P.O. BOX 2120




May 7, 2004




Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Use of a Non-Scientifically Based Prevention Program for Safe and Drug-Free Schools Programs


Under the Title IV-A (Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act) of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, Section 4115(a)(1)(C) states that local programs shall be based on scientifically based research that provides evidence that the program to be used will reduce violence and illegal drug use.


Briefly translated, this has come to mean those programs that have undergone rigorous evaluation and have demonstrated that they are effective. They are typically recognized at the national level as model or promising programs by the U.S. Department of Educations Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.


In Section 4115(a)(3), the legislation also states that school divisions may apply to the state for a waiver of the requirement to allow innovative programs and activities that demonstrate substantial likelihood of success.


To honor the intent of the legislation, school divisions may apply for a waiver specifically for their Title IV-A programs by using the following guidelines.


  1. Prepare a letter of request, signed by the division superintendent. The letter should be addressed to Arlene Cundiff, coordinator, Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, Office of Student Services.
  2. In detail, describe the proposed prevention program or activities being proposed that require a waiver from the stated legislative requirements.
  3. Provide a rationale for seeking a waiver.
  4. Identify scientifically based strategies and/or program components that you expect will help reach your goal.
  5. Demonstrate that the program being considered is legitimately innovative and has a substantial likelihood of success.
  6. In detail, describe evaluation plans to determine success.


Upon receipt, the state Department of Education will review and consider the waiver request. If granted, the waiver would be valid for a two-year period of time.


Questions may be directed to Arlene Cundiff, safe and drug-free schools coordinator in the Office of Student Services at 804-225-2871 or by E-mail: