Parents of students at Santa Monica High School complained when they found out that one of the groups delivering anti-drug assemblies was affiliated with the Church of Scientology cult. The anti-drug program was started after several drug related deaths among the student population. Two events were led by an organization called Foundation for a Drug Free World, which is run by Scientology.
The Foundation for a Drug-Free World was the source for two recent assemblies at Samohi for ninth and tenth grade students, two months after the death of a 15-year-old classmate who fell or jumped from a third-floor balcony after experimenting with LSD (“Santa Monica Mourns Death of Third Samohi Student in Six Months,” March 22, 2017).
A third session, hosted May 9 by the Samohi PTSA, drew about 200 parents, the district said.
Complaints from some of them prompted the school to drop Drug-Free World from the series of its anti-drug presentations, said Gail Pinsker, a spokesperson for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD).
A district statement said Samohi principal Antonio Shelton had “vetted” Drug-Free World and “felt that it would be excellent for our students.”
“The presentations and materials do not have any reference or mention of Scientology, or else we would not be using this organization,” the statement said.
“School districts and public and private schools and universities throughout the country have used this organization for this purpose with success,” officials said.
In its numerous online, video and other free materials, Drug-Free World — with headquarters in Los Angeles — defines itself as the largest non-governmental anti-drug education and prevention operation “on the earth.”
But a quick look online points to the Church of Scientology’s involvement with Drug-Free World.
As I’ve written here before, Scientology has some weird ideas and practices and Leah Remini is blowing the lid off their human rights violations and their destruction of families and lives, so it is entirely understandable that parents wouldn’t want the cult having access to their children, even if the contents of their anti-drug program are relatively benign.
The cult claims this is religious discrimination.
On Monday, a statement from Scientology said the church is “saddened to hear that religious discrimination would stand in the way of saving young lives.”
“The Church is a proud sponsor of the Drug-Free World education program which has helped millions of young people to learn the truth about drugs and how to live a drug-free life,” the statement said.
“One would think that the tragic death of a student from LSD would be enough to set aside bigotry when there is evidence-based information that is invaluable, free of charge and provided out of good will and open hearts.”
“The mother volunteering to assist Santa Monica High School with this program gave of her time freely out of her own compassion to help other parents keep their kids safe and living clean, productive lives.”
The Drug-Free World program was also dropped from a school program in New York City for its Scientology ties. It seems that the Drug-Free World program was begun after the old anti-drug group Narconon’s ties to Scientology became too well known.