Asher Parents Concerned Over Anti-Drug Presentation At School By Narconon
ASHER, Oklahoma - Several parents say they are concerned over an anti-drug presentation at their school. The organization making the presentation and handing out literature is the controversial Narconon Arrowhead, which News 9 has been investigating here for several months.
Last week, Narconon made the anti-drug presentation in Asher. But parents across Oklahoma have contacted News 9 upset about this very thing.
The Asher parents say they have no issues with the school or its administration, but are concerned about Narconon's ties with the Church of Scientology.
When the Asher parent, who asked we not use her name, first saw the coloring book her kindergartner brought home from school she thought nothing of it.
"(It) gives a good drug free message," she said.
Then she saw a message on Facebook from a friend who was concerned and researched the name on the front of the book: Narconon.
The drug rehab clinic in Lake Eufaula is based on the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
"We just believe that Scientology shouldn't be allowed in our school system," said the Asher mother. "If Christianity isn't, why is Scientology?"
Terry Grissom, the superintendent for Asher schools says they were not aware of Narconon's ties to the Church of Scientology until parents contacted them. Grissom says they chose the group's drug free presentation because they were free. Others typically charge.
A Narconon spokesperson says they have been doing drug education in Oklahoma for 22 years and reached half a million kids. Since October of 2012 Narconon says it has delivered 144 presentations to thousands of students in schools across the state.
"We have a huge drug problem in this state that has been growing for years and getting worse," said John Bitinas, a spokesperson for Narconon Arrowhead. "We are doing drug education because we care about the next generation and don't want kids to die from drug OD's or wind up ruining their lives due to substance abuse."
Narconon says its program has nothing to do with Scientology and have provided us with their drug education curriculum.
"There are already not enough drug education programs and kids are getting addicted to drugs every day and dying. We deliver our drug education service at no cost to the state or schools. It has been long established that effective drug education and prevention programs are the best tool to prevent kids from becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol," Bitinas said.
However, after several parents complained, the superintendent of Asher says they probably won't allow the group back into the school.