New Jersey's Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (DARE) is seeking an injunction from the courts barring the California-based nonprofit national group, DARE America, from attempting to revoke its charter.
DARE is a series of classroom lessons about drug abuse prevention taught to school children. The instructors are local police officers who are required to undergo 80 hours of special training in areas such as child development, classroom management, teaching techniques, and communication skills.
At issue is DARE New Jersey's implementation of its 'Too Good For Drugs' program for fifth and sixth graders. DARE America claims that DARE New Jersey implemented the program without consultation or approval from them. Representatives from DARE America said that the success of the program is based on uniform curriculum. At the same time, DARE America has implemented its 'Keepin' it REAL' substance use prevention program that the New Jersey chapter says is unproven in its effectiveness.
In a letter to DARE America dated Nov. 15, 2012, Nicholas DeMaura, Chairman and CEO of DARE NJ, Inc., says that the new curriculum they are introducing has not been proven effective; the national program is charging the New Jersey chapter with the same thing.
In a letter dated Oct. 17, 2011 to DeMauro, Richard G. Bozza, Executive Director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, said that a difficult issue for school leaders to come to terms with is the conclusions of the U.S. General Accounting Office, the U.S. Surgeon General the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Education that the findings about the effectiveness in DARE programs deterring the use of drugs and alcohol in children have not been successfully proven.
However, they state that because the 'Keepin' it REAL' program has been placed on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices and the 'Too Good For Drugs' program is not a recognized program, they do not support the New Jersey chapter's use of the program.
To receive funding for its school programs under the New Jersey's Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Program, the nonprofit needs to show that its teaching programs are effective in preventing substance abuse, DARE New Jersey says.
According to the lawsuit, New Jersey implemented the 'Too Good For Drugs' program at the start of the school year saying it was "separate from DARE America."
Upon discovering this, DARE America wrote a letter to the New Jersey chapter on Nov. 5 stating, "It is unacceptable and indeed outrageous that New Jersey would do this."
The Jersey chapter of DARE won a temporary restraining order against the revocation of its charter by DARE America that was upheld Wednesday by U.S. District Court in California.
The case is scheduled for mediation in the new year.