A special meeting was held in New Iberia tonight to discuss the possibility of the D. A. R. E. program returning to schools in the city.
The program was taught at schools about 10 years ago by the sheriff’s department, but due to lack of funding the program was canceled.
“If we can just continue the dialogue to keep our students safe then I think we are on the right track,” says Superintendent Carey Laviolette. She says there are three programs inside of the school system that teach drug prevention.
Some have concerns that the DARE program doesn’t work, and there’s statistics to back it.
According to a 10-year investigation by the American Psychological Association that the program doesn’t work. It claimed the program is counterproductive, leading to higher drug use among high school students compared to students who do not go through the program.
City, parish and school leaders say they want to continue the conversation, and look at all the possibilities of bringing a drug-free program to schools.
“I think we have time, it’s not something that we rush into. I do think this dialogue is good and I think we should continue it and hopefully find a way that we can all fit together and do something that everyone can get behind,” says Mayor Freddie DeCourt.
If a decision is made to bring back the DARE program an officer wouldn’t be trained until August of next year. The police chief says it would cost about $58,000 for salary and benefits for an officer.