13 March 2013
Backdown on Banning School Drug Searches Welcomed
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
“Taking away a key prevention tool used by schools was a dopey approach.”