According to a local news station in Washington state, D.A.R.E. America, the anti-drug group that uses school resource officers to teach elementary and middle school children about the dangers of drugs, is dropping marijuana from its curriculum.
"The new curriculum starts as of December for us here in Kennewick," Officer Mike Meyer told KNDU25 yesterday. "It does not bring up the subject of marijuana at all."
From this statement, and despite the fact that Meyer said he doesn't know why pot is absent from his teaching materials, KNDU25 extrapolated this headline: "DARE curriculum drops pot."
I've requested comment from D.A.R.E. America's headquarters in Inglewood, California, its regional director in Cleveland, and the state director in Washington, because this news--if true--would indeed be huge.
Here are some reasons why I think it's not: Despite the fact that Washington state is on the verge of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, D.A.R.E. educates against substances illegal and legal, such as alcohol and tobacco. And Washington state isn't legalizing marijuana for kids, after all.
And despite the fact that D.A.R.E. has been waning for a decade due to its curriculum being declared ineffective by independent and government researchers (as well as running million-dollar deficits in 2009 and 2010, according to charitynavigator.org) the organization released an "evidence-based" curriculum in 2011 called "Keeping it Real," which D.A.R.E. claims resulted in a "32-44% reduction in marijuana, tobacco and alcohol use." While those internal numbers could very well be faulty, I find it odd that D.A.R.E. would stop educating kids about the only illicit drug it claims it can keep them from using.
Update: A reader with a friend in elementary education sends along a picture from the new D.A.R.E. workbooks recently distributed to teachers. Marijuana is definitely still in there.