After attending a D.A.R.E presentation on cannabis, an 11 yr. old 5th grader in Matthews, North Carolina brought his parent’s cannabis to school and turned them in to the police.
"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."
The student’s father and mother were arrested on October 14th. They were both charged with two misdemeanor counts of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. The 11 yr. old and a sibling were subsequently removed from their house by social services.
This sort of informing isn’t an isolated incident, nor is it discouraged. The D.A.R.E curriculum encourages children to confide in the police. “One of the first lessons found in DARE teaching materials stresses the "Three R's": "Recognize, Resist and Report." The official DARE Officer's Guide for Grades K-4 contains a worksheet that instructs children to "Circle the names of the people you could tell if . . . a friend finds some pills"; the "Police" are listed along with "Mother or Father," "Teacher” or "Friend." The next exercise instructs children to check boxes for which they should inform if they "are asked to keep a secret" - the police are again listed as an option.”
This isn’t a recent phenomenon either. “The Wall Street Journal reported in 1992 that "In two recent cases in Boston, children who had tipped police stepped out of their homes carrying DARE diplomas as police arrived to arrest their parents." In 1991, 10-year-old Joaquin Herrera of Englewood, Colo., phoned 911, announced, "I'm a DARE kid" and summoned police to his house to discover a couple of ounces of marijuana hidden in a bookshelf, according to the Rocky Mountain News. The boy sat outside his parents' home in a police patrol car while the police searched the home and arrested the parents. The policeman assigned to the boy's school commended the boy's action.”
The students find out that being arrested for drug possession doesn’t end with everyone wearing brightly colored-in smiles and holding black-pencil drawn hands under a scrawled yellow sun. “Nine-year-old Darrin Davis of Douglasville, Ga., called 911 after he found a small amount of speed hidden in his parent's bedroom because, as he told the Dallas Morning News, "At school, they told us that if we ever see drugs, call 911 because people who use drugs need help... I thought the police would come get the drugs and tell them that drugs are wrong. They never said they would arrest them... But in court, I heard them tell the judge that I wanted my mom and dad arrested. That is a lie. I did not tell them that." The arrest wrecked his parents' lives, said the Dallas newspaper; both parents lost their jobs, a bank threatened to foreclose on their homes and his father was kept in jail for three months.
If the police’s strategy in winning the war on drugs is to get children to turn their parents in, it’s best they should raise the white flag. Legalize consensual non-violent acts. Vote ‘yes’ on Prop. 19.