Village Cutting D.A.R.E: Why?
The Village Board (via its Public Safety Committee) will be discussing the elimination of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (“DARE”) at its next meeting on Monday August 6, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. at Village Hall.
If you want more information or have an opinion about DARE, attend this meeting.
C4CH takes NO substantive position on the value of our local DARE program; the issue is why does the Village perceive a “need” to cut it in the first place.
C4CH places high value on transparency in how our local governments operate. C4CH places high importance of getting input from and involvement with its fellow residents.
C4CH has questions about the Village’s perceived need to cut DARE. There are likely many other options and issues which should first be investigated before the Village (and in response SD#181) does anything.
- What is the actual Village cost of the DARE program?
- How many actual hours does the Village DARE Officer (“VDO”) spend at each school (and each grade) per year, and what percentage is that of his salary and benefits?
- What is the true cost to the Village?
- Historically what private sources of funding exist for DARE, and what is the current status? If that has changed, why has it changed?
- Is the current VDO the only police officer who can provide this training or can someone with less seniority do it (and therefore at a lesser Village cost)?
- Should the Village assess if multiple police officers (or one with least seniority) should provide the DARE program to minimize Police Department costs (and minimize police department overtime), if that is the issue.
- Does the Village “DARE” program as currently constituted extend way beyond standard Drug Abuse Resistance Education?
- Does it include other stuff regarding general public safety (“Stranger Danger,” 911, pedestrian safety, “How to Cross a Railroad”), and if so why?
- Should the program be simplified to its original intent?
- Does the VDO provide DARE at Notre Dame School and locations in the Village other than SD#181 schools? If the Village “cancels” DARE but SD#181 “picks it up,” how would Notre Dame and other non-Village schools be affected?
- Does the VDO utilize only “school time” for this or is it scheduled as an extra-curricular function? If DARE did not exist at all, what would that be replaced with at schools?
- If the Village “cuts funding” for DARE, will this result in actual cost savings, and if so how? Without DARE, would the VDO then spend more time “on patrol” instead of in classrooms? Will it actually result in a decrease in police department staffing costs, and if so how much? Would the VDO be deemed unnecessary or reduced to part-time? Is there a lack of police staffing, lowered headcount, or increase in crime that triggers this perceived need to re-allocate the VDO to more patrol time?
- How does the Village of Hinsdale and Burr Ridge handle DARE for other SD#181 schools? If the Village is in discussions for SD#181 to take over parts of DARE, will SD#181 be inequitably serving students (and therefore inequitably spending schools funds and staff time) between Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale and Burr Ridge schools? Will this just result in a cost-shift from the Village to the SD#181 with no actual cost benefit to residents?
- When the Village approved its most recent budget, how did it address DARE?
- Is there a specific line item for DARE?
- If the Village does not alter at all the way it currently provides DARE at Village schools, what actual impact would this have on Village staffing and the Village budget?
- If DARE is cancelled is it projected that there will be more police over-time hours as a result, and if so, how many?
- Is there some projected need to hire an additional police officer that would then not have to occur if the Village ended DARE?
- Has there been an increase in crime that the VDO has to be pulled off DARE to patrol the streets?
Only until we get answers to these questions, it is difficult to have an opinion about why the Village really seeks to make this change. C4CH is interested to learn more about the proposed plan from the Village.
At day’s end, perhaps it is a good idea. Or not.
Anecdotally, some people love DARE; others think it is ill-conceived, ineffective and a waste of time and money. There exists strong anecdotal evidence about the efficacy of DARE. Students and their parents when polled likely highly appreciate DARE and believe it educates children to avoid drugs & alcohol. DARE provides a keen introduction of police officers to children and promotes general public safety. Locally, the Village DARE Police Officer is likely beloved by students and teachers alike; he has won DARE awards for his DARE efforts. On the contrary there are many groups that present DARE as a waste of time and money with even negative impacts on our children, that it is a modern-day “Reefer Madness” ploy. Opponents present studies showing the ineffectiveness of DARE. Discussion to eliminate a DARE program (or any program impacting our children) will likely include the implied argument that, well, a DARE opponent just doesn’t care about the kids (or DARE is worth it if we save just one kid from drug addiction, no matter the cost.) There are a lot of opinions on the internet; see links below.