Scientology Back in California Schools

After being removed nearly a decade ago, the Church of Scientology’s Narconon program is once again being given access to students in some of California’s public schools. A growing number of schools and teachers are bringing in Narconon “experts” to lecture on drug use and abuse.

Narconon is back in California public schools.

The Scientology-linked antidrug program visited classrooms freely for years until 2005, when medical experts and the state Department of Education determined it was promoting bogus science. The alarm went up a decade ago after The Chronicle revealed that Narconon’s antidrug messages to students were based not on medical evidence, according to the experts, but on the practices of Scientology…

Narconon is based on concepts developed by L. Ron Hubbard, the late science-fiction writer who created the Church of Scientology and Dianetics in the 1950s. The religion opposes drugs and alcohol, which practitioners believe interfere with achieving a state of mental purity that Scientology calls “Clear.”

The antidrug message and its related notions of how drugs work in the body – including the idea, rejected by medical experts, that drugs reside in body fat for years and can cause people to feel high during times of stress – are part of the Narconon program and drug education materials the group currently makes available online…

The California Department of Education spent up to $30,000 to review Narconon’s claims in 2005 before issuing a strong warning to schools about Narconon.

“Narconon’s drug prevention program does not reflect accurate, widely-accepted medical and scientific evidence,” Jack O’Connell, then the state superintendent of public instruction, told schools in a letter posted on the department’s website Feb. 24, 2005. Department officials said they stand by those findings today.

The department lacks the authority to oust programs, but some school districts banned Narconon outright, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, which had its own medical experts review the curriculum.

Yet Narconon has given free presentations in at least 28 California public schools in other districts since 2007, The Chronicle found.

This is absolutely unacceptable. Scientology can’t claim to be a religion to get a tax exemption and then claim to be secular when it comes to their anti-drug scams.

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  • theschwa

    So what is the solution, Ed? Do you WANT kids in California to remain plagued by Body Thetans??!?

  • richardelguru

    What’s the difference between Scientology, Mormonism, Islam, and Christianity? Time, just time.

  • D. C. Sessions

    Scientology can’t claim to be a religion to get a tax exemption and then claim to be secular when it comes to their anti-drug scams.

    Of course they can — in proof whereof, they do. All the time.

  • smrnda

    Given how much religious nonsense gets promoted when it comes to substance abuse, I’m really happy that some form of nonsense has been dismissed, though I hope they push against any and all views of substance abuse not backed by adequate medical evidence.

  • fifthdentist

    Remember, boys and girls, drugs make you have crazy thoughts.

    But enough about that, let me tell you about the Thetans.

  • JJ831

    The Scientology-linked antidrug program visited classrooms freely for years until 2005

    Interesting, I actually had no idea this was the case. As someone who graduated from a public California high school in 2003 (and in Orange County, no less) I’m surprised I never saw any of this. But then again, in high school I pretty much paid attention to my grades and the surf. Anything extra-curricular (including most assemblies*) resulted in the glazing of the eyes. Especially if it was an anti-drug assembly. Talk about boring (reminds me of the Butt Out! episode of South Park).

    *OT: One of my favorites was an optional military aptitude test that was ran during class hours, for seniors. Since I had already been accepted to the UC system, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to join the army. So, I really didn’t take the test seriously (at all) . Afterwards, I got a call from the local recruiter (I think he was spread across a couple of schools). He proceeded to tell me that since I was soooo stupid (his words, actually) that I would never go to college, and my only possibility of success was to join up (this was 2003 mind you). I pretty much told him I only took the test to get out of class and he proceeded to threaten me with sort of legal action (?). I would have felt a little bad about wasting time, but the guy was such a bully. He even once pinned one of my good friends against a wall by his neck for calling him “Stg. Meat Head:

  • eric

    Scientology can’t claim to be a religion to get a tax exemption and then claim to be secular when it comes to their anti-drug scams.

    I’m guessing part of the scam here is that that the program is claiming it’s not scientology.

  • Modusoperandi

    Just say “No [Thetans]”.

  • Peter B

    LRH: “[Xenu’s] implant is calculated to kill (by pneumonia etc) anyone who attempts to solve it. This liability has been dispensed with by my tech development.”

    And this OT3 “tech development” is supposed to keep kids away from drugs? To me it sounds like the author had stopped taking his meds.

  • blf

    I attended and graduated from high school in California many yonks ago and don’t recall this at all. Maybe it wasn’t being done then (it was a long time ago (’70s)), or maybe I’ve just forgotten, or maybe I skipped it (which I did when to lots of “required”, or self-evidently stupid or boring, assemblies), or maybe, since the Californian education system was still quite good in those days, the Co$ was simply told to “feck off”.

    I vaguely recall the “military aptitude test” mentioned above. As far as I can recall, I didn’t take it, having researched the military academies (at my father’s request) and deciding they were either junk or would prohibit me from entering my then-intended course of study. I’m certain I was never harassed by a military recruiter, then or later at University.

  • Atheist Quotes

    Tom Cruise must be proud.

  • sugarfrosted

    I never took the “Military aptitude test” either. Though this was mostly because even for jobs that don’t involve anything like combat they require you to be physically fit. Given I have muscular dystrophy they wouldn’t have wanted me anyway. Only would have been interested in the language school anyway, which makes the physical requirement ridiculous.

  • Erp

    Note that free access just means there was no warning from the state about them. I suspect a fair number of school districts just didn’t take them up on the offer.

    My town had a contract with them from 1975-77. It was terminated because of extreme dissatisfaction.

  • chisaihana5219

    As a former Scientologist, I must respond to the comment that the only difference between Scientology, Mormonism, Christianity and Islam is time. NOT SO. Anyone who wants to be a Christian, a Mormon or a Muslim can do that for FREE. To become a Scientologist, you have to PAY for it, in CASH. Time will never make Scientology into a major religion. It is a scam for money and always was. Other religions are about control. Scientology is about money.