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Old 05-27-2004, 11:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Warning to DARE officers...

Warning to DARE officers, please don't actually teach the children about the effects drugs have on people, you may lose your job.

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Botetourt resource officer loses job over incident
At the end of a class May 17, a boy tried to hug the officer, but she took him to the ground, the school's principal said.

By Joanne Poindexter


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A Botetourt County resource officer who responded to a fifth-grader's affection in a defensive manner has lost her job.

Botetourt County Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle said he terminated Deputy C.J. Dickerson on Monday for inappropriately bullying a student by "taking him to the ground" at Colonial Elementary School.

Dickerson had been a resource officer at the school since last fall and had been teaching Drug Abuse Resistance Education classes to fifth-graders since January, Principal Tammie Riggs said.

At the end of a DARE class May 17, a boy tried to hug the officer, but "in sort of like a defense move, she twisted his arm and put him to the floor," Riggs said.

The boy was not hurt and didn't require medical attention, the principal said. "He was more humiliated and scared," Riggs said.

"Her conduct was unbecoming to an officer of this department," Sprinkle said.

After investigating the incident, "I certainly have reason to believe something happened and we've taken care of the problem," Sprinkle said.

No criminal charges have been filed, Sprinkle said, but the action constitutes a misdemeanor, and charges would have to be made by the individuals involved.

"In the interest of fairness and to preclude any appearance of partiality," Sprinkle said he's asked the Virginia State Police to investigate any criminal charges that might arise.

Neither Riggs nor Sprinkle knew what sparked the incident. They would not identify the student or his teacher.

Dickerson could not be reached for comment. Her home telephone number was not in service Tuesday. Dickerson, who has been a deputy since 1996, was the resource officer who was alerted May 19 when five students at Read Mountain Middle School were treated for illegally taking a prescribed anti-seizure medication.

Riggs said she'd received complaints about the deputy and was planning to ask for a new DARE officer for the next school year. In a survey of the DARE program, teachers noted "inappropriate behavior and conversations" between the officer and students, Riggs said.

The complaints weren't glaring, but "at the end of the year, I would have asked that she not be our DARE officer, anyway," Riggs said.

The conversations were not obscene, but "were inappropriate in class," Riggs said. Some information on substance abuse, Riggs said, "was too much information for elementary students. She was too comfortable talking about drug and alcohol use ... about things elementary students didn't need to know."

Riggs said she learned of the incident involving the fifth-grader after school May 18 and conducted her own investigation before notifying the sheriff's office Thursday. A new officer has been assigned to the school, she said, adding that the department was very responsive in organizing the DARE graduation that was held Tuesday night.

Sprinkle said the Colonial Elementary incident was the first complaint he'd received against Dickerson since she became a resource officer.

Sprinkle said he's received several other calls about the officer's behavior since the Colonial school incident was reported. He declined to comment on the types of complaints, saying they were being investigated.
Ok, so I found this on fark.com thinking it was just something funny where an officer over-reacted and totally dropped some kid, but then I read the full article, and what I'm referencing in this post is the last half of the article where it talks about innapropriate discussions about drugs.

Quote:
The conversations were not obscene, but "were inappropriate in class," Riggs said. Some information on substance abuse, Riggs said, "was too much information for elementary students. She was too comfortable talking about drug and alcohol use ... about things elementary students didn't need to know."
Now this just makes me mad, DARE had a huge effect on me, kept me from doing drugs because my DARE officer was able to tell me about everything that happened when you take drugs etc etc.

Now from that paragraph it makes me think that the teachers didn't like the DARE officer teaching kids about certain things about drugs. Now yes, there is a possibility that she was showing them how to light up a crack pipe or something and that would be somewhat odd, but I still think that DARE officers have every right and the OBLIGATION to teach children about drugs, the whole point of the program is to educate to let the children make informed choices for themselves.

What are everyone elses thoughts on this?
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Old signature just wasn't doing it for me anymore, so now I have this new one. It's equally as stupid but at least it looks really long. I'm probably just going to keep typing until I run out of things to babble about and see how many people actually read this. I once ran down a hill, fell down and hurt my elbow; my mom said I would be ok, she kissed it and made it all better. I've run out of things to say now, so if you have read this whole thing, congratulations you get a gold star!
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Old 05-27-2004, 12:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think you're over-reacting in the absence of information. We don't know how the DARE officer spoke to the kids, and it could be that it WAS inappropriate. Add to that the fact that she arm-locked a kid who went to give her a hug...sounds like someone needs a vacation.

Disclaimer: I am inherently biased against DARE as a huge waste of money. It's been proven largely ineffective, anecdotal stories such as yours notwithstanding.

<a href="http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/01_16_03gao.cfm">http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/01_16_03gao.cfm</a>
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Old 05-27-2004, 12:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, we can't assume what conversations were innappropriate. What if she was talking about the effects of ecxtasy and how "sex" feels really good on it, but it fucks up your brain and spine. There could have been numerous areas of inappropriate conversations that elementary kids should not have been exposed to.

I know that the program is good for the kids, but sometimes the good people do cross the line a bit to convey their message.
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Old 05-27-2004, 12:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's hard to say. I know the school administration's around the country tend to over-react because they fear lawsuits from parents. A friend of mine who's kid was in 1st grade was suspended from school for "sexual harassment". You know what constituted as sexual harassment? Kissing a girl once on the cheek. In fact, the parents of the girl didn't think it was a problem. But apparently, the school administration didn't care.

But at the same time, it's hard to know whether the person did do something inappropriate. And the fact the person took down a kid, seems a little overboard to me. So I don't know. It's hard to tell with the little bit of information out there about it.
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Old 05-27-2004, 01:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I dont know what they are teaching them these days, but about all learned from the DARE program as a kid is that Drugs Are Really Expensive.
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Old 05-27-2004, 07:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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am i the only one that payed attention in DARE?
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Old signature just wasn't doing it for me anymore, so now I have this new one. It's equally as stupid but at least it looks really long. I'm probably just going to keep typing until I run out of things to babble about and see how many people actually read this. I once ran down a hill, fell down and hurt my elbow; my mom said I would be ok, she kissed it and made it all better. I've run out of things to say now, so if you have read this whole thing, congratulations you get a gold star!
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Old 05-27-2004, 07:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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am i the only one that payed attention in DARE?
I think i paid attention at the time. But then I grew up and realized how little truth was taught to us in the program. It then served in my eyes to discredit much if not everything the DEA says regarding drugs. I would support the DARE program if they honestly told kids about drugs. But (at least when I was in it 15 or so years ago) it was mainly a "If you do drugs your gonna be a loser" speech over and over and over, while grossly exagerating all the negative aspects of drugs.
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Old 05-28-2004, 04:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I teach 5th grade.

Any heartless officer that 'puts one down' is way out of line. 5th graders need a lot of attention, and sometimes that kind of affection. If you're uncomfortable with that, you should find another way (praise, compliments, or less physical contact like highfives or handshakes) to deal with them.

Also, when talking about drugs, I agree that DARE doesn't work. Why? Because kids don't understand the negative consequences of drug abuse. You can't say if you smoke pot, this is what's going to happen to you. They need to be shown. You need to bring in hardcore alcoholics on their last legs, and say, this is the lifestyle that drug abuse eventually leads to. Just making vague threats doesn't work.

I was the posterchild for DARE, I literally gave the keynote speech at our 8th grade graduation, and it didn't do anything to keep me away from drugs or alcohol. I'm just lucky that I didn't do anything really stupid.
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Old 05-28-2004, 05:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Physical contact with a student without there being a real risk to the officer's (or others') safety is completely unacceptable.

The truth probably isn't being projected in this story as I can't imagine an officer taking down a kid trying to give a hug. The kid was probably a big wise ass the whole semester and was somehow denegrating the cop just prior to trying to "hug" them. Even still there's no excuse for the actions of the officer.
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