Education is the best defense against ignorance.

In an era of proposing to defund the work of local law enforcement — effectively handcuffing officers and deputies from doing their jobs — Watauga, Ashe, Avery and much of the High Country get painted with the same broad national brush.

To be supported then are the efforts of our departments and offices to teach and inform those in the communities they serve about the roles of law enforcement.

Best, is when such information can be shared and offered to those who have no or limited preconceptions — in other words, with our children.

We saw a fine example of this in Ashe County on Saturday as the sheriff’s department hosted a “Deputy 4 A Day” back-to-school drive-through event. On that day, hundreds of children and their families received school supplies and an education from deputies and others — including the show stoppers, K-9 officers Rhino and William — during a COVID-appropriate event at Government Circle.

In Watauga and other areas, programs such as D.A.R.E. (and its more recent update: D.A.R.E. to KARE) similarly seek to not only educate for now, but teach for the future. The D.A.R.E. program itself, by example, “envisions a world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance use and other dangerous behaviors.”

Education works. Indeed, it may be the only thing that imparts lasting values.

Our local law officers are to be commended for taking the time to teach today our neighbors of tomorrow.

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(4) comments

thechaosaysmuuuu

Very well said, on all counts!

Also, speaking as an early 90's kid, I can confirm that the DARE program did not work AT ALL, and was a colossal waste of money and time for what it attempted to accomplish. Don't lie to your kids in an effort to scare them, they're usually waaaay waaaay smarter than you are; just be honest and upfront. =P

Donald

Whom ever you are, you ignored the most important source to teach our children: their parents! Parents and school teachers need to teach respect for police authority and our police must be taught respect for law abiding citizens and immigrants. The media needs to also write about respect for authority and the law. About defunding? Be real, most psychologists and psychiatrists need help from psychiatrists! Better train our police officers, respect them and support them! If one goes rouge, get rid of those failed officers and replace them with better trained officers.

thechaosaysmuuuu

You know Donald, while I find ~95% of what you write on here abysmally narrow-minded and absurd, you make some points here that I do agree with you on. Forget teaching respect for authority, respect is earned, not given. *But* I do 100% agree with the notion that officers do deserve (and need!) increased training and support. It's sort of an impossible job, really, and one ripe for corruption and abuse of authority. That said, many officers are sorely underpaid and under-trained. I would like to see all officers be required to hold *at least* purple belts in a martial art, such as ju-jitsu, so that they're better equipped to handle situations which might require force, but could (and should!) be done without lethal force (like using their guns.) I also think that officers need greater support in terms of mental health. You throw mental health practitioners under the bus in your comment, which I think is in poor taste. Considering the level of stress that many officers face, as well as instances of dealing with and witnessing the worst in human beings on a day-to-day basis, I believe that proper mental health support for officers is *essential* to reducing rates of abuse of power.

Branch

I am disappointed that the author of this editorial, explicitly championing the importance of education, did not take the time to educate themselves about a few basic opinions set forth. The idea of defunding the police has been around at least since W.E.B. Du Bois’ Black Reconstruction of 1935; perhaps earlier (https://www.wtsp.com/article/features/defund-the-police-origin/67-9271557c-89e0-48ab-8e45-fa0dd1ae9c09). It stretches the limits of credulity that so many (typically conservative) authors claim to not understand the meaning of “defund the police.” I must conclude that this is either due to a total lack of interest in facts, or a feigning of ignorance in order to cynically make bad faith arguments to an audience they clearly do not respect. As so many articles, books, manifestos, and public speakers have pointed out historically and over the past few months: “defund the police” is a call to reduce the overall work burden on our law enforcement officers by deferring to other highly trained professionals depending on the situation. Therapists, social workers, etc. may be called in to solve domestic disputes, substance abuse issues, and myriad other complex problems that we cannot expect our officers to effectively handle without massive amounts of highly targeted additional training. Because officers are currently trained largely to deal with violent crime, which only makes up about 3% of total law enforcement calls, it makes sense that we could lower the number of officers – and thereby engage in the titular “defunding” – if we divert expenditure to other professionals to do the 97% of other work currently (unfairly) pushed onto our police force.

I also take issue with the idea that the D.A.R.E program had any effectiveness whatsoever. Since 1992, statistics have suggested that D.A.R.E may have actually increased curiosity and use of drugs, particularly hallucinogens, amongst its participants. Beyond that, it had a roughly 0% effectiveness rate, and so was disbanded in 1998 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448384/). This “education” being advocated for by the editor is obviously a waste of taxpayer money. If we really want to fix education in this country, we will avoid retelling the same old fairytale versions of United States history, economics, class, and race relations that have been poisoning minds for centuries. Lying to our children edifies no one.

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