!!

    If you want to smoke pot then keep it where your kids don’t have access to it, don’t smoke it around them (as when they are in bed), and don’t smoke in areas of the home the children are in.

  25. #25 |  trin | 

    Highnumber: when my kid was in school the DARE program just came in for a week, no announcement ahead of time, no permission slip.

    Now, 10 yrs later, in that same school system, it remains that way.
    Even though kids need a permission slip to see the President tell them to say in school. They’ve needed a permission slip for “sex ed” all along too.

    But DARE, zip, nada.. not even “this is what we’ll be doing this week and here are some of the printed materials for your reference.”

    (My child came home, suddenly depressed, because her family did not look like most of the other families in the school. Something she and her classmates had never previously considered. It’s been 10-12 years and I don’t think she’s ever really shaken it. )

  26. #26 |  trin | 

    addenda, a chunk of the DARE material was preaching that kids shouldn’t pick on other kids because their families “look different” … (Sesame Street did the same lesson without the fall out!) and suddenly it BECAME an issue that some families weren’t 2 parents, 2.5 kids and a dog.

  27. #27 |  “D.A.R.E.: Ripping Families Apart Since 1983″ | 

    […] Children inform on their parents. [Radley Balko] […]

  28. #28 |  ps | 

    They didn’t bring down the Berlin Wall. They just moved it across the Atlantic.

  29. #29 |  WhiskeyJim | 

    At over 100 posts, I’m surprised no one has mentioned what has to be going on in the child’s mind.

    He just ratted out his own parents and was sent to a foster home while his parents went to jail. Not only is he traumatized, but he has to live with the fact that he is responsible.

    Lots of kids go through psychological hell trying to figure out their role in family disruptions. This kid has no question.

    I can not believe DARE did what they did. Good lord.

    BTW, a short generation ago, I can’t believe any kid would rat out their parents.

  30. #30 |  RedSC | 

    A little common sense here. If you disagree with the marijuana laws, then work on getting them changed, but until then, smoking doobies is illegal, and will get you busted.

    What kind of a lesson are you teaching your children when you decide that you have the right to break some law you don’t agree with? What if they follow your example and decide that shoplifting should not be illegal? Or murder?