Eagle Forum

STOP    It's the Law!
A new federal law requires every public school to teach students that "the use of illicit drugs and the unlawful possession and use of alcohol is wrong and harmful." The key word is "wrong."

This means that any drug education course is illegal if it involves the student in a nondirective process of values clarification, decision making, critical thinking, choices or options, or in any way leads the student to conclude that "it's up to me" to decide whether or not to use drugs. The law has already decided that illegal drugs are wrong. When it comes to drugs, there are no "choices" or "decisions" to be made by students.

It is not just the abuse, but the use, of illegal drugs that is wrong. A school violates the law if its curriculum implies that there can be "responsible" use of illegal drugs.

The new law took effect October 1, 1990. The U.S. Department of Education says that all public school districts have certified that they are in compliance. It's up to you to find out if they really are.

What's wrong with current 'Drug Ed'?
Many "drug ed" courses in the public schools today are not drug prevention courses. They are nondirective and psychological. Instead of teaching that drug use is wrong, these courses may encourage children to experiment with illegal drugs by telling them they can make their own decisions.

Here are some telltale characteristics to look for when you evaluate drug education:

Decision making process. Students are told they must go through a process of evaluating options and making their own decisions. Variations of this process are sometimes called:

  • Values clarification
  • Problem solving
  • Helping youth decide
  • Critical thinking
  • It's up to me

Nonjudgmental or nondirective.
The teacher is told not to moralize, lecture, direct, preach or intimidate. Teachers are told not impose their opinions on the students. Everything opinion rather than right or wrong, good or bad.

Personal disclosure. Students are required to reveal their innermost feelings and attitudes, as well as intimate and even incriminating details about their family, through -

  • detailed surveys and questionnaires
  • encounter sessions
  • "magic circle" discussions
  • filling out incomplete sentences

Emotional attitudes. Students are required to spend class time discussing emotions, feelings, and attitudes. These lessons include -

  • Questions about suicide and depression
  • Emotional words evoking fear, anger or sadness.
  • Preoccupation with stress

Treating legal and illegal substances and medicines as though they are only marginally different.

  • Putting aspirin and coffee in the same list with pot and crack
  • Teaching that "everybody uses some kinds of drugs"
  • Discussing "positive" use of drugs
  • Focusing on good and bad uses (or abuse) of drugs rather than on good and bad drugs

Role-playing. This is psychological manipulation and necessarily includes negative roles. Children are sometimes even required to role-play a negative character about drugs.

Anti-parent innuendoes. Many drug courses drive psychological wedges between child and parent. the child to look within himself for and his own decision instead of looking to parent, church, or the law.

Emphasis on "self-esteem" and "social skills." These are psychological courses - not academic. Students need objective information that drugs are unhealthy plus moral direction that they are wrong. Spending class time teaching children to "feel good" about themselves is a fraud, takes time away from academic work, and does not comply with the law.

Overemphasis on getting the student to be a cooperative member of the "group" or the school community. This encourages the child to be a go- alonger to win the approval of his peers rather than sticking with moral law or his parents' instructions.

New Age religious practices in many courses are a violation of students' First Amendment religion rights. Practices and teachings associated with New Age or Eastern mystical religions include -

  • Progressive relaxation and meditation
  • Guided imagery and visualization
  • Centering and anchoring
  • Consulting with a "wise man" or a "wise rabbit"
  • Affirmations or mantras

What can you do to replace nondirective drug courses with courses teaching that drugs are wrong ?

What can you do to replace
nondirective drug courses with courses
teaching that drugs are wrong?

Ask your local public schools to show you the pages of the curriculum where they teach that illegal drugs are wrong. Be sure you see the teacher's manual as well as the student materials. The law gives you the right to see these materials.

Do not be distracted or misled by material which merely says that illegal drug use has harmful consequences, or by decision making exercises which appear to encourage children to decide to say "no" to drugs, or by material which allegedly builds "self-esteem." Those teachings do not satisfy the law which requires a clear message that drug use is wrong.

Drug Free Schools and Communities Act
Amendments of 1989

Excerpts from Public Law 101-226, signed December 12, 1989

  1. No local educational agency shall be eligible to receive funds or any other form of financial assistance under any Federal program unless it certifies to the State educational agency that it has adopted and has implemented a program to prevent the use of illicit drugs and alcohol by students or employees that, at a minimum, includes -

    1. age-appropriate, developmentally based drug and alcohol education and prevention programs (which address the legal, social, and health consequences of drug and alcohol use and which provide information about effective techniques for resisting peer pressure to use illicit drugs or alcohol) for students in all grades of the schools operated or served by the applicant, from early childhood level through grade 12;

    2. conveying to students that the use of illicit drugs and the unlawful possession and use of alcohol is wrong and harmful;

    3. standards of conduct that are applicable to students and employees in all the applicant's schools and that clearly prohibit, at a minimum, the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by students and employees on school premises or as part of any of its activities;

    4. a clear statement that sanctions (consistent with local, State, and Federal law), up to and including expulsion or termination of employment and referral for prosecution, will be imposed on students and employees who violate the standards of conduct required by paragraph (3) and a description of those sanctions....

  2. Each local educational agency that provides the certification required by subsection (a) shall, upon request, make available to the Secretary, the State education agency, and to the public full information about the elements of its program required by subsection (a).

Eagle Forum • PO Box 618 • Alton, Illinois 62002