Media Release 13 March 2013
Family First NZ is welcoming a Government backdown on a proposed law change to ban schools from drug testing or searching students for drugs.
“Schools need to be supported in their fight against drug use and dealing by young people – not disempowered. This proposed policy was dangerous because it would have made it far more difficult for schools to detect and prevent drugs being used, carried and distributed in schools, and would have created an unsafe environment for the whole school community,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“Hundreds of students are being caught with drugs in high schools each year according to official figures, and principals have said that enhanced detection efforts are the main reason for students being caught with drugs. Why would we take away the ability for schools to create a safe environment?”
“Ministry of Education figures also showed that there are three times more drug incidents than ones involving alcohol at primary and intermediate schools. Once again, principals acknowledge that a zero-tolerance policy is the best response.”
In 2011, 241 students were expelled for drug offences, and 2174 suspended – 298 of them 12 and under.
“Parents and schools are trying to give children a zero-tolerance message on drug use, and their efforts should be reinforced, not undermined and weakened, by government social policy and laws.”
“We need to focus on the effects on health of using drugs, links with mental illness, high use by school pupils, driving under the influence of cannabis, and the progression from lesser drugs to more dangerous drugs like P,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Taking away a key prevention tool used by schools was a dopey approach.”