Against the Grain

DARE: Promoting the Police

The program DARE — in which police officers stepped into the role of teacher to warn 5th and 6th graders away from drugs — is an object of humor today. But historian Max Felker-Kantor argues that we should take DARE seriously. He posits that the program, which at its height brought police into 75% of U.S. school districts, was ultimately about burnishing the reputation of law enforcement in the midst of the abuses of the war on drugs, and it served to normalize having cops in schools.


Max Felker-Kantor, DARE to Say No: Policing and the War on Drugs in Schools University of North Carolina Press, 2024


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