Friday, February 25, 2005
DOE to review California
A report criticizes Narconon,
which seeks to help isle kids
By Rosemarie Bernardo
State Department of Education officials are expected to review a negative evaluation of an anti-drug program that wants to serve Hawaii public school students.
Kendyl Ko, educational specialist with the department's Safe and Drug-Free Schools, said he had sent the evaluation on the Narconon Drug Abuse and Prevention Program to Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto and Deputy Superintendent Clayton Fujie.
Ko noted that he was concerned about the findings in the evaluation by the California Health Kids Resource Center. He said he was particularly concerned with part of the evaluation that stated, "Narconon's program is often inconsistent with research-based practice."
"We're not going to do anything that's going to give our kids any false information or tell them untruths," he said.
Jack O'Connell, superintendent of public instruction of the California Department of Education, called for an independent evaluation on Narconon after the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the organization taught some beliefs and methods of Scientology.
San Francisco and Los Angeles schools banned Narconon after the reports appeared in the Chronicle.
The evaluation was released Wednesday by the California Department of Education.
Narconon representatives have met with Hawaii officials about its interest to serve public school students here.
"We need to look at all the data," Fujie said. "With all this coming from California, we need to be prudent."
Clark Carr, president of Hollywood-based Narconon International, had said there is extensive science to support the program's curriculum.
Carr also had said their drug prevention programs taught in schools are not based on Scientology methods.
The evaluation is available on the California Department of Education's Web site at www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/at/narcononevaluation.asp.
The Associated Press and San Francisco Chronicle contributed to this report.